High speed rail will unlock extraordinary new opportunities for Guelph

Guelph, Ont., May 19, 2017 – Mayor Cam Guthrie is applauding the inclusion of Guelph as a station stop on a proposed high-speed rail line along the Toronto-Windsor corridor.

A Guelph stop is included in a report from David Collenette, Ontario’s Special Advisor on high speed rail. The report notes that high speed rail could cut travel time between Guelph and Toronto to a minimum of 39 minutes.

Today, the Province of Ontario released the report and announced it is moving ahead with preliminary design work on the project as well as a comprehensive environmental assessment. The proposed stops include Windsor, Chatham, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and Toronto, with a connection to Pearson International Airport.

“This is the culmination of more than a year of work to literally put Guelph on the map for high speed rail,” said Mayor Guthrie. “Two years ago, a Guelph stop was not on the table. Together with our MPP Liz Sandals, the Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Guelph, our city made a compelling case to Mr. Collenette and the Province for a stop in our city. I want to thank the Province for listening and being receptive when Guelph came knocking.”

In February 2016, the Mayor attended a roundtable discussion on high speed rail hosted by Mr. Collenette in Kitchener,  along with the CEO of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and the Vice-President External of the University of Guelph. Mayor Guthrie asked Mr. Collenette about the possibility of a Guelph stop on the line. Two months later, Mr. Collenette came to Guelph City Hall to meet with Mayor Guthrie and City staff to discuss the feasibility of a Guelph stop further. On May 30, 2016, Guelph City Council passed a resolution endorsing in principle the inclusion of an alignment through and stop in Guelph for consideration in the Toronto to Windsor high speed rail report.

In the months since, the Mayor, City staff, and MPP Sandals continued to make the case for a Guelph stop, as Mr. Collenette studied its feasibility. Mr. Collenette’s report recommends a stop in Guelph at Guelph Central Station, noting that this is an integrated station with local and inter-city bus and rail transit services.

“Imagine getting to downtown Toronto in 39 minutes, and Pearson International Airport in 23 minutes – all while avoiding the traffic of the 401. This would unlock extraordinary opportunities for jobs, economic development, and quality of life in our city. High speed rail would revolutionize residents’ ability to travel to Toronto – and west to Waterloo Region and London – quickly, safely, and easily,” said Mayor Guthrie.

The Chamber of Commerce and University of Guelph were equally pleased with the news.

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in further unlocking the economic potential in communities like Guelph, as a leading jurisdiction in Canada and noted jobs powerhouse, Guelph is well positioned to leverage the opportunities this announcement will have in bolstering regional economic development, helping to attract top talent and improving interconnectivity options,” says Kithio Mwanzia, President & CEO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce.

University of Guelph President Franco Vaccarino added,  “This is wonderful news for the University of Guelph and greater Guelph region. Connecting the Toronto-Guelph-Waterloo innovation corridor in this way will help us attract and retain talented researchers and promote collaboration among leading businesses and experts. It will enhance our global competitiveness in fields such as agri-food, clean technology, digital technology and health/biosciences.”

While the high speed rail environmental assessment work is being done, the Province has pledged to continue its proposed delivery of two-way, all-day GO rail service between Toronto and Waterloo Region, with a stop at Guelph Central Station.

The Special Advisor’s final report can be viewed on the Province of Ontario’s website at  http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/publications/high-speed-rail-in-ontario-final-report/

For more information

Mayor Cam Guthrie
City of Guelph
Cell 519-829-6430
cam.guthrie@guelph.ca