Elora Gorge Conservation Area - Elora ON (Canada)
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Bon Echo
N 43° 40.349 W 080° 26.702
17T E 544737 N 4835647
Quick Description: A plaque describing the grand opening of the Elora Gorge Conservation Area in 1954
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date Posted: 6/11/2013 10:10:11 AM
Waymark Code: WMH9HD
Views: 11

Long Description:
This plaque commemorates the grand opening of the Elora Gorge Conservation Area, a recreation park located just outside of Elora Ontario.
The plaque reads:
July 24, 1954
This plaque is erected to commemorate the Official Opening of the Elora Gorge Conservation Area on July 24, 1954. On that date, Elora Gorge became the first in a series of areas dedicated to public use and recreation by the Grand Valley Conservation Authority. Guided by the initiative of Mrs. Katharine A. Marsion, Chairman of the Recreation Advisory Board, a total of 300 acres was assembled, encompassing the gorge along the Grand and Irvine Rivers, an area of geological significance, unique in Southern Ontario. Officiating at the opening were the Hon. W.E. Hamilton, Minister of Reform Institutions, and Garfield Disher, Chairman of the Grand Valley Conservation Authority.

About the Elora Gorge Conservation Area:
The Elora Gorge is one of the most beautiful and spectacular natural area in the Grand River valley. The Grand River rushes through the gorge, which has 22-metre high cliffs. Riverside trails (with safety barriers) and scenic overlooks provide hikers with stunning views of the water far below where kayakers and tubers make their way through the rapids. (source: www.grandriver.ca/index/document.cfm?Sec=27&Sub1=124&Sub2=0)

The Gorge Park, which was officially opened on July 24, 1954, was the first park created by the predecessor of the Grand River Conservation Authority. The initial ideas came from members of an informal river improvement group in the 1870s. Using scrounged materials and donations, the volunteers built steps into the gorge and conducted a general cleanup.
One person involved in the effort was David Boyle, a local teacher, who later went on to fame as the provincial archaeologist. Boyle took a passionate interest in the gorge and often took his pupils on expeditions, hunting for fossils and rocks. Yet for all of the beauty and significance of the gorge, and despite many proposals to develop a park, little progress was made during the first half of the 20th century.
Hugh Templin, a Fergus-area editor and writer, actively promoted the park idea during the 1930s and 1940s. Mrs. Kay Marston, an Elora newspaper proprietor, took up the cause and pursued it from a seat on the board of the Grand Valley Conservation Commission. She took it to the board in 1952, and with the support of the local business community, convinced the commission to create the park. The property was acquired in 1953 and within months the marginal farmland along the gorge had been converted into the Elora Gorge Conservation Area.
But that wasn’t the end of the work. During the 1950s the high-level and low-level bridges were constructed. Campgrounds were created in the 1960s. New gatehouses and other buildings were constructed. Additional property was purchased in the 1980s to provide more space for camping. In 1997 the G.R.C.A. offered park visitors a chance to
see the gorge from a whole new vantage point – a tube bobbing along the river from one end of the park to the other.
Over the years, the Elora Gorge Conservation Area has grown into one of the most successful parks in the G.R.C.A. network. It can be a busy place on a summer weekend, with close to 5,000 people camping in the park.
Source: www.grandriver.ca/RiverConferenceProceedings/MurchandWoods.pdf

About W.E. Hamilton:
William Ernest Hamilton (March 15, 1902 – June 8, 1985) was an Ontario political figure. He represented Wellington South in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a Progressive Conservative member from 1945 to 1955. He was born in Guelph, Ontario and studied at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute and the Ontario Agricultural College. He was mayor of Guelph from 1961 to 1962. Hamilton served in the Ontario cabinet as Minister of Reform Institutions from 1949 to 1950 and Minster without Portfolio from 1950 to 1956. He was vice-chairman of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (later Ontario Hydro).
(source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ernest_Hamilton)
What was opened/inaugurated?: Elora Gorge Conservation Area (park)

Who was that opened/inaugurated it?: W.E. Hamilton, Minister of Reform Institutions

Date of the opening/inauguration?: July 24, 1954

Website about the location: [Web Link]

Website about the person: [Web Link]

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MrPirateCat visited Elora Gorge Conservation Area - Elora ON (Canada) 10/2/2013 MrPirateCat visited it