The drive from St. Jacobs to Elora was about 25 minutes long. Not bad at all. It was getting late in the day which made the lighting great for photography.
Our first stop was Victoria Park to see the gorge. Here there was a cul-de-sac to park on (overflow is directed to a nearby parking area). We walked along a tree-lined path and were able to see glimpses of the Grand River below. I loved the trees and their roots. They made for some interesting pictures.
The next stop was Lover’s Leap and the Junction. There are two Indigenous legends about this area according to a tourism pamphlet:
Lover’s Leap, located at the Junction of the Grand River (to the left) and Irvine Creek (to the right) provides excellent views of the Elora Gorge. The origins of the aboriginal legends associated with Lover’s Leap and Kim-Chim-A-Tik’s cave were first recorded by David Boyle. Lover’s Leap Legend Two First Nation lovers were denied marriage because they belonged to the same clan. Rather than face life apart, they chose death together by leaping off the point. The Gods,feeling pity for them, changed them into the two rivers so they could embrace each other forever.
Another legend is the Chief Kee-Chim-A-Tik’s Cave Legend. The cave was a gathering place for First Nations Tribes on the warpath. Kee-Chim-A-Tik rescued a captive by declaring her his wife. The fair maid had been bound upon an altar in the cave, as a sacrifice to Manitou of the Falls. All did not end happily. Kee-Chim-A-Tik proved unfaithful and was killed by his wife, who was later ambushed on Islet Rock (see Tooth of Time) and found her final resting place in his cave.
The pamphlet can be found here.
The view from Lover’s Leap was spectacular. Lots of trees amongst the rock. It would be an ever better view in the fall, I’m sure.
Our third stop in the park was the Irvine River Gorge Staircase which was not too far away from Lover’s Leap. I came across this quote while researching the area and had to include it:
“The new stairway allowed ladies access to the delights from which they had heretofore been debarred.”
– The Lightning Express Paper, circa 1878
We didn’t venture down the stairs but I wish we had! Next time for sure. Maybe in the fall. The view from the bottom of the gorge appears even better than the view from the top!
We wanted to see the quarry but accidently took a wrong turn. I’m glad we did! We got to see the Elora Mill from the south side of the Grand River. There seemed to be quite a bit of construction going on but the view was beautiful, nonetheless. Outdoor wedding ceremonies are held at the Riverside Chapel. There’s a building in ruins behind it but this just seemed to add to the rustic feel. The Foundry building looked in great repair. This is where indoor ceremonies are held. I loved the horse feed buckets attached to the exterior wall. A great historical touch. The bat house near the roof was an interesting addition as well. The Mill is now a high-end hotel and spa. I took many pictures of the River and Mill.
We went up the street to a parking lot near the Badley Bridge so I could take some pictures of the view from there. The sun was on its way to setting so the lighting was perfect.
We walked back to the car at this point and headed towards the Quarry. To our dismay, the Quarry was just about to close. We spoke with the people at the parking lot booth and they allowed us to take a quick look from above without paying a fee. All I can say is WOW! I NEED to return here for a swim! The beach below looked amazing. The water was clear and smooth as glass. A number of people on the beach were gathering their belongings. I would have loved to see the quarry from the beach. I did sneak down to a lower level and took a few pictures but it was still quite high up .
Our last stop before the drive back to the city was a fish and chip place called Somethin’ Fishee. They were just closing as we got there but were able to make us some fries and gravy. The fries were soooo good!
I took a quick picture of the beautiful sky before we drove back to the city.