Toronto Tuesday 03.13: Elora

Artsy and beautiful, Elora is ideal for a quiet urban getaway

This post is part of the weekly Toronto Tuesday series

Elora is a picturesque township approx 120km west of Toronto in the Wellington County, and a quaint village to spend an afternoon away from the city. Elora is known for its limestone architecture (similar to Guelph), a large left leaning and socially liberal artistic community and its spectacular location at the confluence of two rivers that form a gorge.

↑ Town centre and a conservation area with a lot of Mennonites.

Downtown Elora

Coming from Guelph, as soon as you cross the Grand River bridge, you enter the commercial block of the village. There is a post office, a library, a city hall and a plaza, surrounded by numerous shops, cafes, bakeries, furniture stores, boutiques and art stores. It’s quite fancy and chill.

↑ I was in the mood to take pictures of signboards. The entrance of the village is filled with them.

Elora, or Ellora?

The township’s name is inspired from the Ellora caves in India bearing Hindu-Buddhist-Jain sculptures. It is said that a British officer, recently returning from India, was sent to this settlement that was called Irvine back then. He renamed the settlement to Elora. Hmm, interesting!

↑ Bench

Elora is beautiful

The township’s Business Improvement Area (website) claims that its the most beautiful village in Ontario, I don’t know about that since I haven’t visited enough places. But the location is picturesque and the city has done a great job at keeping it well.

↑ Banners for the Sensational Elora Festival dotting the streets. They even have a cute bridge!

Elora Gorge

Elora is located on a hill and unfortunately we couldn’t descend all the way for a walk along the river because it started raining. The famous Elora Gorge is at the western end of the town. I have to come back one day to see it.

↑ Elora is located on the banks of the Grand river and the Irvine rivers

Between September 30 and October 10, the city is hosting a “festival of senses” and I might go check it out if I can find a car. The event features “renowned music, art, drama, film, food, scenery and architecture of historic Elora” (Note: The promotional video on their website is kinda dull, and it starts playing by itself, but I imagine that the festival would be way more fun than that.)

Certainly a place I would like to visit again.