The hallmark event of Grand River Raceway’s racing season is Industry Day, always held on the Civic Holiday Monday. The event is highlighted by two prestigious races, The Battle of Waterloo is Grand River Raceway’s signature race, featuring Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing colts. The Battle of the Belles is a companion race contested by Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing fillies. Make a day of it. The action is thrilling.
Comments Off on Four seasons. Two towns. One awesome destination.
We don’t do boring. This is a place where there is always something to do, something to see, somewhere to go. Where do you want to start? Pick your season. We’ll give you a reason to come explore Elora and Fergus. And hopefully, we will inspire your return trip too.
We’ve assembled a few of our favourite seasonal events, the annual fun we never miss. But we love to be spontaneous too. You just never know what impromptu event will come up, but we know you’ll want to be there, so for current event listings, dates and locations, visit our Events page.
When the thaw of winter gives rise to daffodils and the hearty crocus, the waters of the Grand River rush with the melt of snow and the earth comes alive again. Fergus and Elora are beautiful places to shake off the winter and step into spring.
The trees and flowers bloom, making our trails a beautiful place to see the birds, get outdoors and get some exercise. And soon, the sun will warm the waters of Belwood Lake and the Grand River. The fish will be biting, which will make those who fish our waters very happy. Ah, Spring. You’re beautiful here.
National Tartan Day is a pub crawl, only with way better clothes. Got a tartan? Wear it. Or borrow one and join in the fun. Be prepared to tilt yer kilt and travel from pub to pub with your pals and more than few bagpipers. www.downtownfergus.com
Check out Insights 2022 – Juried Exhibition of Fine Arts, the longest running regional juried art shows remaining in Ontario. This exhibit is on at the Wellington County Museum, on until June 19, 2022. www.insightsart.ca
The Elora Vintage and Antique Show is a treasure hunter’s bounty of unique finds and nostalgic pieces, everything from jewellery to vintage fashion, fine dishes and home décor, plus collectibles of art, culture, memorabilia and more. The event runs April 9-10, 2022 at the Elora Community Centre. www.antiqueshowcanada.com
The Wellington County Writers Festival will be held at the Wellington County Museum and Archives on April 23, 2022. Enjoy readings by local authors, meet book vendors, and enjoy storytelling and activities for young readers too. www.wellington.ca
Book lovers, bargain hunters and collectors never miss the Elora Festival’s annual Giant Book Sale. It’s a page turner. Book worms gather May 6-8, 2022 at the Elora Curling Club. www.elorafestival.com
We’re as pretty as a picture. Watch the inspiration unfold right on the canvass during the Elora En Plein Air, May 19-22, 2022. You’ll find artists at beautiful locales around town and scattered around our beautiful landscapes. www.elorapleinair.ca
Take the bait. Cast off in the 40th annual Belwood Lions annual Pike Derby, from May 28-29, 2022. There are prizes to won and tall tales to be shared. www.belwoodlions.org
When the spring air warms the ground, The Elora Farmers’ Market returns to Bissell Park with fresh locally grown produce, meats and sweet treats too. Seriously, you’ll meet the best people here. It’s basically a social gathering with great food. Beginning May 7, bring your own bags and come be a part of our special community every Saturday morning until late October. www.elorafarmersmarket.com
Get in on the action when live Standardbred Harness Racing returns on June 3 to the Grand River Raceway, with live racing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights all summer long, until September 26, 2022. Get to the rail and cheer! grandriverraceway.com
The Elora Gorge Campground opens with 450 seasonal camp sites. This campground features the adventure of tubing through the park on the rapids of the Grand River or taking the younger kids to the splash pad to enjoy some water fun.
Fergus Fibre Festival Calling all knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, and anyone interested in Ontario wool and fleece. Sponsored by the Fergus BIA, the Fergus Fibre Festival is an annual event that takes place the last Saturday in May in downtown Fergus. You’ll find fibre farmers, yarn dyers, and accessories makers excited to showcase their quality yarns, rovings, fleeces, and handcrafted accessories.
