Friday, 12 June 2015

Field Trip Friday - Fergus

As part of our 2015 Summer of Doing Manifesto; Explore Wellington County, we had an adventure day on Saturday June 6th.  First stop, Fergus.

Fergus Facts: it is the largest community in Centre Wellington, a township within Wellington County. Population: 19,130 (2011).  Fergus lies on the Grand River about 25 km north of Guelph. The first settlers to this area were freed slaves who formed what was known as the Pierpoint Settlement, named after their leader, Richard Pierpoint.  In 1833, just a quarter mile from the Pierpoint settlement, Little Falls was established by Adam Fergusson. Along with fellow Scot James Webster, he purchased 7,000 acres (2,832.80 ha) (28 km²) of uncleared land in Nichol Township and laid out the town of Fergus. Fergusson and Webster both emigrated from the lowlands of Scotland, and were both Advocates by profession. Webster took up residence here and supervised the settlement's early development.  
Each August, Fergus hosts The Highland Games and Scottish Festival which attracts over 30.000 visitors. The games represent the largest gathering of clans in the world outside of Scotland and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (Canada). · Text under CC-BY-SA license 

The Little Falls as they are now, a little worn down from time. 

We have been to Fergus many times but never really spend time looking around through tourist eyes.  While walking through downtown Fergus on a Saturday morning, we were quite surprised at the late opening times of 11:00am for many of the shops.  While it is still early in the season for the farmer’s market or the tourist trade, it made it difficult to browse in any shops.  We also noticed that there were many shops empty of any trade – sad as I do remember Fergus as a hustle bustle town.   Of the shops that were still in trade, many had very pretty and over flowing window baskets.  Purple and yellow pansies seemed to be the standard.

We wandered through the Templin Gardens, improved and maintained by the Fergus Horticultural Society.  As the gardens are stepped alongside the Grand River, it gave a really pretty view of the river, which was flowing freely after several days of heavy rain.  There were a few fishermen testing their lines from the stairs, which would have been great photos for two years ago SPSH (Fisherman), but today made it cumbersome to travel up and down the stairs.

We checked out the rebuilt Fergus Library.  The front of the building maintains the old charm of originality, complete with the carving of a Scottish dancer near the main entrance(stock photo).  The addition at the back of the building is a little more current in style, but still in keeping with the surroundings.  There is a balcony for patrons do a little sit and read.

We walked past the refurbished Grand Theatre.  We have seen a couple of plays in there with the local theatre troupe.  I don’t remember the seats as comfortable but I do know that the talent was fantastic. Umm,  need to check out what is currently playing to make a return visit.

Fergus has two well known elements of their Scottish heritage; the bag piper sign at each city entrance.  My favourite welcome sign is coming from the east along Wellington Road 18.  This one is 3D and quite detailed. The others are flat painted pipers.

 The other notable is the Scottish Warrior statue, who’s official name is George Fergusson, The Defender of Blairgowrie, named after the brother of one of the co-founders of Fergus, who once resided in the Breadalbane building, which is now a restaurant.  The statue was carved in 2005/06 by Nick and Sean Kosonic from the trunk of a mighty but dying, 200 year old maple tree.  They used the creation as a fundraiser for the Fergus Groves Memorial Hospital. For $200 or more you may have your name permanently placed on the 'Shield of Honour', carried on George's back. (no photo).

This year as part of the doing, we have tickets for all three days of the Scottish Festival in August and we are looking forward to a return wandering visit to Fergus.


  1. A lovely, historic town. How lucky am I that now I get to see it too! I'm amazed it has such a big library. (Please note I am also looking forward to the Scottish Festival. Hint, hint!)

  2. Our county library system has been re-doing & expanding most of the buildings, it is nice to see the respect shown with design to the local existing buildings. Oh there will be plaid posting in August! I am determined to capture the fling in mid flung!

  3. What a nice idea to have a summer of doing - nice to see the historic buildings as well as the new.

    1. I like that the town planners are working to blend the old with the new. So far our Summer Of Doing has us off the patio more this month than we have been in years! It can only be a good thing :) Thank you for dropping by to visit Missus Wookie.