Full disclosure…Elora is my village and I love the place. It’s defined by two rivers…the Grand and the Irvine which join at the base of a rock lookout we call Lovers’ Leap. These waterways run through a deep limestone gorge that is so inaccessible and at times treacherous that it was the hiding place for the Neutral First Nations during various native wars. Caves line the chasm and when the founder, Captain William Gilkison saw them back in 1832, he found them reminiscent of the Ellora caves near Bombay, India.
A limestone-built village, even the current Liquor Store (LCBO) was constructed of the quarried stone in 1865 as an Armoury/Drill Shed. Elora is in a blessed location, smack dab in the middle of some of the finest farm land in Ontario. Great farmers markets abound including a well-curated one in a park on Mill Street East. You can buy water buffalo cheese and meat; locally grown tree nuts and a fabulous array of seasonal produce and preserves. The Elora Gorge Park is the jewel in the Grand River Conservation Association’s crown….you can fish for brown trout or even tube or kayak the river.
Up till the 1970s, the Elora Mill Inn was an active gristmill and lumber company, operated by the Drimmie family, with pigeons populating the upper floors and feed trucks populating the street. It was renovated during the era where old mills all across the Province were being spiffed up. Mill Street became lined with upscale shops; artists and musicians moved in and stayed.
As hotels often go, the Inn fell on hard times until Pearle Hospitality, an Ontario-based, family-owned company, purchased it and poured literally millions into its restoration over a period of about 7 years. It’s a stunning re-creation of one of the engineering masterpieces of the 1800s.
Few chefs are as well-suited to this magnificent boutique hotel than newly-appointed Executive Chef Jonathan Gushue. He built much of the foundation of the local food consciousness in this region with his tenure at Langdon Hall. There he actively supported and endorsed countless small producers many of whom are still in business. And he did this long before the concept of ‘local food’ was on most chefs’ radar. That’s the power of a good chef who honours the ingredients genuinely.
Now back in the region after a stint in his home province of Newfoundland at Fogo Island Inn and winning a number of Food Day Canada awards, he is poised to build the Elora Mill Restaurant into a serious culinary destination.Elora Mill Food Day Can 2020
Contact The Elora Mill Hotel & Spa at the number below to reserve a Food Day Canada table.
Contactez The Elora Mill Hotel & Spa directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre Journée des terroirs réservation.
Elora Mill Inn & Spa,
77 W Mill St,
Elora, ON N0B 1S0