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Centre Wellington Guide

Centre Wellington is a township located in Wellington County. It includes several communities including Fergus, Elora, Belwood, and Salem that nurture a variety of families and professionals. 

It’s an intimate town with a population of just under 27,000. Although it’s a heavily agricultural area, there are thriving industries in manufacturing, healthcare, and retail. A significant portion of its economy is due to tourism. Location filming for TV and movies is becoming more commonplace, making it an up and coming creative city.

There are four beautiful seasons in Centre Wellington. Residents experience cold winters with frequent snow, and warm, humid summers. The weather is great for a full range of outdoor activities, sports, and hobbies.

Residents can hike, ski, swim, and kayak.  When a break from nature is needed, there are historical places to visit and plenty of indoor cultural offerings such as museums and theatres.

A few minor league sports teams call Centre Wellington home, including hockey and lacrosse. Recreation centers are available for those interested in playing sports. Interesting fact, the area is home to one of the oldest, continually operating curling clubs in Ontario.

Communities

Schools

Health Care

Recreation

Culture

Resources

Elora

Elora is another town in the Centre Wellington township. Elora is full of distinctive limestone architecture and enjoys a location near Elora Gorge. It is a quiet, mostly residential town with a population of just under 7,800.

Roman Catholic missionaries originally settled here in the 1600s, but the first official settlers began arriving in 1817. The settlement was finally incorporated in 1858 with only about 100 inhabitants.

Word spread of its great natural beauty, and by 1870 there were several mills, retail stores, two distilleries, and a carpet factory. Today, it is mostly agricultural with growing industries in retail and healthcare.

Tourism, as well as film, contribute to a sizeable economic boost due to it’s proximity to its natural beauty and its proximity to Toronto. In fact, the town was the site for the filming of some significant movies including the recent reboot of “It” because of its architecture and historical locations, such as the oldest running repertory theatre in Canada, the Gorge Cinema.

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Belwood

The community of Belwood is a small, quiet residential community. It features beautiful historical housing and plenty of space.

There is a plethora of outdoor space surrounding the town in the Grand River area as well as parks and recreational areas within walking distance of anywhere in town. The town values its close-knit community as well as its historical significance to the area. There are plenty of events to encourage good relationships between neighbors and community pride.

Belwood is a picturesque alternative to some of the more modern areas in Centre Wellington with quaint housing and a slower pace of life. It is home to traditional stone buildings and historical sites, and the Grand River flows right through the center of the community.

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Salem

Salem is an unincorporated community known for its historic stone houses and buildings, including the Historic Salem School House.

It has only a single red light and more gravel roads than paved. However, residents enjoy a close-knit kinship with other residents. Other amenities include a gas station, two bridges, and a school adjacent to the only subdivision.

It was home to a pine forest just before development was made to expand the urban development of the community. Though that forest is gone, the town is located near water and features all the beautiful natural resources of Centre Wellington including rivers, mountains, and native forests.

It uses many of nearby Elora’s resources including the power grid and sewage but makes a good alternative for those seeking more affordable housing and a quieter pace of life. The pace of life here is quiet, and the town values the close-knit community and interesting history of the area.

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Elementary Schools

Elora Public School
Elora

Elora Public School serves JK-8 students with the majority coming from the village of Elora until grades 7 and 8 when they are joined by students from surrounding communities. The student population is around 430 students, and instructional hours are 8:50 am to 3:20 pm.

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J.D. Hogarth Public School (Dual track)
Fergus

J.D. Hogarth services JK-8 students and is a feeder school for the surrounding areas elementary schools. French immersion starts in grade 3 with students from that track. It has a population of just over 575 students and instruction hours are 8:50 am to 3:10 pm.

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James McQueen Public School
Fergus

James McQueen is a JK-3 English Track and JK-2 French track school with a student population of almost 320. Instruction hours are 8:50 am to 3:20 pm. Students from the French track attend J.D. Hogarth, and students from the English Track attend John Black.

