Discover Ariss, Ontario: A Rural Community with a Rich History
Ariss, Ontario is a charming unincorporated rural community nestled in the Guelph/Eramosa Township, Wellington County, Canada. This quaint settlement is steeped in history and offers a unique glimpse into the past.
The Early Days of Ariss, Ontario
By 1900, Ariss was home to a hotel, a blacksmith shop, and a few houses. In 1903, Joseph and Ellen House opened a store in a small room of their house, marking the beginning of commercial activity in the community.
Ariss, Ontario and the Canadian Pacific Railway
The Canadian Pacific Railway completed a line from Guelph to Goderich in 1907, passing through Ariss. A large two-story railway station was established, complete with living quarters for the stationmaster. Italian labourers, who were employed to build the rail line, lived in a caboose that followed the line's construction. They purchased goods from the House's store and bought produce from local farmers.
The Naming of Ariss, Ontario
The settlement had no official name prior to the railway being built. It was often called Weissenburg, which was the same name as a settlement located 2 km west. Railway officials chose the name Weissenburg for their new station at the settlement. However, postal officials objected as they did not want a post office and a railway station with the same name located so far apart.
Names for the new post office were suggested by residents and included "Martindale", after David Martin, who had owned the land where the railway station was established, and "Ariss", after Mrs. Ariss, the settlement's oldest resident. When Ariss was selected as the name for the new post office, the railway renamed their station Ariss.
Ariss, Ontario: A Hub of Activity
Ellen House served as postmaster for 20 years, with the post office located in the family store. She would carry mail to and from the train station each day. In 1913, two rural mail delivery routes were established from the Ariss post office. The post office and store were sold to Frank Schuett in 1928.
The Ariss railway station was used to ship locally grown hogs, cattle, and turnips, while feed and coal were shipped to the Ariss station from Goderich. However, the station never developed into a significant shipping point, and by the 1920s, not all passenger trains were stopping there.
The Evolution of Ariss, Ontario
When the railway station burned down in the 1930s, it was replaced by a much smaller building. Passenger use along the line decreased as a result of the Great Depression and increased ownership of automobiles. Passenger rail service on the line ended in 1955, and the rail line was abandoned in 1988 and the rails removed.
In 1998, the County of Wellington and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo leased 45 km of the former railway bed to create a recreational rail trail. The Kissing Bridge Railtrail ran from Millbank to Guelph, passing through Ariss. The rail trail was lengthened in 2013, and renamed the Goderich to Guelph Rail Trail.
Ariss, Ontario Today
Today, Ariss is home to the Ariss Valley Golf and Country Club, located south of the community. This rural community continues to charm visitors with its rich history and serene landscapes.