FERGUS ONTARIO. In a word, beautiful.
When you enter this charming little town, it’s almost as if you’ve been transported to another time and place. I suppose the obvious correlation would be that you have entered a small Scottish village, rich in character, history, and natural charm.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of visiting Fergus, it’s a trip that’s definitely worth making. If you have been lucky enough to spend time amongst its people and places, you know it’s impossible to not want to keep coming back.
Amongst all the lovely things that there are to see, there are also many things to do! The downtown core, with all its lovely shops and services, are essential not only to the tourism of the town, but also to the success of the community itself.
The Fergus BIA has worked very hard, and continues to do so, to create an experience for everyone to enjoy. An experience that is unique, assorted, and surrounded by the beauty of the Niagara Escarpment, as is described on their website; “Downtown Fergus offers a wide range of products and services to meet every need, whether it be the perfect gift, a great pub or restaurant, specialty chocolates or baking, or just satisfying a curious window shopper’s whim. Ample free parking and public rest rooms are available, as are two Tourist Information Centres. Fergus, Ontario is a historic town comfortably nestled on the banks of the Grand River. Experience the rich heritage and the charming Scottish atmosphere as you stroll our streets. Follow our self-guided Walking Tour and visit symbols of local history still standing strong amid a bustling rural setting.”
Something important to note, and critical to understand to enjoy this dynamic town, is that there will be some roadwork closures that will begin in January 2018. The significance here is that the work is being done to one of their main bridges, the St. David Street bridge, which is located on one of the main arteries in to, and out of town. It was not so long ago, that the town had construction closures taking place on their other bridge, the Tower Street bridge, which had a significant impact on the downtown core, and most importantly, the hard-working business owners and staff who depend on the constant “ease of flow” in and out of the downtown core. While understanding the requirements of repair and construction that the Tower Street bridge required, the business owners were nevertheless significantly impacted, and many were subjected to the impending possibility of having to close their business.
Fast forward to 2018, and this new construction project to the St. David Street bridge, comes with many lessons learned from the past. The Fergus BIA, who have also created a “Bridge Committee”, is very committed to ensuring that the community, and all its visitors, still have a pleasant experience, and that shoppers do not have to change any of their retail and service habits, they’ll just have to factor in “a few minutes more”, to continue to enjoy all the incredible places the downtown core has to offer. It’s also important to note, that there are several alternate routes available, that will assist in getting around the construction zones.
Having visited this town on many occasions myself on very busy summer days, getting through this lovely town is pretty easy, even with increased traffic due to the “Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games”, and “Riverfest”, to name just a couple of significant events. Truthfully, a few extra minutes added to our trip made no difference at all. Spending extra time to enjoy the pleasures of eating, shopping, listening to music, admiring artisans, and meeting some extraordinary people, is something my family and I look forward too.
As for the small business owners, many who have been a fixture on main street for generations, as well as new ones looking to take root in this lovely community, the patronage of visitors is essential to keeping the downtown core in Fergus vibrant and successful. This in turn is essential in keeping the community prosperous and beautiful, just as it has been for many, many years.
Written by: Kelli M. Maddocks | Photography: Cory Bruyea
Resources: Elora & Fergus Tourism