Photo via A History of West Garafraxa Township by Jean F. Hutchinson, page 55
Market Square, once an open area, is now the home of the Memorial Park, Belwood Town Hall, and St. John’s United Church.
The Belwood Town Hall was completed in 1875 after first being built in 1872. It was first used as a drill shed, then a place to hold Fall Fairs, then a place to hold community meetings. It is now used primarily by the Lion’s Club.
The Memorial Park holds a War Memorial dedicated to the soldiers of war. The memorial was first erected in 1919 and marked the named of eleven local men who did not make it home from the Great War. Sadly in 1946, the cenotaph was re-chiseled to include the name of five men from the area who did not return from WWII.
Belwood owes much of its success to the railway. The first train to pass through and stop in Belwood arrived in 1879. The passenger trains were discontinued in 1968 and the whole rail line was abandoned in 1988. The railway was dismantled in 1993 and now offers a 47km walking trail, the Elora Cataract Trail, which takes you from Elora to the Forks of the Credit.
The Belwood School, built before 1872, held classes until 1966 when the school was closed. The Schoolhouse was reopened as a restaurant and inn, but was unfortunately closed in the early 2000s.
St. John’s United Church opened as a Presbyterian church in 1873. The organ, which drove many of the appalled churchgoers away, was installed in 1878 and was replaced by an electric organ nearly a century later.
Maple Park, located beside the church, was a popular place for picnics, and housed a swing set and slide for many years. Recently, a group of mothers called Belwood Kids in Motion attempted to fundraise for a bigger and more active playground. In 2014, they were able to team up with Centre Wellington Council to complete the project.
For more information on the History of Belwood and the surrounding area:
A History of West Garafraxa Township by Jean F. Hutchinson
Wellington County History - Volume 17 by Steve Thorning
Photo via A History of West Garafraxa Township by Jean F. Hutchinson, page 87
Photo via A History of West Garafraxa Township by Jean F. Hutchinson, page 41.
Photo via A History of West Garafraxa Township by Jean F. Hutchinson, page 48.
Belwood Country Market