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John Black Public School
Fergus

John Black is a JK-8 school with a student population of almost 385 students. Instructional hours are from 8:50 am to 3:20 pm.

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Salem Public School
Salem / Elora

Salem Public School is located near the Elora Gorge. Its instructional hours are 8:50 am to 3:30 pm. It serves a population of 185 students JK-6.

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Victoria Terrace Public School
Fergus

Victoria Terrace, with a Platinum EcoSchool status, serves approximately 189 JK-6 students. Its instructional hours are 8:45 am to 3:15 pm. Students go on to attend John Black for intermediate grades.

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Secondary Schools

Centre Wellington District High School (Dual track)
Fergus

Centre Wellington District High School is the largest school in the district and likely to be the location of your children’s secondary education when you move to Centre Wellington Township. It is located in Fergus and serves a population of approximately 1220 students. Hours of instruction are from 8:55 am to 3:15 pm.

It offers a full 9-12 English Language Track and a full 9-12 French Immersion Track.
At least eight different primary schools from the areas of Fergus and Elora feed into the Centre Wellington system from both urban and rural areas.

It seeks to foster respect and community through active participation in community events and encouraging parents to volunteer. The school is an inclusive learning environment that serves students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The school also has a full range of sports and clubs in a variety of areas including the arts, hobbies, social initiatives, and indigenous identified clubs

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Wellington Catholic District School Board

Wellington Catholic District School Board oversees 18 elementary and three secondary schools, as well as one alternative education program. It offers French as a Second Language at many of its locations.

It provides English as a Second Language program for learners who need additional English support in content areas, as well as an initiative for First Nations students as part of the reconciliation acts of Canada. There are also extensive special education resources for students with different needs.

Students can participate in the International Baccalaureate program to further future school options, and the schools also offer international language opportunities for students interested in languages other than French and English. Each Saturday morning during the school year, and for a month during the summer, students learn other languages through a variety of activities and games. Language offerings include Arabic, Chinese, German, Greek, Hindi, and Yoruba among over a dozen others.

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St. Joseph
Fergus

St. Joseph serves nearly 480 JK-8 students in the Catholic faith and members of the community. Instructional hours are from 8:45 am to 3:00 pm.

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St. Mary
Elora

St. Mary is a JK-8 Catholic school that serves over 300 students of the Catholic faith and members of the community. Instructional hours are from 8:45pm to 3:00pm.

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Secondary Schools

There are no Catholic secondary schools located in Centre Wellington, instead, students are transported to following schools in the city of Guelph.

Which school students attend will depend on transportation boundaries. You can search by address here.

St. James

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Our Lady of Lourdes

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Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex

The main community sportsplex is located in Fergus. It has two arena floors, a large community hall that can be divided in half, two boardrooms for meetings, and a mezzanine all for rent. Residents also have access to an aquatic center with a 25-meter lane pool, a warm leisure pool, and a whirlpool, all for swimming and therapy throughout the year.

With rooms to accommodate a variety of even you can rent spaces in the Sportsplex by phone or email. Those details can be found here. The Sportsplex hall has a commercial kitchen and seats 450 chairs. Gord Brown Hall and Unity Hall each seat 200 chairs with all the same amenities as Sportsplex. Boardrooms A and B seat 15, and the Mezzanine holds 75 with kitchen facilities.

There is free wifi in the entire facility. Skating programs are available during winter months. There are also special events and other activities offered throughout the year. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm.

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Elora Community Center

The Elora Community Center offers an arena, hall, and boardroom, all for rent. Skating programs are given during the winter months as well as other community events. The government recently approved inquiries into a new skate park to be built in one of the local centers including the Elora Community Center.

The Community Hall has a capacity of 250 chairs and offers a commercial kitchen (no glassware is available) There is free wifi, a screen, mic and AV projector. There are also rectangle and circle tables available. The Boardroom accommodates ten people, and the arena is also available for ice and floor rentals.

Check the calendar for community events and activities, as well as holiday and seasonal openings and closures.

