The Flying Leap Bed and Breakfast
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Listed in the "Top 150 Unusual Things to See in Ontario" (5th Edition 2016) by Ron Brown, the Elora Gorge is a 2 kilometer long canyon more than 20 meters deep with many stunning and unique natural features.
To the right is a photo of the Drimmie Mill, built in 1859 overlooking the Grand River Falls. Its limestone walls rise to 100 feet and are 5 feet thick at the foundations. It's one of the few five-story grist mills still standing and twice survived major fires. In the 1970s it was converted into the Elora Mill Inn, while today it awaits rebirth as an inn and convention center to re-open in 2018.
Below is the wee island known as the "Tooth of Time", weathered by the pounding waters of the Grand. The Mill, Falls and islet are only a short 10 minute walk from our B&B.
The Village of Elora is a unique blend of unusual architecture, high-end shops and one-of-a-kind eateries. It's easy to spend a day finding hidden gems, whether they be fossils found in the gurgling waters of the Irvine River or artistic marvels in one of the shops.
Turn the corner from the Mermaid in Elora shop on Metcalfe and you'll find these painted doors on Church Street, so often photographed they've become an Elora landmark!
Here's our version, with Merlin and Willow posing with the doors.
copyright Carl Chalupa on all images with a white frame
Calm beauty at the canoe launch, Grand River just below the Falls.
If Autumn colors excite you...
...Elora has spectacular Fall foliage! The weekends around our October Thanksgiving seem to have the best displays of magnificent, glorious color. Come see for yourself! But if spooks and specters draw you out of your cozy den to explore the countryside, late October lures the demons and the rest of the Twilight Zoo out to play!
October's energy gives way to preparations for the upcoming Holiday season, with special fairs and late night shopping events, and then the quieter season of Winter with its stunning natural beauty...
The stone stairs down into the Gorge, from Victoria Park, in early winter.
Looking towards the Elora Gorge trail; the trail begins to the left of the Irvine River bridge (David Street).
The view from Lover's Leap, looking up the Grand River.
Our neighbour, just a 15 minute drive along the Grand River, is the village of Fergus which also has a lot to offer.
Here's the view of the Grand from one of Fergus' many bridges.
Any time of year, there's something happening in and around Elora, including unique annual events like our Horse and Hound Parade:
The Horse and Hound Parade, October 5th, 2014
(photos with a white frame by Toronto photographer Carl Chalupa)
Take a look at our Pinterest collection of photos!
Also see our gorgeous videos on YouTube.
Our house is also your hostess and an undeniably large part of your bed and breakfast experience. An old house has a great deal of character, a soul all its own, and many layers of stories to tell. Here are just the bones:
The house was built by John Gibb in 1891 for Dr. William Robertson (1865 - 1941) and his wife Florence (1875? - 1930), and he used it not only as his home but also his office. As a surgeon he was an important member of Elora's growing community, giving "over 50 years of self-sacrificing service to the Elora Community" (as inscribed on his tombstone located in the Elora Cemetery). His daughter, Marion (1898-1944), became the wife of Dr. Frederick Banting (who discovered insulin with his colleague Dr. Charles Best). They were married in 1924 and suffered through a sensational divorce in 1932.
You can read about Dr. Robertson's treatment of a neighbour's child suffering from polio by clicking here.
Many original features dating from the Robertson's time are still present and in use, such as the lighting fixtures in the guest rooms and hallway, the pine floors, crown molding, baseboards, etc...
On March 29, 1941, Dr. Robertson died in the house at the age of 76 "after a long illness" and on September 3rd, 1942, the house was won at auction for $3000 by the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of the Diocene of Hamilton. The St. Mary's Catholic Church (located at 267 Geddes and built in 1870) used the house as the Notre Dame Convent from 1942 into the 1970s, and neighbours tell us that the parlour served as a chapel!
At the back of the house an addition was built to serve as a school room until 1954 for the children who couldn't be accommodated in the school across the street from the church. The school room door was the red door off David Street and a 4-seater outhouse in the backyard was used by the students (it's still there but it's now a shed).
These children were photographed in 1951 on the three front steps of the house, before the sun room was created.
In the 1970s the Harmer family lived here, Jack and Shirley with their two children Roxanne and Kent. We know little about their time here but Shirley did use the school room first as a playroom for the children and then as a shop to sell her quilts, with the red door off David serving as the shop entrance.
In 1976 the house was purchased by Professor Kenneth Hewitt (a well-known geologist) who, with his wife Professor Farida Hewitt, raised four girls here. Prof. Hewitt is the author of the book Elora Gorge: a Visitor's Guide which is an interesting read about the formation, geology and sights of the Gorge (a copy is available here at the house for you to enjoy).
When the family moved back to Toronto, the house was purchased in 2004, renovated and opened in 2006 as "Wiggit Hall", a guest house named after a beloved cat of one of the owners. From 2008 onward it appeared on the market a number of times. Wiggit Hall closed in 2012 and the house was used as a private residence for two years. Locals and art collectors might best know this time period for the art exhibits held in the house showcasing Tim Murton's incredible paintings.
When you're on the second floor, take a moment to look up, way up. These light fixtures were among the first in Elora as Dr. Robertson early on enjoyed having electricity in his home and office, useful for his profession! As you'll see, the actual bulbs are exposed and the beautiful floral shapes of the fixtures celebrate the magical electric light bulb.
In May 2014, while hunting for a B&B and a new life adventure, we saw 249 Geddes Street on the market and realized we'd slept there in October 2012 when we took part in Elora's Monster Month! It felt like home, there was a jumping (leaping!) metal dog on the front door and we knew this was the one for us. And now the story continues with you, our guests!
The Flying Leap Bed and Breakfast
226-369-0376 or karen[at]theflyingleap.com
Taking the Leap!