The Wellington County Museum and Archives isn’t just another landmark building – it’s one of the most stunning and historically significant buildings in our area, set high atop a hill, stoically perched in the center of Fergus and Elora.
The building itself is a testament to time. Built in 1877, the Poor House and Industrial Farm offered lodging for the homeless and poor in Wellington County. It operated until 1947. It is the oldest remaining House of Industry and Refuge in Canada, earning its status as a National Historic Site.
If genealogy is your hobby, the modern archives are a treasure trove of history from communities across Wellington County. Inside the museum, a host of exhibits, some that travel and others that proudly share the artifacts and personal mementos that tell the stories of the people who shaped this land. Explorers and pioneers. Innovators and aggravators. Those who sought refuge and those who gave it. Heroes and heroines. Legends in time.
Tour the exhibit halls, gallery space, the gift shop and step back in time, into the meticulously restored heritage barn. Wander through the fragrant blooms of the many gardens including the Victorian garden, and Butterfly Garden, Woodland and Cottage Garden, bringing the flora and fauna of the past into the present.
Walk the path into a forest that lends land to the Poor House Cemetery, a tribute that honours the almost 300 souls who were buried on the grounds of the former Poor House. If you listen, you may hear their voices in the wind. The ghost stories of this grand old building are legendary. And true. Boo! Cool, right?
This is also a great place to park the car and tour the Elora Cataract Trails, walking/cycling trails that lead you to Elora, Fergus and beyond. Be sure to experience the Aboyne Trail adjacent to the museum, leading you through the forest to the riverbanks of the Grand River, with spectacular views atop the Trestle Bridge over the Grand River. From this vantage point, you can imagine the grand structure of the former Poor House and Industrial Farm as it was stood, before the towns around it were built up to modern day. www.wellington.ca