“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Elora in Wellington County, Ontario — Central Canada

The Village Centre

The Village Centre Marker image. Click for full size.
cmh2315fl via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0), August 13, 2017
1. The Village Centre Marker
Inscription.  This convergence of streets has, at various times, been called, “Business Corners”, “The Crescent” and “Market Square”. For most of the 19th century, the west side of Geddes Street was known as the Fair Grounds, home to the Monthly Cattle Fair and periodic Horse Fairs. According to local lore, it owes its existence to a harness maker named Andrew Gordon. He had just opened a new shop in the peak of the flat iron building which he shared with hotelier Robert Dalby. William Gilkinson, Elora's founder, originally planned for a large town square on the south bank of the Grand River. Most of the village fathers favoured a similar plan and passed a bylaw prohibiting the sale of livestock on the Fair Grounds here. Defying the bylaw, Gordon ensured that the Cattle Fair would remain near his shop by spreading salt on the ground for the cows and encouraging farmers to gather at this location. He won the day and, with the building of the first Town Hall on the Fair Grounds in 1874, this busy intersection became the undisputed centre of the village. The Town Hall was also referred to as the Market House where market stalls were available to vendors. It also
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housed the village jail. The row of shops on the east side of Geddes Street took full advantage by establishing their block as the main commercial hub of Elora. Businesses on this stretch of Geddes Street included hardware and dry goods merchants, grocers, tailors, and blacksmiths. Several banks located near the old market square, most notably the Trader's Bank on the northwest corner of Geddes and Colborne Street and the Merchant's Bank near the southern edge of the square on Metcalfe Street. The new post office with its impressive clock tower was erected near the Town Hall in 1911 and the square became an even more popular gathering place. In 1929 the World War I Cenotaph was built on the green space in front of the Town Hall. Sadly the Town Hall was demolished in 1960 and later replaced by a more spacious and utilitarian municipal centre in the 1990s. Hofer Park, part of the old Fair Grounds, is conveniently situated behind the municipal offices. Just beyond Hofer Park is Victoria Park, an even larger green space which is located right on the lip of the Elora Gorge. The east side of Geddes Street continues to be a prime business strip in the village core with a variety of stores and services.

• Streetscape WCMA ph 7733
• Fair Day WCMA ph 18220
• Old Town Hall and Post Office WCMA ph 23432
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Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1874.
Location. 43° 41.003′ N, 80° 25.84′ W. Marker is in Elora, Ontario, in Wellington County. Marker is at the intersection of Metcalfe Street (County Road 18) and Geddes Street, on the right when traveling south on Metcalfe Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elora ON N0B 1S0, Canada. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 23 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Founders of Fergus (approx. 4.9 kilometers away); The West Montrose Covered Bridge (approx. 11.6 kilometers away); Guelph Public Library / Bibliothèque publique de Guelph (approx. 21 kilometers away); Duncan-McPhee Building (approx. 21.1 kilometers away); Heffernan Street Footbridge (approx. 21.1 kilometers away); The Toronto-Dominion Bank (approx. 21.3 kilometers away); The Home of the First Mayor of Guelph (approx. 21.4 kilometers away); Provincial Winter Fair Building (approx. 21.4 kilometers away).
Credits. This page was last revised on April 23, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 23, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 43 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on April 23, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
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Mar. 29, 2023