Known as "The Royal City", Guelph is roughly east of Kitchener-Waterloo and west of downtown Toronto at the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 7. It is the seat of Wellington County, but as a separated municipality, the city is not part of the county. As one entity, Guelph and Wellington County have a population of 200,425.
Residents of Guelph are called Guelphites. Guelph also has a number of sister cities, which are selected based on economic, cultural and political criteria.
Because of its low crime rates, clean environment and generally high standard of living, Guelph is consistently rated as one of the country's most livable cities: Moneysense magazine ranked Guelph fourth in the country to live in 2007 , and was also rated among Canada's ten best places to live by Chatelaine magazine.
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.
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. 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.
Guelph was founded on St. George's Day, April 23rd, 1827, the feast day of the patron saint of England. 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.
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's most famous landmark is the Church of Our Lady Immaculate.
The 2001 census indicates 117,344 people residing in Guelph, of whom 49.1% were male and 50.9% were female. Children under five accounted for approximately 6.2% of the resident population of Guelph, whereas 12.2% of the resident population in Guelph were of retirement age. The average age is 35.7 years of age. In the five years between 1996 and 2001, the population of Guelph grew by 10.7%. Population density of Guelph averaged 310.1 people per square kilometre.
Historically, Guelph's population has been principally British in origin, with 92% in 1880 and 87% in 1921.
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, Vietnamese and Arab. 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 Islam, and Hinduism.
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. The Guelph Public Library currently has four branches, with a fifth planned to open in 2008.
The Guelph Public Library also serves as the unofficial repository for records created by 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 2010. 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 2006, Karen Farbridge defeat incumbent mayor Kate Quarrie, 51% to 35% along with 8 new City councilors who replaced many of the long-time council members.
Most of the natural attractions of Guelph are located beside the two rivers which pass inside the city, Speed River and Eramosa River.
The Bookshelf Ebar Art Space showcases monthly exhibits of local and regional artists. It functions as Guelph's main alternative art space located in the downtown core.
Ed Video Media Arts Centre is one of Canada's leading artist-run centres devoted to the proliferation and appreciation of Canadian media art and film, and is the main driving force behind a growing movement of professional filmmakers within the region. Ed Video carries out an ongoing monthly programming schedule of regional and national media art.
The River Run Centre, opened in 1997, serves as Guelph's premier performing arts centre. Encompassing three separate halls (including Canada Company Hall, Co-operators Hall, and the 785-seat Main Stage), River Run has played host to corporate functions, as well as dramatic and musical performances.
The Guelph Youth Music Centre is a permanent facility in which Guelph youth can participate in music and arts education and activities. In 1992, the former Heritage Seed Company along the Speed River was purchased by the City of Guelph and turned over to the GYMC under a long-term lease. Following an extensive renovation, GYMC opened their new facility in September 2001. The Centre includes a beautiful 180-seat Recital Hall, a dance studio and 15 rehearsal and teaching studios. The Centre provids a forum for affordable leadership, teaching, rehearsal and performance for hundreds of local music and arts students.
Canadian thrash metal act Razor are from Guelph.
Guelph is also home to the Hillside Festival, a hugely popular music festival held at Guelph island during the summer, as well as the Guelph Jazz Festival.
|Guelph Storm||Ontario Hockey League||Hockey||Sleeman Centre|| 1991 ||2|
|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 Dominators||Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League||Hockey||Victoria Road Recreation 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|
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.