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Guelph (; Canada 2011 Census population 121,668)[1] is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Known as "The Royal City", Guelph is roughly east of Waterloo and west of downtown Toronto at the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 7. It is the seat of Wellington County, but is politically independent of it. Because of its low crime rates, clean environment and generally high standard of living, Guelph is consistently rated as one of the country's best places to live.[2][3] in October 2011, Guelph was noted as having the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 4.1%[4].

The name Guelph comes from the Italian Guelfo and the Bavarian-Germanic Welf. It is a reference to King George IV monarch at the time of its founding (whose family was from the House of Hanover, a younger branch of the House of Welf) and a tongue in cheek reference to the (then) ascendant German population in neighbouring Berlin (Kitchener). (Guelphs being the name given to the northern Italian factions who opposed the reign of the Holy Roman Empire, i.e. medieval Germany, in the 12th to 16th centuries).[5]



An 1855 map of Guelph Before colonization, the area was considered by the surrounding indigenous communities to be a "neutral" zone. On selected dates members from these communities would meet and trade goods by the Speed River.

Guelph was selected as the headquarters of the Canada Company, a British development firm, by its Canadian superintendent John Galt, a popular Scottish novelist who designed the town to attract settlers to it and to the surrounding countryside.[6]

Galt designed the town to resemble a European city centre, complete with squares, broad main streets and narrow side streets, resulting in a variety of block sizes and shapes which is still in place today.[7] The street plan was designed to resemble a lady's fan, many of the streets forming triangles (the segments of the fan). This technique had been used in other planned towns such as Buffalo, New York.[6]

John Galt, the first superintendent of the Canada Company, established Guelph in 1827 to serve as the company's headquarters during the development of the Huron Tract. The town later came into its own as a prosperous railway and industrial centre.[8] Guelph was founded on St. George's Day, April 23, 1827, the feast day of the patron saint of England.[7] The town was named to honour Britain's royal family, the Hanoverians, who were descended from the Guelfs, the ancestral family of George IV, the reigning British monarch; thus the nickname The Royal City. The directors of the Canada Company had actually wanted the city to be named Goderich, but reluctantly accepted the fait accompli.

Guelph was the home of North America's first cable TV system. Ted Metcalfe created McLean Hunter Television and their first broadcast was Queen Elizabeth's Coronation in 1953.[5]

Guelph's police force had Canada's first municipal motorcycle patrol. Chief Ted Lamb brought back an army motorcycle he used during the First World War. Motorcycles were faster and more efficient than walking.[5]

The city is home to the University of Guelph and Sleeman Breweries Ltd.. The Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), the oldest part of University of Guelph, began in 1873 as an associate agricultural college of the University of Toronto.

Guelph is home to three National Historic Sites of Canada: the Church of Our Lady Immaculate, McCrae House and Old City Hall.[9]

Geography and climate

Topography and water courses

Downtown Guelph is situated above the confluence of the Speed and Eramosa, which have numerous tributaries. The Speed River enters from the north and the Eramosa River from the east; the two rivers meet below downtown and continue southwest. There are also many creeks and rivers creating large tracts of densely forested ravines, and providing ideal sites for parks and recreational trails. The city is built on many drumlins and buried waterways, the most famous being an underground creek flowing below the Albion Hotel, once the source of water used to brew beer.


The weather and climate of this region of Ontario has cold winters and warm, humid summers, falling into the K ppen climate classification Dfb zone, with moderately high rainfall and snowfall. It is generally a couple of degrees cooler than lower elevation regions on the Great Lakes shorelines, especially so in winter, the exception being on some spring afternoons when the lack of an onshore breeze boosts temperatures well above those found lakeside.


The city of Guelph has numerous neighbourhoods

Arkell Springs Guelph Junction Onward Willow Solterra
Berkely Estates Grange Hill Parkside The Highlands
Brant Grange Hill East Parkwood Creek Two Rivers
Brooklyn Hamilton Corner Pebble Creek Valley Haven
Blueberry Hill Hanlon Creek Pine Ridge Victoria Gardens
Chillico Glen Heritage Lake Estates Priory Park Village by The Arboretum
Clairfields Kortright Hills Riverview Watson Creek
College Hill Lakeside Victoria Riverwalk Estates Waverly
Creekside Market Square Rolling Hills Westminster Woods
Exhibition Park Manor Park Starwood West Willow Woods
Farnham Morning Crest


Guelph boosts the economy from various sectors. This diversity has helped Guelph obtain the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 4.2%[4]

Manufacturing is the leading sector, accounting for 24.3% of employment (2006 census). The second largest industry is Educational services, accounting for 11.3%.[10]

