Mayor’s Office

Mayor Karen Farbridge

Karen Farbridge has served as Mayor of the City of Guelph from 2000 – 2003 and 2006 to present day. She also served as a Ward Councillor from 1994 – 2000.

During her tenure in municipal politics, Karen has championed a balanced approach to city management with a strong commitment to community engagement.

“Over the years, our organization has challenged itself to embrace new ways to tap the ingenuity and passion of our community. I am very excited and proud of the path we are forging with our Open Government Strategy. We are leading a transformation in the way local government works.”

Karen’s commitment to a disciplined and measured approach to financial management continues to improve the financial position of the City of Guelph while ensuring Guelph attracts and retains business, talent and jobs and enhances quality of life for individuals and families.

“The upgrading of our credit rating to AA+ is an acknowledgement of the strength of Council’s financial management policies and the prudent financial practices of staff. It is also a reflection of our strategic approach to growth that focuses on best growth opportunities, integrates thoughtful environmental practices, and ensures the city’s prosperity is shared by all.”

Karen is the Chair of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. (GMHI). Established in 2011, GMHI strategically manages select City of Guelph assets to maximize their revenue potential and strengthen community prosperity.

“GMHI is an excellent example of how Guelph is leading a transformation in the way local government brings value to the community.”

Karen is also the Chair of the Leadership Group for the Community Wellbeing Initiative (CWI).

“As Mayor, I am frequently reminded that there is a gap between the needs of our community and the ability of local government to fully provide. Yet, I am also reminded every day of the remarkable resources found in our community – government funding and services, community assets and programs, charitable giving and volunteerism, and individual talent, resourcefulness and action. Drawing on extensive community engagement discussing quality of life for individuals and families of all types, the CWI is answering the question: how might we put these community resources to better use to improve the wellbeing of individuals and families in our community?”

A significant program of the Mayor’s Office is Local Government Week in October, which expresses Karen’s commitment to youth and democratic engagement. Annually, Karen nominates local community leaders for a Newcomer Champion Award to promote the benefits of a diverse community. The annual Mayor’s Award recognizes the contributions of individuals making a difference in the community.

“Our identity as a caring and safe city resonates strongly in our community. The Mayor’s Awards recognize people who consistently make a difference.”

In addition to serving on all Standing Committees of Council, Karen serves on the Guelph Police Services Board and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Board.

Karen also serves as:

“Guelph’s prudent and progressive approach to municipal management is being noticed outside the City. Nationally, and even internationally, the City is being lauded. The Community Energy and Wellbeing Initiatives are two excellent examples.”

Karen has a B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Guelph. In 2009, she attained the Chartered Director (C.Dir) designation from the Directors College, a joint venture of McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada.

In the past, Karen has served as an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, teaching courses in political science and environmental policy. For ten years, she was the Coordinator of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group. In 2005, Karen was the recipient of the prestigious Women of Distinction Award from the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph in the business and professions category.


Contact Information

Questions, comments or concerns?

There are lots of ways to contact the Mayor:


Telephone: 519-837-5643

By mail: City Hall, 1 Carden Street,
Guelph, Ontario N1H 3A1

Fax: 519-822-8277

Twitter: @mayorofguelph

Mayor Karen Farbridge


Please send an email to with the following details: the name of the event, date, time, and location; contact information for the organizers; a description of the event; and the Mayor’s role (i.e. remarks, ribbon cutting, attendance only, etc.)

Birthday and anniversary greetings

The mayor offers a letter of congratulations to residents celebrating a 65th birthday and over, and couples celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary and over. These greetings (along with greetings from the Prime Minister, Governor General, Her Majesty the Queen, and Member of Parliament) are centrally coordinated through the Guelph M.P.’s office. Please call 519-837-8276.

Medals for sports teams

The mayor presents medals at Council meetings to teams that have won a gold medal at a provincial, national or international event. To schedule a medal presentation, please send an e-mail to with the team name; name, date and location of the tournament where they won gold; names of team members and coaches (please be sure to spell correctly, as this will be used to order the medals.) Please feel free to provide any additional details of how the tournament played out or the team’s history, so that the mayor can congratulate the team.

Greeting letters

The mayor offers greeting letters to sports, culture, and other organizations for their event programmes. Please send an e-mail to with the name, date and location of the event; the name of the organization; and any background that would be useful such as how many years the event has been running, volunteer involvement, etc.

Last Updated: February 19, 2014. Broken links or incorrect information? Let us know!