Guelph is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. Known as “The Royal City”, Guelph is roughly 28 kilometres east of Waterloo and 100 kilometreswest 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 in October 2011, Guelph was noted as having the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 4.1%.

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).

Public library system

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, which was eventually demolished in 1964. The current main branch building was opened in 1965.

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.



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.


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.

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

Manufacturing is the leading sector, accounting for 24.3% of employment. The second largest industry is Educational services, accounting for 11.3%.

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

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.

Guelph’s 3 largest employers include Linamar, the University of Guelph, and the Upper Grand District School Board.

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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 École Saint-René-Goupil. The Conseil scolaire de district du Centre-Sud-Ouest, with similar entrance requirements, operates the École élémentaire L’Odyssée.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.

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