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