Wellington County Museum

Top choice in Southwestern Ontario

A National Historic Site midway between Fergus and Elora, this austere, red-roofed former 'Poor House' provided refuge for the aged and homeless for almost a century before becoming a museum in 1957. Historical and local modern-art exhibits extending through 12 galleries display an obvious pride in local history and current culture. The centerpiece is the 'If These Walls Could Speak' exhibit, which examines the lives of those who lived or worked there.

A museum trail takes visitors on a self-guided tour of the grounds, including the barn and cemetery. A worthwhile stop.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southwestern Ontario attractions

1. Elora Quarry Conservation Area

0.84 MILES

A short walk east of Elora, this superb swimming hole offers seemingly bottomless waters and 12m limestone cliffs. Hormone-fueled teens plummet from great…

2. Elora Gorge Conservation Area

2.73 MILES

About 2km south of Elora is this photo-worthy plunging limestone canyon through which the Grand River seethes. Easy walks extend to cliff views, caves and…

3. Guelph Civic Museum

12.71 MILES

Housed in what was originally an 1854 sandstone convent and extensively transformed in 2012, this attractive museum has attained LEED (Leadership in…

4. Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate

12.74 MILES

Lording over downtown Guelph is the dominant stone-faced bulk of this basilica and church in the Gothic Revival–style (think England's Houses of…

5. The Mennonite Story

13.16 MILES

This interpretive center offers a deep dive into the fascinating world of the Mennonites – their history of persecution and dispersal around the world,…

6. Art Gallery of Guelph

13.85 MILES

More than 7000 works belong to the collection exhibited here in the Raymond Moriyama–designed galleries specializing in Inuit and Canadian art. The Donald…

7. University of Guelph Arboretum


Modeled after the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, this stunning microcosm of flora and fauna has 8.2km of paths traversing 165 hectares of…

8. St Jacobs Farmers Market

14.71 MILES

This quintessential country market 3km south of town has an earthy soul, and a shiny new face after renovations in 2015 replaced a building gutted by fire…