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Belwood Lake

Belwood Lake is a reservoir located in Fergus that offers year-round operations. Full service is from May 1 to October 15. It is 12-kilometer long reservoir created during the construction of the Shand Dam.

Visitors enjoy fishing, boating, and water-skiing. They are also able to walk across the dam to enjoy the views and a sandy beach in the rock quarry where they can swim and sunbathe. A perfect day trip location for families.

The lake is also suitable for sailing, and the reservoir is the home location of the Belwood Lake Sailing Club.

During the winter, there is ice fishing on the lake and snowmobiling paths, part of the Elora Cataract Trailway, that pass through the park.

Check the calendar for other activities and events such as fishing competitions, triathlons, and other types of outdoor offerings year to year.

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Elora Gorge

Elora Gorge is a spectacular natural site located in the Grand River Valley. There are trails to hike all along the gorge and river. Visitors can enjoy camping by reserving space through the GRCA website though there is usually plenty of space outside major holidays.

The river is vast and offers varied opportunities for tubing, canoeing, and kayaking through the river. It will accommodate different skill levels around different parts of the river. There is also the opportunity for cycling along trails.

Fishing is excellent and available throughout the season. Just be sure you have the required fishing license.

Visitors will children will find splash pads to help take the heat of summer, picnic areas, and plenty of walking trails for beginning hikers.

Please hike only on approved trails for your safety. The park is open from May 1 to October 15.

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Elora and Salem Parks

There are a collection of other smaller parks, each with amenities and access to nature. Bissell Park hosts a small waterfall, multiuse pad, and walkways. Irvine and Lyons Parks are part of the Elora Community Center and feature sports areas and picnic shelters. Hoffner and O’Brien Parks are home to a playground and picnic area.

St. Mary’s features a baseball diamond while Southridge hosts two mini soccer pitches and a full soccer field. Veterans Park has a playground, picnic area, and a war memorial. Finally, there are a collection of passive and playground parks, including Drimmie, Foote, and Keating.

Check the calendar for yearly events and special activities. The parks are designed to provide open activity space to residents regardless of their location and to be a space year round for outdoor activity and exercise.

Fergus Parks

Fergus has many outdoor areas in addition to their Sportsplex. The Fergus Dog park features five acres of off-leash play areas, an agility course, and a mulch trail. Both Ferrier and Forfar parks offer walking trails. Highland Park features baseball diamonds with a concession stand while Victoria provides soccer fields and rugby fields with running tracks and a playground.

Milburn offers playgrounds and a splash pad. Strait Park also has a fully accessible playground. Norman Craig is the site of the war memorial, and Strathallan provides another soccer field and playground area.

There are also passive and playground parks located around the town including Beatty, Milligan, and Terry Fox.

Check the calendar for other community event and activity offerings. The parks are designed to provide valuable outdoor space for all residents of Fergus regardless of location.

Belwood Parks

Belwood is located along the Grand River and has many outdoor offerings. Douglas Park, just off Amalia Cres., has basketball hoops, a small playground, and benches and picnic tables.

There is a sports field in town with a large baseball diamond and plenty of parking. Maple Park, located off Queen Street, has plenty of picnic areas, a playground, and a pavilion for shelter.

Be sure to check the local calendar for community-wide event and activities. The parks provide valuable outdoor space for the residents of Belwood. They are easily accessible and available year round for friends and families.

Even though Belwood is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Centre Wellington, the parks offer quick outdoor escapes for afternoons, family events, and parties or other activities.

Riverfest Elora

Riverfest Elora is a weekend of music, food, and fun. There are three full stages and plenty of food trucks and art vendors to pass the time between shows. It started with artist Marilyn Coop in 2009 and continues today in her memory.

There are three-day passes available for those who want to catch the entire festival, and it happens in late August every year. It’s a perfect way to end summer vacation just before everything starts back in the fall. It draws many well-known acts to the small town of Elora for three days of fun.

Three-day passes are reasonably priced, and the atmosphere is family friendly. The festival strives to be a positive part of Elora’s community and bring everyone together for the arts.

