Discover Elmira, Ontario: A Blend of History and Culture

Elmira, Ontario, the largest community in the township of Woolwich, is located 15 kilometres north of the city of Waterloo. With a population of 10,161 as per the 2016 Canadian census, Elmira is a vibrant community known for its rich history and cultural diversity. The region is home to the largest population of Old Order Mennonites in Canada, who can often be seen using traditional horse and buggy transportation.

The Historical Journey of Elmira, Ontario

The land that now forms Woolwich Township, including Elmira, originally belonged to the Huron Nation, then to the Mohawk Nation. The first European settlers arrived in the late 18th century, with William Wallace being one of the first after he was deeded a large tract of land on the Grand River. The area was named "Woolwich" after Woolwich in England.

In 1806, Wallace sold a major portion of his land to Mennonites from Pennsylvania, marking the beginning of a significant Mennonite presence in the area. The village of Elmira was settled in 1832 by Henry Christman and Edward Bristow, with the community being renamed to Elmira in 1853.

Elmira's growth was marked by the arrival of the railway in the late 1800s, which led to the opening of furniture manufacturing and other industries. The town was incorporated in 1923, and in 1973, it became the administrative centre of Woolwich Township under the newly formed Regional Municipality of Waterloo.

Elmira, Ontario: A Hub of Education and Local Information

Elmira is home to several schools, including John Mahood Public School, Riverside Public School, St. Teresa RC, Park Manor Senior Public School, and Elmira District Secondary School. The Elmira Library, a branch within the Region of Waterloo Library system, offers various programs throughout the year.

The Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira, Ontario

The Woolwich Memorial Centre is the township's state-of-the-art facility, featuring two NHL-sized ice surfaces, two pools, a fitness centre, and a walking track. The facility also includes a community centre, seniors centre, youth centre, and offices for minor sports teams.

Transportation in Elmira, Ontario

Old Order Mennonites in buggies are a regular sight in Elmira. Grand River Transit bus service was introduced in 2009, and in 2018, Kiwanis Transit launched a free shuttle bus service throughout the town. The Waterloo Central Railway's tourist train also serves the town. Elmira is an entry point for the Kissing Bridge Trailway, a popular route for walking, cycling, running, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival: A Sweet Tradition in Elmira, Ontario

Each spring, Elmira hosts the world's largest Maple Syrup festival, attracting tens of thousands of people. The festival features sugar bush tours, a craft show, a half-mile long outdoor mall, and the Mayor's Maple Syrup contest. The festival was started as a way to promote the spring delicacy and the proceeds go to support local charitable organizations.