Residents, business owners, government officials and media gathered at the historic Elora grist mill in the centre of Elora for the official groundbreaking of a development that will transform not only the banks of the Grand River, but the economic prospects for new tourism in the region.
The project will be comprised of two phases, the first being the heritage restoration of the original Mill and its neighbouring buildings. Scheduled to open in early 2018, the Elora Mill Hotel & Spa will be an intimate, stylish hotel of 30 luxurious suite with stunning views over the Grand River. Equally as impressive will be the views from the restaurant and bar, enclosed in glass and cantilevered over the rushing river below. The spa, surrounded by nature, will be built along the cliff of the gorge and offer guests a wide range of custom designed treatment dedicated to health, wellness and relaxation. The Granary building with rooftop garden will offer inspired settings for destination weddings and corporate retreats.
Phase Two will see the south side of the river developed and linked by a glass-enclosed pedestrian bridge. This second phase will include condominium residences, a retail “village” and additional hotel space.
Together, both phases of the project will take five years and $120 million to complete.
“Our philosophy in approaching this project is all about its sense of place, rooted in the community, inspired by natural beauty and creating a truly authentic guest experience ” said Aaron Ciancone, president of Pearle Hospitality, the company behind the development. “There will be nothing insincere about this design, no exotic themes or mimicking trends, instead we will draw on all that makes this destination distinct throughout the year.
In keeping with the hotel’s philosophy of authenticity, the hotel design will embrace the love of all things local, from curated art and finely crafted furnishings to the classically- inspired innovative restaurant dishes made from selectively sourced ingredients of nearby farms.
Notable too is the project’s serious commitment to environmental sustainability as evidenced by a brand new hydro turbine that will harness the current of the Grand River to create one mega-watt of electricity, enough to power the entire development upon completion.
Elora, Ontario, is a community of 3800 approximately 20 kilometres north of Guelph and 20 kilometres northeast of Kitchener-Waterloo. For years tourists have visited the town to view the picturesque Elora Gorge, with its stunning cliffs and trails. Until now, however, the area has not been able to offer visitors first-class accommodation to elevate their experience.
While Mr. Ciancone feels the responsibility of overseeing such a massive undertaking, he also sees it as a privilege to develop such a singular property as the Elora Mill.
“Bringing something back to life,” he says. “That is what excites me.”