A Journey into the Past: St. Jacobs and Elora

 
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$ 110 (museum entry included).

 

Pick up locations and times:

 

Scarborough: 8:00 am

Scarborough Town Centre  La-Z-Boy Furniture parking lot, 530 Progress Ave

North York: 8:30 am 

Sheppard West Subway Station, Passenger Pick-Up/Drop Of

Mississauga: 9:00 am

Square One (LCBO parking lot - 65 Square One Drive)  

Pick up points: ​ 7:30 am Mississauga   ​ 8:00 am North York   ​ 8:30 am Scarborough


A trip from Toronto to St. Jacobs will bring you back to the past and introduce you to the Mennonite  community. 

Many Old Order Mennonites can be seen at St. Jacobs Farmers' Market, the largest Canadian farmers market. From the market we will make an hour and a half trip to the nearby Mennonite farm on an omnibus harnessed by a pair of mighty horses (extra charge). During this excursion, the Mennonite driver will tell about the traditions, customs and culture of his brothers.

 

After a trip to the farm we head to St. Jacobs downtown. The Village of St. Jacobs is a beloved destination steeped in history and set in a charming location along the Conestoga River. It's a community known for originality, one-of-a-kind shops and as a place that blends a pastoral setting with fun things to do. Experience the magic of visiting St. Jacobs and enjoying the charm of the town. 

The Mennonite Story Interpretive Centre creatively and respectfully describes the history, culture and religion of Mennonites yesterday and today, here and around the world. You will learn about the Old Order Mennonites, whose buggies you may pass on your way here. You’ll see why they resist parts of modern life that the rest of us can’t seem to do without. You will find out about the Mennonites’ early beginnings in Europe – how they came out of the 16th century Protestant Reformation and why they were hunted down and persecuted.

 

In the village you will see many historical buildings of the nineteenth century. On King Street, there are about a hundred souvenir and antique shops and boutiques, workshops, art galleries, cafes and restaurants. Some workshops not only sell goods, but also provide an opportunity to observe the manufacturing process of wood, metal, glass and pottery.

 

From the bridge over the Conestoga River there is a beautiful view of the surrounding area. A remarkable Maple Syrup Museum is located in the Mill, as well as a three-dimensional panorama with train models. The hydro turbine used to generate electricity for the Mill and the village is still located here in the basement along the electricity exhibition and a distinctive local history museum.

In St. Jacobs you will have free time, and some use it to walk along the beautiful millrace trail known as "Lovers Lane".  The path between the river and the canal along the shady alley with overgrown trees is rather pleasant; here you can often see groups of walking Mennonites.

 

After visiting St. Jacobs, which is located on the banks of the Conestoga River, a tributary of the Grand River, we will head for the village of Elora, located on the banks of the Grand River itself. We will drive along rural roads, and it is quite possible that along the way we will meet Mennonites or Amish of the Old Order, who love visiting Elora, admiring the incredible natural beauty of these places.

 

The fabulously charming settlement of Elora is the real gem of Ontario. Elora is called the most beautiful village of Ontario, and there is no exaggeration. In any ranking of the most beautiful small settlements in Ontario, you will certainly find Elora in the top ten.  

The community is located at the junction of the Grand and Irvine rivers; the sheer beauty of the junction rivals Niagara Falls, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Elora was founded 1832 by Captain William Gilkison of Irvine, Scotland, and named after Ellora, his brother's ship. Gilkison, a cousin of John Galt, the Canada Company promoter, was impressed by the magnificence of the limestone gorge. Development ceased in the 1870s but there remains a magnificent unspoiled array of 19th-century Ontario architecture in brick and stone to complement the natural landscape.

The community's architecture and generally unspoiled 19th-century ambiance, especially along Mill Street, has attracted the attention of major movie producers as well as numerous tourists and visitors hoping to recapture a sense of times past as they view the historic mill and the shops of local craftspeople and artisans.

 

One of Elora’s biggest tourist attractions is the waterfall and a small river island called the “Tooth of Time”, clearly visible from the old mill. Elora Mill is Canada’s oldest surviving five-story mill, recently undergoing major renovations. There is a five-star hotel, a conference center, a wedding chapel, a spa and other facilities.

 

Elora is famous for its unique shops and attractive old-fashioned cafes and restaurants located on a steep river bank. The Gorge Cinema is Canada's oldest continuously performing repertoire theater. The authentic  19th-century architecture is especially charming along Mill Street.

 

After visiting Elora, we will return to Toronto.

 

Drop off locations and times: 

 

Mississauga: 7:30 pm 

Square One (LCBO parking lot - 65 Square One Drive)   ​ 

North York: 8:00 pm 

Sheppard West Subway Station, Passenger Pick-Up/Drop Of

Scarborough: 8:30 pm

Scarborough Town Centre  La-Z-Boy Furniture parking lot, 530 Progress Ave

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Toronto Goldfinch Tours

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Phone: +1 416 722 9043

E-mail: info@torontogf.com

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