The abandoned Anglican church©Copyright: Jeri Danyleyko
Gelert, located in Haliburton County, was a small shipping centre and sawmill town. It boomed almost overnight following the opening of the Victoria Railway (later CN) in 1878. By 1879, the community had a store and post office. Once the railway added a station and siding, Gelert quickly became established as a shipping centre for cattle and lumber.
During its best days, Gelert boasted a population of around 120. It included saw, shingle, planing and woollen mills. Besides the mills, there were two general stores, a hotel, a blacksmith shop, a shoemaker, carpenter and wagonmaker. There was also a school and an Anglican church.
In the early part of the 20th century, both lumbering and farming began to decline. The lumber industry was hit hard by a major forest fire. Farming in the area was simply not sustainable over the long term due to poor soil conditions. Gelert was hit hard by these changes and slowly began to shut down.
Today Gelert continues to support a small handful of residents. A few structures from the early days are still standing. These include both of the general stores, the school, and the Anglican church. The cemetery is well maintained and continues to be used.