Ah summer, the perfect time to visit Elora and Fergus. You can bask beneath the summer sun by the emerald waters of the Elora Quarry or stretch out on the sandy shores at the Belwood Lake spring-fed quarry. Bump through the white waters of the Grand River or fly fish in the cool streams.
You can rent a bike, go for a hike along the Elora Cataract Trail, or paddle a canoe or take your sweetheart for a gondola ride along the Grand River. Picnic among the sunflowers of the Fieldstone Barn or the in the greenspace of the Elora Centre for the Arts. Summers here are full of possibilities.
We are home to three of the best music and cultural festivals you’re ever going to find in one area, all in the month of August. Come for one or stay for all.
If you enjoy choral and classical music, we’ve got that. The Elora Festival brings the world to our small stages.
Riverfest Elora rocks out Bissell Park for three days and nights of incredible live music, with a line-up of bands you won’t believe, drawing in thousands of music lovers to party riverside.
And for an entire weekend, people from around the world descend on Fergus to celebrate all things Scotland. Whether you can claim Scottish heritage or just want to claim it for the weekend, get to the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games.
You simply can’t beat that our festivals. Seriously, you can’t.
Yes, it’s the perfect time to visit us. The patios are open. The water is cold. The happenings are hot. You won’t even believe all the ice cream we have here. Best of all, shopping is always in season.
The Elora Centre for the Arts is the site of two-day juried art show and sale, now in its 18th year: The Creative Spark in the Yard. Featuring over 50 artisans, the outdoor show is an opportunity to meet the makers and buy unique art pieces. July 9th-10thwww.eloracentreforthearts.ca
Rent a tube and float along the Grand River, through the Elora Gorge Conservation Area or between Fergus and Elora. It’s a rite of passage. You almost must have to do it to say you’ve been here. That’s a dare. www.grandriver.ca / www.elorarapids.com
River Bug rides are a thing. And don’t you want to say you’ve been on a River Bug? Sure you do. www.eloraraftrides.com
Bring your blanket and stretch out in Bissell Park to enjoy live theatre with Shakespeare in the Parkwww.eloracommunitytheatre.com Performances run August 5th – 14th, 2022.
Enjoy Sunset Concerts at the Museum with live performances weekly taking place on Thursdays evenings all summer long at the Wellington County Museum. www.wellington.ca
Rock on! Gather your friends and head down to the river for three epic days of Riverfest Elora. Aug. 19-21, 2022 It’s not your typical musical festival because this isn’t your typical venue. This is good vibes all around. www.riverfestelora.com
Tie and fly. If you’re into fly fishing, or have always wanted to try it, there is simply no place better to experience this sport. The fishing here is second to none.
The Elora Festival brings world-class music right to our doorstep over three weekends each summer, celebrating the best of choral, classical and jazz performances, including the Elora Singers. July 8-24, 2022 www.elorafestival.ca
Every swam in an old quarry? Go for a swim in the spring-fed quarry in Belwood, with sandy beaches and a shallow area for kids. Or head to the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, a former limestone quarry with deep emerald waters surrounded by steep cliffs, with a sandy beach. Both locations operated by the Grand River Conservation Authority. www.grandriver.ca
Live music by the river makes the Twilight at Templin concerts every Wednesday night all summer long a family-friendly night of relaxation and great music under a late summer sun. www.downtownfergus.com
Step back in time as you walk through downtown Fergus for the Fergus Medieval Faire on July 23, 2022. Lords and ladies, knights and maidens, performers and entertainers all vie to impress the King and Queen. Come enjoy the vendors, the feasts and the tradition of the Fergus Medieval Faire. Armour optional. www.fergusmedievalfaire.ca
The hallmark event of Grand River Raceway’s racing season is Industry Day, always held on the Civic Holiday Monday. The event is highlighted by two prestigious races, The Battle of Waterloo is Grand River Raceway’s signature race, featuring Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing colts. The Battle of the Belles is a companion race contested by Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing fillies. Make a day of it. The action is thrilling. www.grandriverraceway.com
