We arrived in this small town of 19,300 late morning and hungry. The historic 1822 Fergus
General Store on the town's main street was alive with the sound of dining chit chat. We ordered freshly made sandwiches, took a seat at the front of the building and people watched. My Neptune Beach Tuna Melt and Ellen's Atlantic Beach Chicken Salad on pecan raison bread were excellent. With tea and a robust cup of coffee both meals were under $20.00.
After lunch we spent time exploring the fascinating store, noting the original tin ceiling. Covering the walls were fake rusty metal signs that advertised items such as, "Lovely day for a Guinness" and "Orange County Choppers." Shelves in the store were bulging
with Bozo Poppers, classic tin toys and big top spinners and a wide variety of hot sauces.
We went outside and walked along the street before checking into The Breadalbane Inn where we had reservations for the evening. At the Scottish Shop, I asked owner Heather Elsley why such a store featuring Scottish items. She explained, "This town was founded about 175 years ago by Scots who constructed many of our heritage buildings from the surrounding natural limestone. And plenty of their descendants still live here." The store sells custom kilts made in Scotland, Tartan ties, scarves and myriad gifts,
British foods/meats, sweets and baking supplies. It was a coincidence that we had arrived on November 30th, St. Andrews Day, Scotland's national day when Scots throughout the world celebrate their culture and traditional food. We joined the celebration by purchasing a can of Barr's Irn Bru (pop in a tin) and a bag of cheese and onion crisps (chips).
We like to read so
The Bookery and Celtic Shoppe on the other side of the street was a nice find where we each picked up a book for evening reading. By 3 pm we checked into the Breadalbane Inn at 487 St. Andrew Street West. It felt homey because it was once the actual house of George D. Fergusson, one of Fergus' founders. Originally a small cottage built in 1874, over the years, it was expanded and renovated to accommodate 12 individually styled guest rooms.
We read a bit and then in the early evening headed to the inn's lovely glass enclosed solarium for a scrumptious meal prepared by Executive Chef Mark Brown. He recently placed fourth in all of Canada at the Hawksworth Young Chefs Challenge held in Vancouver.
After dinner and before we tucked in for the night we walked to the nearby
Mulligan footbridge, where we saw a colourful new lighting display of the Grand River rapids and whirlpool. Sleep came easy that night.
In the morning, breakfast was served in the solarium (included in the price of the room). The menu featured five different items, three of them - toasted brioche with pear poche-grille, open omelet of potato, egg white and Gaspe Peninsula caught shrimp or honeyed yogurt parfait with bee pollen. However, we both settled for good old bacon and eggs with home fries and toast. They were delicious.
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, the Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.
(2011 population 19,126) is the largest community in Centre Wellington, a township within Wellington County in Ontario, Canada. It lies on the Grand River about 25 km north of Guelph.
Fergus is best known for the annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games, held in August. The games represent the largest gathering of clans in the world outside of Scotland and Cape Breton Island. Competitions are held for music, dancing and 'heavy' events such as the caber toss. A 10 km (6.21 mi) run is also contested.
It also is home to North America's largest truck-show that is held every July, and the Fergus fall fair in September.
St Andrew Street runs parallel to the Grand River on the north side and is the heart of downtown. On the south side of the river is Queen Street where the newly renovated Fergus Market can be found.