26.1% (90/345) of business in the manufacturing industry are categorized as Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing businesses.[11]

The City of Guelph's Economic Development Strategy identified life science, agri-food and biotechnology firms, environmental management and technology companies as growth industries on which to focus economic development activities.[12]

Guelph's 3 largest employers include Linamar (8000), the University of Guelph (3700), and the Upper Grand District School Board (3400).[10][13]


Ethnic Origin Population Percent
English 36,975 31.93%
Canadian 36,845 31.82%
Scottish 27,875 24.07%
Irish 24,445 21.11%
German 14,505 12.52%
Italian 11,135 9.61%

Guelph is the fifth fastest growing city in Canada with a population growth rate of about 2% per year. Guelph's population according to the Ontario Places to Grow plan is projected to be about 144,500 by the year 2021. Population varies throughout the year because of variations in the University of Guelph student population.[14]

The 2001 census enumerated 114,943 residents of Guelph. 49.1% were male and 50.9% were female. 6.2% were under five. The average age is 35.7 years of age. Between 1996 and 2001, the population of Guelph grew 10.7%. The 2011 metro population density of Guelph was 335.6 people per square kilometre.

Historically, Guelph's population has been principally British in origin, with 92% in 1880 and 87% in 1921.[6]

Now, some 10 percent of the resident population described themselves as visible minorities, predominantly South Asian mostly of Afghan, Indian and Pakistani origin: 2.43%, Chinese: 2.42%, Black Canadian/African Canadians: 1.25%, and many others including Filipino and Vietnamese. The city is mostly Christian: 74.17%, almost evenly split among Protestants and Roman Catholics. The largest non-Christian religion is Buddhism: 1.45%, followed by Hinduism.[15]


There are two public school boards that operate inside the city. The Upper Grand District School Board administers all of Wellington County, as well as adjacent Dufferin County, while the Wellington Catholic District School Board administers Catholic education in Wellington County, including Guelph. The Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud offers French First language education for students with parents who had elementary and secondary education in French at cole Saint-Ren -Goupil. The Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest, with similar entrance requirements, operates the cole l mentaire L'Odyss e.There are also numerous private schools in Guelph: Cornerstone Canadian Reformed Christian School, Crestwicke Christian Academy, Guelph Community Christian School, Guelph Montessori School, Trillium Waldorf School, Wellington Hall Academy, and Wellington Montessori School, Echo Montessori. None of Guelph's schools offer the International Baccalaureate Program, compared to surrounding cities such as Kitchener and Waterloo.

Secondary schools

Due to the presence of two different school boards, Guelph has numerous elementary and secondary schools. The secondary schools are as follows:


  • Centennial C.V.I.
  • College Heights C.V.I.
  • Guelph C.V.I.
  • John F. Ross C.V.I.


  • Our Lady of Lourdes C.H.S.
  • Saint James C.H.S.
  • Bishop Macdonell C.H.S.

Post-secondary institutions

  • University of Guelph, one of Canada's top comprehensive universities, and home to the Ontario Agricultural College and the Ontario Veterinary College.
  • Conestoga College has a small campus in Guelph.

Public library system

The original Carnegie library in Guelph. Although a private library had existed since 1832, a public library did not exist in Guelph until 1882, when the Free Libraries Act allowed municipalities to operate libraries. After occupying premises near City Hall, it moved into an Andrew Carnegie-funded building in 1905,[16] which was eventually demolished in 1964. The current main branch building was opened in 1965.[17]

Guelph is served by a growing library system composed of a main branch located in the downtown core, five branches and a Bookmobile. It holds a membership of over 85,000, the Guelph Public Library system's goals include preserving and indexing public materials relating to the history of Guelph. Although no formal program has been developed, the library acquires municipal records of archival value from the City of Guelph.



Old City Hall (Provincial Offences Court) at Night, Guelph, ON

The city is a single-tier municipality governed by a mayor-council system. The structure of the municipal government is stipulated by the Ontario Municipal Act of 2001. There are currently 12 councillors and a mayor, with 2 councillors representing each of the six wards.

The mayor and members of the city council serve four-year terms without term limits, with the next election in November 2014. Prior to the 2006 election, the mayor and city councillors served three-year terms.

Guelph City Council is responsible for policy and decision making, monitoring the operation and performance of the city, analyzing and approving budgets and determining spending priorities.

In 2010, Karen Farbridge defeated former councillor David Birtwistle, 54% to 38% for the mayor position. 8 incumbent councillors were re-elected, 4 rookie councillors were elected, 2 incumbents were defeated, 2 did not seek re-election.


