By Harry Behn

Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
When ghouls and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It’s Halloween.

In Ontario, Canada there is a little village called Elora.  In recent years Elora has seen a wonderful transformation as concerned residents fought to save their old, stone built village and traditional homes from the ravages of time.  It’s taken quite a number of years or hard work, but now this tiny little village in the Central Ontario farm belt is enjoying quite a renaissance.  The beautiful old buildings have been preserved, the houses are lovingly maintained and the main street is now bustling with eclectic shops, gallery’s and cafe’s.

Artists moved in to the area, drawn by the scenic beauty of the setting along the rivers Grand and Irvine, which created the Elora gorge, now a country park.  Their works, ranging from jewelery, ceramics, sculpture and paintings can be purchased in the local galleries.  Most weekends the little village is buzzing with tourists who have injected much needed dollars into the local economy, and the village has been quick to capitalize on it’s new found status as an arty/scenic/touristy destination, but they’ve done so in a manner to keep their feet on the ground and with a nod to the history and heritage of the place.  You won’t find garish street signs, theme parks and outdoor adventure playgrounds here.

Instead, they highlight the seasons, the Scottish heritage, the beautiful old buildings, the stunning walks and waterfalls, family days out like they used to be and many festivals over the year with an emphasis on local produce, local artists and the natural beauty of rural Ontario.

Perhaps one of the most well known celebrations in Elora is the Fall Festival, which runs through October and encompasses Halloween.  Most of the stores seem to take part, with each one decorating outside and inside their shops.  The Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Centre co-ordinate everything and decorate the public spaces with mainly fall themed displays of pumpkins, scarecrows, hay bales and flowers.

There is, however, one exception to all this cuteness and coziness that Elora has become even more famous for, and that is the Halloween sculptures of local artist Tim Murton.  Tim’s work is available for sale in the village and at other galleries around Canada, he’s a painter of very beautiful, photo realistic, scenic pictures, but every year, he also creates the most amazing, spooky and ghoulish sculptures that are dotted around the village.  I haven’t seen them personally and I can’t find any info on them, but they appear to be made from papier mache and wire, and despite the creepiness of them, each one is an absolute work of art.  They truly are stunning, I was amazed when I first stumbled across these photos on the internet whilst looking for pictures of Ontario in general.  I’d love to go and see them for myself, maybe I will try to persuade A to take a trip next year.  What do you think?  Creepy or fun?  Personally I absolutely adore them, but they are very creepy at the same time, but perhaps, that’s just the genius of the artist who made them?

These photos were all taken by a very talented man by the name of Michael G.  More of his photos of Elora, including both the village/area and Tim Murtons “monsters” can be found here, and be sure to look at his other galleries, they really very good.  This is the website of the Elora Chamber of Commerce, if you’d like more information about the area.