Welcome to Elm Hurst Inn & Spa – a Southwestern Ontario landmark since 1872, and the birthplace of the Canadian commercial cheese industry.
Our agrarian roots
James Harris erected the James Harris Cheese Factory on the grounds of what is now Elm Hurst Inn & Spa in 1865.
One year later, the factory was the birthplace of a 7,300 pound cheese, co-manufactured by local producers to put Ingersoll on the map. The famous ‘Mammoth Cheese’ travelled to exhibitions in Toronto, Sarasota New York, Paris France and London England.
To learn more about the fascinating role the cheese industry played in the early settlement of Oxford County, visit the Ingersoll Cheese & Agricultural Museum located a short drive up the road.
The Harris family later planted commercial apple orchards on our property. In fact, our vaulted buffet room is the original apple shed.
The Harris Family Home
The Elm Hurst mansion restaurant was built in 1872 as the personal residence of James Harris and family. A fine example of the Gothic Revival style, it remained a stately family home for more than a century.
The last Harris heir sold the property in the mid 1970s, and the house was transformed into a popular dining establishment that opened in 1979. An addition was added to the rear of the original structure five years later, with the 49-room Elm Hurst Inn & Spa being built in 1988.
The original 19th-century Carriage House with its rustic wooden beams remains a popular venue for Weddings and Conferences.
Ingersoll and The Underground Railroad
Did you know that the Oxford County communities of Ingersoll, Norwich and Otterville were all final stops on the Underground Railroad – an informal network that helped 19th-century fugitive American slaves reach freedom in Canada? In fact, Ingersoll was home to the third largest black settlement in Upper Canada before Confederation.