Wellington County, Ontario GenWeb Project

Village of Elora

Elora is a picturesque village founded in 1832 by a retired British officer, Captain William Gilkison, who purchased 14,000 acres of land in Nichol Township at the Grand River Falls. He named his town site after the famous Cave Temples of Elora, India. Gilkison, a cousin of John Galt, the founder of the city of Guelph, was a native of Irvine, Scotland. He soon established a sawmill and a general store in Elora, all before his untimely death in 1833. By 1858 Elora became incorporated as a village. The first elected council consisted of David Foote as reeve, and councilors: John Godfrey, John Mundell, John Patter, and Charles Clarke.
Situated by the junction of the Grand River, and the Irvine River, Elora is located about fifteen miles northwest of the City of Guelph , and has a population of about 3,261 (1995). Once a bustling mill town because of the water power of the Grand River, Elora has preserved its heritage in many excellently restored turn-of-the-century buildings, now housing an interesting variety of craft and specialty stores. The Elora Mill, one of the few five-storey gristmills still in existence, is now a country inn.

From Smith's Canadian Gazetteer 1846
ELORA "A Village in the township of Nichol, beautifully and romantically situated on the Grand River, about thirteen miles from Guelph, was first settled in 1832 by Mr. W. Gilkison. The "Falls" of Elora are very beautiful, and are much visited; the river having worn a channel thirty-five or forty feet deep through the solid lime stone rock. A large rock stands in the centre of the stream, just above the falls, bearing trees; the base of which is nearly worn away by the constant friction of the water. Just below the village, the river is joined by a branch called the Irvine. The situation of Elora is hilly. The village contains about 100 inhabitants, and has an Episcopal church, and a Methodist chapel. Post Office, Post three times a week.
   Professions and Trades.--One physician and surgeon, one grist and oatmeal mill, one saw mill, carding machine and cloth factory, one store, one tavern, one chemist and druggist, two blacksmiths, three shoemakers, two waggon makers two tailors.
-- Crown Lands Agent, A. Geddes."

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