Explore Elora’s cool winter activities
People who want to shake off cabin fever as Ontario’s deep freeze hits its mid-season stride can embrace some one-of-a-kind winter experiences just a short drive from the Greater Toronto Area in picturesque Elora.
“The historic village perched on a scenic gorge overlooking the Grand River offers a variety of activities and attractions that help visitors celebrate all that’s fun and exciting about Canada in winter,” said publicist Stephen Murdoch.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Ice climbing in the Elora Gorge
Adventurous types looking to get outdoors and make the most of the season before the warmer weather arrives can scale a wall of sheer ice on the face of the famous Elora Gorge. The 20-metre high, man-made ice wall is open to experienced climbers and beginners, who can learn the ropes of ice climbing from experts with tour operator One Axe Pursuits. One Axe staff provide lessons on the basics of ice climbing – including how to use axes and crampons to dig into the ice for traction – before climbers tackle the ice wall. The length of the season depends on the weather, but it typically last at least until the end of March.
Turn up the heat with an outdoor swim
The historic Elora Mill Hotel & Spa, located in a beautiful stone building originally constructed in 1832, underwent a massive upgrade and renovation a couple of years ago that added a number of great, new features – including a heated outdoor pool that allows visitors to take in the beauty of the gorge all winter long. Those who want some pampering after a day snowshoeing or hiking on nearby trails can choose from a wide selection of treatments at the hotel’s cliff-side spa.
Go snowshoeing along the Grand River
Put on a pair of snowshoes and hit the trails at the Wellington County Museum and Archives to get a real appreciation for the stunning scenery along the Grand River in winter. As a National Historic Site located directly across from the Elora Gorge, the museum has a network of trails including the Aboyne Trail and the Cataract Trail System, on its 53-acre property. Snowshoes in a variety of sizes are available to rent at the museum’s front desk to make the hiking easier.
A one-of-a-kind room with a view … and a hot tub
Inner Joy Getaways offers a unique spot along the Grand River for visitors to set up shop for a weekend getaway to explore Elora in winter. The property, just a few minutes’ drive outside the village, features four shipping containers that have been repurposed and transformed into tastefully decorated self-catering suites. Each beautifully appointed suite features a private patio with a BBQ and hot tub – a perfect place to wind down on a winter escape.
Hidden Gem Winter Lookouts
There are several great vantage points off the beaten track in Elora and neighbouring Fergus for hikers to soak up winter views of the gorges created by the Grand and Irvine Rivers.
The Victoria Park trail has a look-out spot known as Lover’s Leap for a stunning bird’s-eye view, as well as side trails to access the river bed below. The David Street Bridge right in the village of Elora offers incredible views of the gorge more than 20 metres below. With two sweeping concrete arches towering above the river, the bridge itself serves as a picturesque backdrop for winter photographers. Templin Gardens in nearby Fergus provides spectacular scenery on the Banks of the Grand River and is conveniently located just steps from the village’s main street.
If you go:
For more information: o: elorafergus.ca