It doesn’t get any more Scottish outside of Scotland than the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games. And you don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy this celebration of cultural heritage. Three full days of fun and festivities. Come for a day or come for a weekend. Kilts optional. www.fergusscottishfestival.com
Our love of the automobile keeps the annual Wellington County Museum and Archives’ Antique and Classic Car Show polished and revved up and it’s quite the spectacle to see all those classic cars, muscle machines and trucks lined up across the big lawn. August 28, 2022. www.wellington.ca
Bright yellow sunflowers in bloom, tall stalks of corn rustling in the breeze and rich orange sunsets sliding down the horizon make for beautiful views at The Fieldstone Barn, on the edge of Elora. Pack a picnic and enjoy the splendor of the countryside within walking distance to town. You’ll find plenty of Instagram-able moments here. Tour the Corn Maze and wander the labyrinth under the summer sky. You can even glamp in comfort and stay the night under the stars. And oh boy, do we see the stars here. Check out all the events planned for this unique destination. www.thefieldstonebarn.com
Fall in love with autumn here. Our landscape is a spectacle of crimson reds, bright yellows, oranges and deep greens made all the more spectacular along our trails, riverbanks and the caverns of the Elora Gorge.
As we celebrate the harvest season, it’s also a time of hometown traditions and community celebrations. We’re happy to share the bounty of the season. We also highly recommend you get the kid’s out of the city to learn about their rural roots at our charming Fergus Fall Fair.
Make a weekend of it. Gather your friends and map out your inspiration with the Elora Fergus Studio Tour. Explore private workshops and studios and meet the makers of the fine art that has made Elora and Fergus a hub of diverse creativity and inspiration. Autumn is awesome here.
Get out of the city and get your country on! The 185th Fergus Fall Fair is a tradition of fun experiences for the whole family celebrating agriculture, community and the bounty of harvest season. www.fergusfallfair.ca
We renowned for our artist collectives. Creativity thrives here. The Elora Fergus Studio Tour is your chance to get inside the creative spaces of our local artists, in a self-guided tour that takes place annually over two weekends. Meet the makers and see what inspires them. Start at the Elora Centre for the Arts, with their exhibit featuring the artists on tour, and then head off to get inspired. www.elorafergusstudiotour.com
Fall Wellington Rural Romp takes you down the back roads to the farms for some hands-on experiences and a chance to see our rural borders. The Fall Wellington Rural Romp is September 24, 2022. www.wellington.ca
Rev your engines and head to the Downtown Fergus Antique and Classic Car Show, when we shut down the main drag and bring in the road warriors. www.downtownfergus.com
Sensational Pumpkin Day happens every October at the Elora Farmers’ Market, celebrating all things pumpkin. From carving and decorating them to finding fun ways to eat them, everyone loves pumpkins. www.sensationalelora.com
The Monsters take over Elora every October. Look around. Find them before they find you! Monster Month makes the village an imaginative place that celebrates all this Halloween. There is so much going on, with family-friendly festivities to join in the spooky fun. Dress up and join your fellow monsters for the annual Monster MarchParade through the streets. This month is loaded with fun. Don’t miss out on the fun or it just haunt you. Visit www.monstermonth.ca for current activities.
Fergus gets into the spirit of Halloween with their downtown Halloween Haunt Walk for the kids, and by night, the Fergus Ghost Walks. Ghost stories in real time! Watch out for the shadow. Visit www.centrewellington.ca for dates and times.
Our haunted house is way bigger than yours! And it’s haunted for real. Ask anyone. Join in the October Spooktacular festivities, like the Poor House Spirit Walks at the Wellington County Museum. If this doesn’t give you a tingle up your spine, then don’t look over your shoulder. Boo! www.wellington.ca.
Abracadabra! Magic anyone? We are home to the Magic Festival, with a slate of internationally renowned magicians who bring the mystery, the awe and the showmanship of the artform to town. Open your mind to the possibilities and the wonder, part of the Monster Month fun. www.magicfestival.ca.