Guelph occupies a single provincial riding of the same name, and is currently represented in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by Liz Sandals, a member of the ruling Ontario Liberal Party.


Guelph also occupies a federal riding of the same name, and has been represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada by Frank Valeriote of the Liberal Party of Canada since 2008.


Church of Our Lady, above city Riparian restoration

Historic sites

  • Downtown Guelph: Many downtown streets are lined with Victorian era buildings, which are now well over a century old.
  • Guelph Civic Museum, a museum located near Downtown Guelph. At Guelph Civic Museum one can find pictures, films and other antique materials related to the historic development of the City of Guelph at a 1850- three-story Guelph limestone building.

National Historic Sites

  • Old City Hall, a formal, classical civic building; built in 1856-57.
  • McCrae House, home of John McCrae, author of "In Flanders Fields".
  • Church of Our Lady Immaculate, a Roman Catholic church designed by Joseph Connolly, located downtown, is a local landmark.

Outdoor attractions

Most of the natural attractions of Guelph are located beside the two rivers which pass inside the city, Speed River and Eramosa River.

  • Guelph Lake
  • University of Guelph Arboretum
  • Riverside Park, located beside the Speed River at north of Guelph
  • York Road Park
  • Hanlon Creek Park (Preservation Park)
  • Royal City Park and Wellington Street nature sites
  • Exhibition Park (the oldest park in Guelph)

Arts facilities

  • The Macdonald Stewart Art Centre
  • The Bookshelf Ebar Art Space
  • Ed Video Media Arts Centre
  • River Run Centre
  • Guelph Youth Music Centre


Music has always played a large part in the lives of people living in Guelph. From a Bell Organ factory to the opera singer Edward Johnson, Guelph has been a source of musical contribution. Today, Guelph is particularly notable for its indie rock scene, which has spawned some of Canada's more notable indie bands. Guelph is also home to the Hillside Festival, a hugely popular music festival held at nearby Guelph Lake during the summer, as well as the Guelph Jazz Festival.[18]

Sports teams

The Guelph Storm at home ice in 2006.

Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Guelph Storm Ontario Hockey League Hockey Sleeman Centre 1991
Guelph Royals Intercounty Baseball League Baseball David E. Hastings Stadium at Exhibition Park (Guelph) 1919 8
Guelph Gryphons Canadian Interuniversity Sport University W.F. Mitchell Centre and Alumni Stadium 1874 0
Guelph Regals Ontario Lacrosse Association Lacrosse Victoria Road Recreation Centre 1992 1
Guelph Rangers Kitchener District Soccer League Soccer Centennial Park and Guelph Lake Sports Fields circa 1985 3
Guelph Underdogs SC Conestoga College Indoor Soccer League Soccer Conestoga College Recreational Centre 2004 0
Guelph Hurricanes Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Hockey Sleeman Centre 1963 0
Guelph Bears Ontario Varsity Football League Football John Ross High School and University of Guelph's Alumni Stadium 1997 0
Guelph Gargoyles Ontario Australian Football League Australian Football Magaret Green Park 2001 0
Speed River Track and Field Club Athletics Canada Athletics St. James Catholic High School 1997 10
Derby League Soccer Club Soccer Soccer Guelph Lakes Sports Fields 2010 0




Guelph Transit provides local transportation around the city. On June 20, 2007, Guelph Transit launched a web-based system known as Next Bus.[19] Global positioning satellites (GPS) technology and advanced computer modelling provide riders via the Internet, handheld devices (including Palms, Blackberries, and Web-capable cellular phones), or their telephones to receive accurate, real-time arrival and departure information. Intercity connections are made at the Guelph Bus Terminal.

GO Transit also provides service to both the University and the city's bus station via rapid transit buses.


Guelph Train Station Guelph was the first municipality in Canada to have its own federally chartered railway, the Guelph Junction Railway. This 16-mile link to the CPR is still municipally owned.

The following is cited from the 2010 community profile:

"Guelph is also served by both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway. The City's own Guelph Junction Railway provides industry with freight handling facilities and connections to CNR and CPR. Via Rail provides inter city passenger rail service. On December 19, 2011, GO Transit began commuter train service to Guelph, with 2 trains heading eastbound to Toronto in the morning, and 2 heading westbound in the evenings."[20]


  • Highway 401 to Toronto and London.
  • Highway 7 to Kitchener and Acton.
  • Highway 6 to Hamilton and Owen Sound. This highway is known as the Hanlon Parkway for most of its length inside the city. The MTO has plans to extend the Hanlon to Kitchener, Ontario, as well they plan to upgrade the status to a controlled access Freeway

Twin cities


See Category:People from Guelph.

See also

  • Monarchy in Ontario


External links

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