Fifth anniversary celebrations held at Grand River Raceway

Grand River Raceway, the Grand River Agri­cultural Society and the OLG Slots at Grand River celebrated its five year anniversary on Dec. 6.

The celebration included a full day of festivities and an an­ni­versary party in the Light­house Restaurant. The after­noon included speeches from society president Paul Walker, raceway General Manager Dr. Ted Clarke, and Centre Well­ington Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj.

Among the 150 guests were representatives from the Rotary Club Of Fergus-Elora, which first partnered with Grand River Raceway in May of 2004 for its monthly bingo fund­raisers.

To date, those bingos have raised over $300,000 for the Groves Hos­pital rede­velop­ment campaign and Centre Wellington Sports­plex in Fer­gus.

Past recipients of the society’s bursary and schol­ar­ship program were on-hand to mark the occasion. Since 2006, the agricultural society has awarded $30,000 to local stud­ents who are entering or en­rolled in college or university agricultural programs.

With more than three milli­on visits since opening, Grand River Raceway has contributed $9-million in non-tax gaming revenue to the local munici­pality. The facility employs more than 250 people with an annual payroll of $1.9-million.

The racing operation has paid more than $31-million in purses to race participants since the operation’s inception. Purs­es fuel the harness racing busi­ness, which is the third-largest sector of the province’s agri­cultural economy in terms of expenditures.

Grand River Raceway officially opened its doors on Dec. 6, 2003 after relocating from the now defunct Elmira Raceway. The $30-million facility, located in Elora, hosted its first day of racing on April 26, 2004.

Grand River Raceway is owned and operated by the Grand River Agricultural Soci­ety – a not-for-profit corpora­tion incorporated under the Agricultural Societies Act of Ontario, and operated by a volunteer board of directors.