Get on your boots and head to the The Fieldstone Barn to pick your perfect pumpkin right out of the farm field. Tour the Corn Maze and enjoy the autumn vibes. Check the calendar for seasonal events on the farm. www.thefieldstonebarn.com
When the autumn foliage turns to vibrant reds and oranges, our trails are a pathway through the season with beautiful views. That crunch of the leaves beneath your feet and the smell of autumn in the air, there is nothing like it. Get out, explore and kick up the leaves.
When the snow falls and ice forms long sharp teeth against the limestone rocks that envelope the Grand River, the view is spectacular. The Elora Gorge is an icicle fortress, where ice climbers gear up for a climb to the top, and the trails are set for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing.
The view of the Grand River through Fergus is picturesque, as the water rushes through leaving a frozen mist on the trees. When the ice is thick, Belwood Lake offers ice fishing, and snowmobiles tour special trails to get out into the countryside. It’s cold out there, but it’s warm inside our pubs, restaurants, specialty coffee shops.
‘Tis the season to be merry and we can help with that too. Christmas shopping will become a special tradition. Begin your holiday memories here.
The best way to enjoy winter is to get out and play in it. We’ve got the best trails to strap on the cross-country skis or the snowshoes and make the most of the season.
When the ice is thick, Belwood Lake’s ice fishing is a fun winter tradition that every should try (weather permitting of course) www.grandriver.ca
Winter fun includes two key components: outdoor ice skating and tobogganing. We excel at both. From the free outdoor rinks throughout the community to some excellent steep hills to launch your sleigh down, there is nothing like getting outdoors here.
Up for a winter challenge? Dig in and try Ice Climbing in the Elora Gorge. This is the ultimate winter adventure designed for beginners, but fun for experienced climbers. One Axe Pursuits offers 60-foot ice manmade climbing routes along the limestone cliffs of the Elora Gorge, with the rush of the water of the Irvine and Grand Rivers below. Learn to climb new heights with an epic winter experience. oneaxepursuits.com
Christmas shopping is cozy and fun in our downtowns, where the shopkeepers are friendly and the selection is great. Be unique and shop unique. Elora hosts two nights of Starlight Shopping and Fergus rolls out the specials with their annual Late Night Sip’n Shop event. www.elora.info / www.downtownfergus.com
Nothing brings the harmony of Christmas in the Village like the internationally renowned voices of the Elora Festival Singers. Their annual Christmas in the Village and Festival of Carols have become a lovely holiday tradition here and are sure to make your spirits bright. www.elorafestival.ca
The Wellington County Museum celebrates the festive season with a Christmas Festival each year, welcoming families to learn about the traditions of this holiday throughout our past. www.wellington.ca
Celebrate the life of the Scottish bard Robbie Burns in Fergus with an annual celebration where haggis is as much a guest as it is the heart of the meal. It’s a memorable Robbie Burns Night and a fabulous party. Entertainment like no other. Kilt up and get down there. http://www.fpb.burnsnight.ca
As you can see, we pack a lot in here, because life is Grand and Gorgeous all year round. There’s more. Much more. But you know, we didn’t want to overwhelm you. We suggest you check our calendar of events for new and upcoming events, locations and details.
Our landscape is changing as we grow to become a premiere destination, but that just means you’ll find new things to explore when you return. So plan to come back. Often.
The annual event is a celebration of racing, highlighted by two major races – The Battle of Waterloo is the signature race, featuring Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing colts, and the Battle of the Belles is Grand River Raceway’s companion race, contested by Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing fillies.
Another exciting race is the Ontario Sires Stakes event for three-year-old filly pacers in the Grassroots Series.
But there’s more to the day, so bring the family along for an afternoon at the races:
Admission is free. Parking is too!
Kid-friendly activities from Noon to 4pm. There is plenty for the kids to do and they are permitted throughout the grounds, except in the Elements Casino
The day features 12 Races. Post time for Race 1 is 12:30pm
To participate in prize draws, a program ballot is required. They are available on-site on race day.
