Making a splash: memories of the Fergus swimming pool

Join us in the Aboyne Room at the Wellington County Museum at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 21 for the presentation “Making a Splash: Memories of The Fergus Swimming Pool”.

Our guest presenter will be Brad Halls, who combines his interest in local history with a personal connection to the Pool and its history. Brad was born in Fergus, and was an award winning competitive swimmer at the Pool in the 1960s, and also a swimming instructor, lifeguard and Swim Team coach during the same period. He returned to live in Fergus in 2012 after living and practising law in Cobourg, Ontario for more than 35 years, and has enjoyed renewing connections with the history of his home area.

Built in 1930 by Beatty Bros. Limited, and managed by that company for the following three decades, the Fergus Swimming Pool was a focal centre of summer recreation for generations of area residents, both young and old. The pool was the place where children learned to swim, where competitive swimmers trained for national championships, and where summer memories were made for those of all ages. Donated by the Beatty Bros. company to the Town of Fergus in 1961, the Pool continued to operate for another three decades until a variety of factors, including the construction of a year-round indoor pool at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex led to its closure.

Renew your own nostalgic memories of “The Pool” during this presentation, which will include 60 years of photographs of The Pool and the many personalities who managed, worked and swam there.

Contact Nikki Logan at or 519-787-5243 to register for this event.

Newly discovered book manuscript by Stephen Thorning

The Wellington County Historical Society needs your help to bring it to the world!

Make your tax-deductible donation by sending a cheque to the Wellington County Historical Society, P.O. Box 5, Fergus, ON N1M 2W7 or donate online to the Stephen Thorning Book Publication Project at Canada Helps.

Armed with an insatiable curiosity about the village he called home, renowned local historian, Stephen Thorning, began researching and writing the history of Elora in the late 1970s.

Having traced its development as a planned community in the 1830s to its growth as an industrial centre in the 1920s, he set aside the unfinished manuscript for over thirty years.

In that time, Thorning earned first a Masters degree then a PhD in History, and served on Village Council. But he is most well-known for his weekly column, “Valuing our History,” delving into the events and characters of Wellington County’s past, and cementing his reputation as its most prolific historian.

Rediscovered after he passed away in 2015, Stephen Thorning’s meticulously-researched manuscript is now in the hands of the Wellington County Historical Society. We need your help to bring it to the world!

The Model Village

A model of 19th-century town-planning, of village qualities, and a model for other towns to emulate, Thorning explains how for Victorians, Elora was planned, promoted, and understood as: The Model Village.

Turning his eye to 19th-century urban development in southwestern Ontario, Stephen Thorning examines the interconnectedness of politics, industry, government, and economics in shaping the evolution of a small village with large aspirations.

It reveals how world events, optimism, ingenuity, and egos propelled and, at times, thwarted the development of the Model Village.

For more information about the project contact Kathy Bouma: 519.843.7703