Toronto Tuesday 03.11: Guelph downtown

Quaint downtown of Guelph, Ontario

This post is part of the weekly Toronto Tuesday series

Guelph, about 100km west of Toronto, is a city that is known for its distinctive heritage architecture, high standards of living and a liberal environment. I was driving through downtown Guelph with my partner last weekend and the place, with its independent coffee shops, healthy food joints, bookshops, antique stores and beautiful buildings, made quite an impression on us.

↑ Sign at the south west corner of downtown

↑ Church of Our Lady Immaculate sitting on a hill at the end of Macdonell Ave. The City of Guelph’s zoning by-laws require that any new buildings built in the downtown area must not obscure the view of the church. Also, no new buildings are allowed to be taller than the Church. (Reminds me of Moscow’s Kremlin)

↑ Downtown remodeling map. I like the word “remastered” – makes it sound like an art project.

A large section of downtown is being remodeled at the moment, and the revival promises to change the look of this town completely. They have an interesting mix of buildings, streets that sortof converge at the eastern end of downtown, a railway line and bike lanes – each of these factors adds a star to the place’s ratings in my scoring system. I think that the Downtown Guelph Business Association is doing a terrific job at gentrifying this area. As a health conscious, socially liberal and an artsy couple, we are naturally drawn towards places like this.

↑ Newspaper boxes

Heck, the town even has a sexy Armoury building!

↑ A mix of heritage buildings from different times. The architects and masons back then made excellent use of warm-hued limestone from nearby quarries.

↑ Bottles on a bench at VIA rail station

Guelph is well connected to Toronto and neighbouring cities by Greyhound and GO buses and also by VIA train. Alternatively, there’s always the North American way of travelling – by car!

↑ Downtown street signs

If you are looking to spend a relaxed ‘urban’ weekend outside Toronto, try Guelph. Or visit the picturesque town of Elora or the Scottish dominated Fergus. We certainly will!