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Elora Ontario ~  Canada Travel

Heritage Village Grand River, Irvine River, Elora Inn

Elora Ontario, in southern Ontario, Canada, located at the confluence of the Grand and Irvine rivers, is a good day or weekend road trip. From Mississauga and Hamilton, Elora is about an hour and a half's drive (google map). Stop in at Crawford Lake Conservation Area Iroquoian Village and Rattlesnake Point, then drive north to St. Jacob's. Explore the shops, galleries and heritage buildings like the Elora Inn (the old Elora Mill) on West Mill Street. Make your way up Price Street to Victoria Park, and walk the trails high above the Irvine River.

Elora Ontario village shops above Grand River

quaint shops line main street in Elora Ontario


I took this picture from the sidewalk, and in the middle of the bridge over the Grand River.

This view is to the west northwest in early afternoon.

Cross the bridge to the east side, and you get a river view with the Twilight Zoo floating animals.

The Elora Inn is just out of view in this photo - at the far end of the row of buildings.


Elora Mill Street West - Elora Mews shops

Flower basket on Elora Ontario street outside Elora Mews


Flower baskets line Mill Street -- the main street for visitors.

Stop first at the Visitors Centre on Mill Street East (it's well signed) and pick up a few brochures and maps to get your bearings.

On fine sunny weekends, Elora is a busy little village, so unless you are staying at the Elora Inn, look for parking a few blcoks east of this area.


Historic Home West Mill Street and Price Street

Old brick house main street Elora Ontario

This historic home is located across West Mill Street from the Elora Inn on the north side of the Grand River.

Both buildings are easily seen from several blocks east of here.

Many Elora buildings are made from local stone and limestone.

Neutral Nations (see Iroquoian Village) settled here in the 1600s, as did Scots, Irish and English pioneers in the early 1800s.

Elora Shops, Boutiques, Restaurants South Side West Mill Street Main Street Elora Ontario

Stop into some of the galleries and boutiques with local crafts and art work.

This view is looking east.

The late Group of Seven (Canadian) painter A.J. Casson (my personal fave for his watercolors) captured the beauty of Elora and nearby Salem.

Elora with its gorge and rivers endures as an inspiration for artists and photographers.


Elora West Mill Street - View to the West

Bikes and people on west mill street elora ontario


Another view of West Mill Street, this time looking to the west.

See the red brick building in the far center? That's the heritage house shown in close up above.

Look for Elora events such as studio tours, which usually take place each Fall.


Elora Mill Heritage Building Reborn as Elora Inn

Grand River Elora Inn Ontario

One-time Elora grist mill (the Niagara Escarpment gave birth to many such mills in southern Ontario) sees new life as the upscale Elora Inn.

The Grand River cascades over rock falls right outside the Mill foundation.

Note the tuft of green in the middle of the whitewater river: this tiny island is called the Tooth of Time.

Elora Inn is located at the end of West Mill Street.

EnerDemo Plaque ~ Elora Inn

plaque on Elora Inn Ontario energy demo project


A hydroelectric system plaque affixed to the exterior of the Elora Inn.

See this article in the Guelph Mercury (Ontario) News about the state of the dam.

Management of the Grand River and Irvine River is under the direction of the Grand River Conservation Authority, so do check that site for current information.

Tooth of Time Grand River Elora ~ A Closer Look

Grand River Elora Inn Ontario Tooth of time island

The Elora "Tooth of Time" looks as if it could also use some shoring up as the Grand River works tirelessly to erode this limestone island.

From here, the Grand River cuts a steep walled gorge through the landscape.

Use caution if trail walking, and don't go over any fences.


Grand River Floating Art ~ Elora Ontario

Art boats Grand River at Elora Ontario


No, these are not made from paper mache, though the look mimics it when seen from a distance.

These floating art animals are made using a treated fabric.

Anchored loosely in the Grand River near the bridge, they lazily twist and turn with the current and wind.

A lovely touch of whimsy!


Twilight Zoo ~ Tim Murton Fine Art in Elora Elora shops art shapes with Tim Murton Artist Twilight Zoo


England's loss is Elora and Canada's gain, with local artist Tim Murton settling down in this area.

His impressive CV speaks for the scope of his talents.

Murton's Twilight Zoo (what's this?) is a wonderful Halloween show in Elora.


Irvine River Gorge / Ravine Victoria Park Elora

Canyon on Irvine River at Elora Ontario

Far below the trails in Victoria Park, visitors wade through the shallow waters of the Irvine River.

Victoria Park is northwest of downtown Elora. Go north (the only way you can go) on Price Street (red brick historic home seen above) about two blocks.

Look for the Footpath Sign to Victoria Park. Or drive up Price Street or Metcalfe Street and turn west at James.

Had it not been for a helpful resident asking if we'd yet seen Victoria Park, we'd have overlooked this lovely walk!

Irvine River View from David Street Bridge Elora Ontario Canada

Irvine river Valley  Victoria Park Elora Ontario

A shaded path follows the rim of the Irvine River Ravine from Victoria Park to David Street.

If you like, continue across this bridge to the bridge shown high above the river in the picture below.

Also, if you like, take the 70 or so stone steps down to the Irivine River to hike along its pretty banks.

The steps to the river valley are located just at the parking area on Victoria Crescent.


Rafting Party Irvine River Elora Ontario

Rafts and rafters on Irivine River at  Elora Ontario


A lookout in Victoria Park gives views to this party of river rafts far below.

The silver shape above the river is another bridge accessed by following the trail along the river, till it ends at David Street, then retrace your steps back to the park entrance.

Cross the David Street bridge, and you'll come to this footbridge.


Mennonite Horse and Buggy (Wagon) Victoria Park Elora

Mennonite Wagon and horses at Victoria Park in Elora Ontario

Tall oaks shade this team of horses hitched to a metal wagon near a lovely old home.

From Elora, we drove north about half an hour to  St. Jacob's, where there is a large Mennonite community.

Where to Stay

Elora is an easy day trip from Toronto, Mississauga and Hamilton, so you don't need to spend the night, but it is a  lovely part of Ontario to spend a weekend exploring.

If you can't get a room at the Elora Inn, or the Village Inn Elora, the nearby larger city of Guelph has more amenities.

If you like BandBs (bed and breakfast accomodations), try Log Cabin Heaven , also a day spa, in Elora, one of several in this area.  See Bed and Breakfast Canada Elora for listings.

Enjoy your trip to Elora! If you've already been, do leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it (or didn't, for that matter!)

More Ontario Road Trips, Pictures (Full list left menu):

Crawford Lake Iroquoian Village

Crawford Lake Conservation Area

Ratttlesnake Point

Kettle Point Concretions Ipperwash ON

Rock Glen Falls Arkona

Ontario Craft Brew Tours