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East of Mount Forest is a place you hear well before you see. As Ontario’s fastest-growing town, sleepy Shelburne is abuzz with the sounds of an old town getting new blood. Then August hits and the hammers get replaced with the fiddles and guitars of the Heritage Music Festival, sizzling roast beef dinners, and the sweet toe-tapping from one of Ontario’s last true old-time barn dances. But what you hear more than anything else, in Shelburne, is community.

Founded: 1879 shelburne

Population: 6,500

Km from Toronto: 103

This authentic farming community keeps two important historical traditions very much alive: the Heritage Music Festival (formerly The Shelburne Fiddle Fest) is one of the last iconic rural music events, including a magical barn dance; the Shelburne Fall Fair gives you pie contests, tractor races, and a trip back in time. Both are ridiculously a!ordable.

IMPORTANT: When entering or leaving the Fair by car, avoid the Demolition Derby.


The Town of Shelburne, located in the centre of Dufferin County, has a rich and unique history. The settlement of Melancthon Township began in late 1840 and by the 1860s, settlers had moved into the Shelburne area. In 1865 William Jelly, who was one of the community’s earliest inhabitants, established the British-Canadian Hotel which is commonly known as Jelly’s Tavern. In 1877 Shelburne officially became a town.

Today the town is a popular tourist destination, offering a wide range of overnight and longer-term accommodations including bed and breakfasts and full-scale conference and spa facilities. The town is also a popular destination due to the annual Canadian open old-time fiddle championship held by the Rotary Club of Shelburne.

If you are thinking of visiting the town be sure to take some time to cycle or hike on one of the interesting trails in the area. Camping is available in such parks as Mono Cliffs and Hockley Valley Provincial Park, and smaller conservation areas and municipal sites can be found throughout the area. Relax and enjoy the scenery and atmosphere that can only be offered by the picturesque Niagara Escarpment! Click here for a map.