Renewed National Historic Site becomes barrier-free

Renovations at Guelph’s Provincial Offences Court improve access to justice

GUELPH, ON, December 7, 2010 – The recent renovations at 59 Carden Street allow barrier-free access to Guelph’s Provincial Offences Court.

“The goal of this renovation was to provide access to justice in a fully functional and accessible court facility while preserving the unique heritage features of this great National Historic Site,” says Brad Coutts, Manager of Court Services.

The building at 59 Carden Street served as Guelph City Hall from 1856 to 2009. The building was designated by the City under the Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act in 1978 and declared a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1991. Guelph’s new City Hall is located just west of the original building at 1 Carden Street.

The rehabilitation of 59 Carden Street started in May 2010 and revealed, restored or replicated many of the building’s significant heritage features including tin ceilings, cast iron columns, windows, cornices and archways.

The renewed building now meets the City of Guelph Facility Accessibility Design Manual (FADM) Standards for accessibility and includes:

  • Barrier-free entrances, elevators, washrooms, drinking fountains, and service wickets.
  • Wheelchair-accessible routes throughout the building.
  • High-contrast colour scheme on walls, floors and furnishings.
  • High-contrast signs with tactile text and Braille.
  • Way-finding tiles to provide intuitive direction and cueing for those using a navigation cane.
  • Infra-red hearing devices and amplification in all courtrooms.

Judicial chambers are housed in a new addition at the rear of the building and allow barrier-free access to all courtrooms. The main courtroom is one of the first in the province to feature a barrier-free workstation for the Clerk of the Court on the same level as the Justice.

Guelph’s Provincial Offences Court began operation at 59 Carden Street on August 3, 2010. Improvements in front of the Court continue as crews install walkways, ramps, and seating areas for the Market Square that will be finished and planted next spring.

Guelph’s Provincial Offences Court is open to the public, and many of its heritage features are visible in the public waiting rooms and courtrooms. Members of the public are invited to tour the entire facility on April 30, 2011 during Doors Open Guelph; a joint undertaking of the Guelph Arts Council, Heritage Guelph and City of Guelph Tourism.

For more information

Bradley S. Coutts
Manager of Court Services
Human Resources and Legal Services
T 519-822-1260 x 2909

Leanne Warren
Administrator of Disability Services
Municipal Buildings and Maintenance
T 519-822-1260 x 2670