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Ontario’s New Track Opens

December 04, 2003

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It is some five months until the start of live racing, but Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON will officially open for slot and simulcast business on Saturday (Dec. 6).

On Thursday evening (Dec. 4), the $30 million racetrack unveiled its slot machine hall during a gala invitation-only VIP celebration. Much of the rest of the facility - which features a heavilly-banked half-mile track and a second-floor tiered dining room with outstanding views of the oval - has been completed, or is near completion.

Grand River Raceway was built to replace the aging racetrack in the nearby town of Elmira. The Woolwich Agricultural Society which operates Grand River and used to operate Elmira Raceway was forced to build the new facility when the town of Elmira balked at the addition of slot machines.

Now, in partnership with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLGC), Grand River Raceway features a slot-hall with 200 machines and a river boat theme circa the late-1800s. The track is located near the famed Elora Gorge.

The track, which will open for live racing in April of 2004, is the 16th racetrack in Ontario to open a slot machine parlour. Only tiny Quinte Raceway in Belleville, ON does not have slots. Track operators and horsepeople evenly split 20 per cent of all slot machine revenue. Meanwhile, the Township of Centre Wellington receives a five per cent cut of the slot take.

Grand River Raceway boasts a huge 11-race paddock complete with a restaurant to be shared by horsepeople and the public, grassy berms stretching the length of the backstretch and behind both turns for extra viewing, a 300-seat open-air grandstand and a spectacular entrance way that's an ode to the handsome storefronts found in Elora, the home to many artisans.
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