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Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games

Fergus’s Scottish roots are celebrated in the annual Fergus Scottish Heritage Festival. It’s a three-day event celebrating Scottish culture, arts, music, and food. Each year clans come together to celebrate and to renew their community ties.

There’s Celtic music, and children can create traditional Scottish crafts (and adults too!) There is highland dancing and beer tents, with storytelling and plenty of genealogy.

It also includes world and national heavy events, pipe band competitions, military tattoo, research tools, over 60 clans, and over 100 international vendors to round out the celebrations. One of the biggest draws of the festival is the clan meetings and the ability to delve into family research of your own. The competitions are fierce, and the local connection to Scottish heritage is demonstrated in every event, vendor, activity, and event.

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Wellington County Museum and Archives

The Wellington Museum is a cultural heritage site with permanent exhibits that address local history and war memorials. Traveling exhibits include local and international art and historical exhibits.

The building itself is the former site of a poor house of refuge that operated until 1947. It features beautiful halls and stonework as one of the oldest buildings in the area. Visitors can check out exhibits or conduct historical research in the building’s archive and reading room. It includes historical documents and microfilm from the area.

There’s free wifi, computer rooms and open access to ancestry.ca for any local historians in the family. The exhibits change regularly and host both temporary and traveling displays. They focus mostly on historical subjects in and adjacent to the art world, including experimental shows.

Permanent exhibits include some of the histories of the Centre Wellington area, a 1920s kitchen installation, and a recreation of a log cabin interior. Outside, there is a unique cemetery built for the unclaimed remains of men, women, and children living in the poor house just before their passing.

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Library System

The Wellington Museum is a cultural heritage site with permanent exhibits that address local history and war memorials. Traveling exhibits include local and international art and historical exhibits.

The building itself is the former site of a poor house of refuge that operated until 1947. It features beautiful halls and stonework as one of the oldest buildings in the area. Visitors can check out exhibits or conduct historical research in the building’s archive and reading room. It includes historical documents and microfilm from the area.

There’s free wifi, computer rooms and open access to ancestry.ca for any local historians in the family. The exhibits change regularly and host both temporary and traveling displays. They focus mostly on historical subjects in and adjacent to the art world, including experimental shows.

Permanent exhibits include some of the histories of the Centre Wellington area, a 1920s kitchen installation, and a recreation of a log cabin interior. Outside, there is a unique cemetery built for the unclaimed remains of men, women, and children living in the poor house just before their passing.

Centre Wellington Township provides an extensive library system with events encouraging literacy, homework help, and plenty of materials. Children and their families can also take part in the library’s STEM village, a program intended to foster 21st century STEM skills.

Individuals and families can check the availability of books through the online system, and the library also makes a variety of ebooks available to check out. Patrons have access to ancestry services in addition to books, and the library offers free indie, documentary, and Canadian movie streaming through a service called Kanopy.

There are rooms available for rent at many of the branches and can be secured through the website or by inquiring at the local branch.

The library also offers daily events for children, many community events that celebrate both important calendar events, and special events happening at different branches. Patrons are encouraged to keep an eye on the calendar so they don’t miss an interesting activity.

There are three branches convenient to the Centre Wellington community located in Aboyne, Elora, and Fergus.

The Aboyne branch is located at 552 Wellington Road 18 in Fergus. It is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Be sure to check the calendar for family-friendly events taking place at the library.

The Elora branch located at 144 Geddes Street in Elora and has slightly more limited hours. It is closed on Sunday but is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday, and Thursday to 8:00 pm, and Saturday to 3:00 pm. The library calendar is located on the website and in the branch, and it contains plenty of events for individuals and families.

The Fergus Branch is located at 190 St. Andrew Street West in Fergus. It is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, Saturday to 5:00 pm, and Sunday to 3:00 pm. The library offers events for adults and children regularly, so make sure to look at the calendar.

County of Wellington

74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9
Phone: 519.837.2600

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