This mid-19th century chapel is a tiny treasure for weary travelers.
Located across from rolling fields along a fairly desolate stretch of road in the historic “Church Lands” of Puslinch Township, the Ellis chapel is a delightful hidden gem that directly abuts the Cambridge ONroute along the westbound side of Ontario’s Highway 401.
Despite its position in direct proximity to the highway, once visitors cross the tree-lined property boundary into the secret garden-esque lands of the Chapel’s grounds, it’s as if being transported to another realm. The sound of the passing highway traffic becomes strangely muffled and removed by the bucolic greenery of the property.
Constructed on lands donated by Edward Ellis to the Sterling Congregation of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, the Ellis Chapel opened in 1861 and quickly became a central feature of the surrounding Puslinch settlement, holding church services and a non-denominational Sunday school. Though the chapel has stood the test of time, like so many historic structures of yesteryear, use of Ellis Chape diminished and at one point it was abandoned. But all was not lost. The local get-up-and-go attitude of Puslinch residents restored this chapel to its former glory and it has once again re-opened for use.
Today, the Ellis Chapel grounds are a provincial historic site and continue to hold multi-denominational monthly services during the summer. Along with the preserved chapel structure, visitors can see the Dickie Homestead hearthstone, several historic tombstones set into a modern commemoration monument, and a heritage plaque commemorating the history of Puslinch Township and the church.
The Ellis Chapel is a delightful interruption to the hectic pace of highway life and, though easily missed and often overlooked, is well worth a visit. At the very least, the chapel is an ideal location to take a break while traveling.
Know Before You Go
The entrance to Ellis Chapel is facing Ellis Road, but the grounds are also easily accessible from the Highway 401 Westbound ONroute Cambridge North Travel Plaza. Ellis Chapel is a short distance from the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada and Puslinch Lake, a large kettle lake formed by retreating glacier ice melt. Photos are permitted. Public restrooms are available at the ONroute rest stop.
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