Three unique self-directed tour information and maps for cyclists, day-trippers, heritage enthusiasts, local residents, and visitors to the Region are listed below. The tours range from 73km to 130km in length and can take from 2 - 4 hours to drive. Tour highlights include heritage buildings, landmarks, historic settlements, beautiful views, scenic roads, hiking trails, historic bridges, and natural heritage areas.
1. Historical driving tours through Woolwich Township to view Mennonite farms, creeks, rivers and bridges
2. Scenic drive along the Grand River
Countryside Tours with a Step-on Guide
To schedule a Countryside Tour, call 519-669-6000.
You will meet your step-on guide in Elmira and your tour will take you through an area where most of the farms are owned by Old Order Mennonites. Many use horses to do their farm work, and it is possible to see a 5-horse hitch with a man walking behind ploughing in the fields. The tour passes through some of Woolwich's district communities and your guide will point out Mennonite buggy bridges used as shortcuts by horse-drawn vehicles.
Your guide will explain the history of the area, and of the Mennonite religion. You will see the plain church buildings used by the Old Order Mennonites and learn about their Sunday services - why they have five entrance doors, how a minister is chosen, seating arrangements, and when the building is used.
You will learn all about the everyday lifestyle of the Old Order Mennonite, their courtship and weddings. You will pass one-room parochial schools and learn about the education of the children. You will discover how the Old Order Mennonite people are able to maintain their numbers and keep their young people from leaving this way of life.
In West Montrose you will get off the coach and have the opportunity to walk across the West Montrose Covered Bridge, also known as the Kissing Bridge. The Kissing Bridge has a 198' span across the Grand River, and was built in 1881.
Tour Grand River Country
Grand River Country, in the heart of Southwestern Ontario, encompasses colourful, historic communities and dynamic outdoor adventures along the 300 kilometre Grand River, a Canadian Heritage River, and its tributaries. Twelve Grand River Conservation Authority parks and hundreds of kilometres of trails provide a place to enjoy the great outdoors. The cities and picturesque villages in Grand River Country are great places to soak in the history, enjoy unique museums and find that one-of-a-kind gift.