Well, we made it to the halfway point! And I finally made it out to Elora, Ontario. A location I’ve wanted to include in the project since the first couple of months of 2021. But things kept getting in the way and it had to be pushed back. But I wasn’t going to let it happen again and while my client shoot had to be pushed back, I still wanted to make sure to include the historic village anyways! Of course, the day I went the weather was not exactly ideal, but I’ve never let a bit of rain or overcast skies stop me and despite the bad weather I managed to get in and out without any major rainfall and I actually enjoyed the surreal almost ethereal images I ended up capturing.

Foma:52 - Week 26 - The Gorge
The Elora Mill Inn & Spa is the original 1832 Gilkinson Mill and equally iconic to the village.
Nikon FM – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Ilford Ilfotec HC (1+79) 12:00 @ 20C

Some 10,000 years ago retreating glaciers carved a deep gorge in the limestone forming the Grand River to tumble down forming an iconic waterfall that many still enjoy today. The first humans to see this natural beauty were the Attawandaron, part of the former Neutral Confederacy before fleeing or being killed in the final destructive invasion by the southern Iroquois in the final days of a European encouraged conflict we know as the Beaver Wars of 1651. Jesuit missionary diaries made mention of these peoples and archaeological digs found remains of a village further east nearer to Guelph. By 1784, the Haliamand Procilimation granted the land to Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant) and the Mohawks of the Six Nations for their service to the Crown during the French & Indian War and American Revolutionary War. Sadly, like most dealings with the Indigenous peoples, the Crown was not always straight forward and in years following the War of 1812, a new survey completed in 1821 by Thomas Rideout put the northern line of the Haldimand Tract south of The Falls, despite efforts and proof the land ended up being surveyed and sold to Captain William Gilkinson some 14,000 acres as part of his service as Assistant Quartermaster General during the War of 1812. Gilkinson arrived in 1832 and began to lay out a townsite plan and built a sawmill using the mighty falls as a power source and a general store. Gilkinson gave the name Elora to the area, named for the Ellora Caves in India. The work of laying out the town fell to Charles Allan and Andrew Geddes. By 1846, the small settlement had a population of 100 people, two mills, two churches, a store, and a distillery. Most of these functions centred around the Elora Mill originally built by Captain Gilkinson. But the spectacular waterfalls in the area were also noted. By 1848, lots were up for sale and by 1858 the settlement incorporated as a village. It quickly grew, becoming known for its marketplace for local agricultural products and mills other manufacturing moved in through the 1860s and by 1870 in addition to several mills furniture and carpet factory, it was home to 1,500 people. Through the 1880s and 1890s, some rudimentary hydroelectric generation was installed at the main Elora Mill. One of the area’s main draws remained the gorge and the waterfall and an outcropping known as The Tooth of Time or Islet Rock. In March 1903 a whole section of the mill fell away, the mill wall now blocking a whole section of the river that flowed past the Tooth. The mill owner, George T. Fergusson, blamed the Tooth for the collapse, and many of the townsfolk were in favour of his plan to destroy the Tooth. It should be noted that the Tooth had already become a tourist spot for the village. The only thing that saved the tooth was the cost of the dynamite. Instead, the rubble cleared and the area around the Tooth reinforced. Surprisingly even when Ontario Hydro set up a hydroelectric generating dam in 1914 the Tooth survived. Elora remained a backroad village and never achieved any further incorporation and today sits as an unincorporated place and administrative centre for Wellington Centre. But well worth a visit because of the surviving 19th Century buildings, the beautiful gorge not to mention an excellent craft brewery and distillery in the village today! Although this is not without controversy as land remains unceded under the 1784 Haldiman Proclamation, but at the core is the original documents versus the 1821 Rideout Survey, sadly the only physical evidence is the Rideout Survey.

Foma:52 - Week 26 - The Gorge
The former Elora Drill Hall, the only surviving rural drill hall that was among those raised during the Trent Affair that nearly sparked a war between England and the Northern United States during the American Civil War.
Nikon FM – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Ilford Ilfotec HC (1+79) 12:00 @ 20C
Foma:52 - Week 26 - The Gorge
A surviving memorial to the original Pratt Truss Bridge that was recently replaced across the Grand River.
Nikon FM – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Ilford Ilfotec HC (1+79) 12:00 @ 20C

When you visit a location that you’re fond of it is hard to pick only seven frames. Thankfully I ended up with a lot of images to choose from despite the weather. I’m honestly surprised at how well Fomapan 100 took the terrible conditions. Ultimately I went with the ones that had the best exposure and best composition and looked interesting and could tell an interesting story. The biggest waffling I had was for the featured image, the two icons either the Elora Mill or the Tooth of Time, I’m rather fond of both images. But when I saw the reflection of the mill on the Grand River that sold as the featured image. But I still included my shot of the Tooth of Time mainly because I lugged the 105mm specifically to capture that icon. My digital shot from the day turned out excellent as well! From there I picked out other locations, such as a surviving 1865 drill hall, one of the few reminders in Canada of the disastrous Trent Affair along with a memorial to the 1950s Pratt Truss Bridge that was recently replaced. Then my always favourite the Elora Post Office and the newly (well not so new) Elora Distillery Co, which produces equally excellent products as the Elora Brewing Co.

Foma:52 - Week 26 - The Gorge
One of my favourite scenes to shoot in Elora, a small iron gate set in a stone wall. Rather European don’t you think?
Nikon FM – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Ilford Ilfotec HC (1+79) 12:00 @ 20C
Foma:52 - Week 26 - The Gorge
The Ancient Tooth of time, and a witness to the many changes through the area.
Nikon FM – AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Ilford Ilfotec HC (1+79) 12:00 @ 20C

With rain in the forecast, I had the initial desire to keep things simple and decided to only take my 50mm f/1.4 lens, no filter this week I needed to have all the speed I could muster if the clouds made things too dark. And having no desire to under-expose the film I shot Fomapan 100 at box speed of ASA-100. But after seeing I had a decent window of light in the morning I ended up backing a pair of additional lenses the 28mm as there are some excellent landscape opportunities and some of the streets and spaces in the downtown area too narrow for the 50mm. But I also threw in the 105mm lens as I wanted to get close to a couple of waterfalls and a wide and normal lens wouldn’t cut it. As I developed this roll at the same time as last week’s roll development again was Ilfotec HC at 1+79, and the results speak for themselves. While Ilfotec HC isn’t a dedicated compensating developer, at more dilute mixtures it certainly takes on compensating qualities and made the images super smooth despite the bad weather and dim conditions.

Foma:52 - Week 26 - The Gorge
The Elora Distilling Co. is one of the newest arrivals to the thriving craft distilling industry growing in Ontario.
Nikon FM – AI Nikkor 28mm 1:3.5 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Ilford Ilfotec HC (1+79) 12:00 @ 20C
Foma:52 - Week 26 - The Gorge
The historic Elora Post Office, while newer it still operates as a Canada Post Office today.
Nikon FM – AI Nikkor 28mm 1:3.5 – Fomapan 100 @ ASA-100 – Ilford Ilfotec HC (1+79) 12:00 @ 20C

From rural to urban as we head into Ontario’s steel city, being Hamilton, Ontario and the downtown core!

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