Wellesley Township is a small urban/rural municipality rich in culture within the Region of Waterloo. Our charming towns and settlement areas boast a strong connection with their past. They include: Bamberg, Dorking, Hawkesville, Heidelberg, Kingwood, Linwood, Paradise Lake, St Clements, Wallenstein, and Wellesley. Each has its own story to be shared.
Wellesley Township is home to many notable events and festivals that draw thousands of visitors each year. Restaurants offer exceptional local fare and businesses offer a unique retail experience.
In celebration of some of the town's most well-known exports, the Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese Festival was first held in 1975, and has been held annually on the last Saturday in September ever since. The festivities include many street market venues, coach rides, remote-controlled boat races, open heritage sites and amusements, horseshoe-pitching contests, guided farm tours, live music, meals that can be purchased on the main street, and a classic car show, all of which now attract thousands of visitors each year.
On June 24, 2006, the town held its first annual Art Around the Pond gala where artisans of all kind were able to exhibit and advertise their creations and expertise. Stalls and tables are organized around the north and south sides of the Wellesley Pond while visitors can navigate the trail on the east side to access both ends. Speeches by local governors are given and live music is played on the central island.
The Wellesley Fall Fair is held once every year on the second Tuesday and Wednesday of September following Labour Day. There is a parade at around noon on the Wednesday that the local public school participates in and there are also rides and activities located on the community centre grounds.
Wellesley has also held the Wellesley Santa Claus Parade early in December since 2005 which includes floats created by many local businesses, churches and other organizations from around the area mainly driving down Queen's Bush Road, Nafziger Road, Maple Leaf Street, and Molesworth Street.
Though only the Hawkesville Mennonite Church and the Countryside Conservative Mennonite Fellowship remain, Hawkesville has been the birthplace of several congregations. A Presbyterian congregation worshiped in town from 1868 to 1946. Their old church building was dedicated as Hawkesville Mennonite Church on January 1, 1950.
A United Brethren church also existed in Hawkesville from 1865 until 1904. The gothic windows and rafters are still visible inside the shop of Hawkwoods Custom Furniture.
Another group started meeting in 1931 and completed the building of a Gospel Hall next door to the village's Cemetery in 1939. This group became the Hawkesville Bible Chapel, but their Hall became overcrowded and they moved into a new building in Wallenstein in 1968 where the Wallenstein Bible Chapel remains today.
The first Catholic Church built in the township was a log church built in St. Clements around 1840, in 1853, the log church was deemed too small and in 1858, a large brick church was completed. A brass band from Buffalo, New York gave a concert before the church dedication. At the time of its opening, it was said to be the largest and finest church west of Toronto.