Hop on the free people-mover anytime between noon – 5pm. It can take you around the backstretch to enjoy the view.
Come out and enjoy a beautiful day at the prettiest track in Ontario and take in the sights and sounds. Expect an experience!
Comments Off on Industry Day at Grand River Raceway
There is something about the sound of horse’s hooves thundering passed the rail, going at breakneck speed along the track, so gallant and strong, making the final turn running for position, with the yips from the drivers leaning back long in their sulkies, steering them into position.
And all the while the animated commentary of the sportscaster keeps pace with the action, broadcasting from the speakers, his excitement booming out over the crowd so everyone is in the know for their win, place or show. Then there is the cheering, the energy of the crowd, the pure anticipation of the first horse to cross that post line. This is racing! Alive and in the moment.
We’ve never missed an Industry Day in Elora for good reason. It’s truly a summer highlight and one of the most fitting ways to cross the finish line of the August long weekend in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. We’ve been there in the rain and we’ve basked in the summer sun, but we’ve never left early, because there is something special about this day that can only be appreciated by being there.
First off, It goes without saying that the signature races – Battle of Waterloo and Battle of the Belles – are incredible races and a true testament to the work, dedication and skill behind the standardbred racing industry. If you like horse-racing at all, or even if you’re new to the sport you’ll love the pomp and pageantry of these races. But the competition? Well, we’re placing bets two seriously close races this year and some records being set! There are some racing legends and family legacies we can’t wait to see compete.
But you don’t have to love horse racing to go – we just happen to believe you will once you experience it. So, here are a few reasons why Industry Day at Grand River Raceway is awesome:
Admission is FREE. Where else can you have this much fun and be in on the action without paying a cover fee?
Parking is FREE and there is lots of it. Some people even park in the back field, where the views are just as great. There’s room to move!
You can bring the kids. There is plenty to do for the young and young-at-heart. Pony rides, a petting zoo, bouncy castle, face-painting and more is available with an all-access Kid’s Zone pass for just $5. The tarmac at Grand River Raceway is absolutely a family-friendly environment too. Everyone can get in on the action. (Please note: Children are not allowed in Elements Casino slots area).
The Young Gunz miniature pony race is going to be hit this summer, because, who doesn’t love a miniature pony?
You can go everywhere with free people-mover transportation making frequent stops throughout the event to get you to and from the parking lot, the back-stretch, the paddock building and to the tarmac for the home-stretch. This makes the raceway grounds accessible to explore.
Come meet past Battle of Waterloo champion Button Up (race fans will not miss this photo op)
This year’s Industry Day Garage Sale will take place in the Paddock Annex, a charity fundraiser to support 4 organizations within the standardbred racing industry
Without a doubt, one of our favourite highlights is the time-honoured Grand River Raceway tradition of the Halftime Show, featuring the Bouncy Pony Stakes – Drivers’ Edition. Don’t miss this. It’s a laugh a bounce.
There are various places to enjoy food and a nice cold beverage, such as the 4 outdoor barbecues, 2 beer tents, the 3i n-house restaurants (though be advised, Captain’s Quarters is already booked), and a food truck.
Interactive fun with the Tarmac Show, plus prizes and giveaways – always a good time.
If you want to try your luck at the slots, you’re in the right place with Elements Casino.
We’re betting you’ll have the best time, with 11 races on the card and the heart-pounding excitement of the Battle of Waterloo and the Battle of the Belles, the two signature races of the day, plus so much more. And don’t worry if you don’t much about harness-racing. The staff at Grand River Raceway make it easy and fun and there are no silly questions.
The fun begins August 6 at noon, with Post Time for Race 1 set for 12:30pm.
We’re betting you’ll have as much fun as we do at our favourite summer tradition – #IndustryDay28!
Title Photo by NCJ Photography: Ideation Hanover with Jody Jamieson sets a new Canadian season’s record of 1:55 (2-year-old pacing fillies over a half-mile track) in the second of four Battle Of The Belles elimination races on July 30 at Grand River Raceway.
Crowd photo and groom with horse photo by Dave Landry Photography.