Public art conservation and restoration

The City is committed to preserving and protecting its collection of indoor and outdoor public art for future generations.

Exposure to harsh weather conditions and pollution are the biggest threats to the City’s outdoor collection. Maintenance and preventative work is taken to ensure artworks do not deteriorate prematurely or become a safety concern, but in some cases conservation or restoration is required.

Examples of restoration work


The Riverside Park carousel mural was updated in 2017 by artist Greg Elliot, the mural’s original painter. In addition to regular wear and tear, one face on the mural had been a routine target for graffiti and the artist thought perhaps it was something about the woman’s face that rubbed people the wrong way. With this in mind, he opted to adjust her features slightly to see if it might help protect the mural against future threats of vandalism.

Photo by Jessica Lovell, Guelph Mercury Tribune

The Family Fountain and Sculpture, along with the fountain’s plaque and frog drinking spout were cleaned, re-patinated to achieve the originally intended finish, and hot waxed for additional protection. The work was done by Alexander Gabov and his assistant Anna from Conservation of Sculptures, Monuments and Objects (CSMO) out of Ganonoque.

Family fountain – before

Family fountain – after

Family fountain plaque – before

Family fountain plaque – after

Family fountain frog – before

Family fountain frog – after


Key elements of the McCrae Memorial, along with a series of historic plaques, located at McCrae House, were restored to coincide with the McCrae commemoration celebrations. This work was completed by Craig Johnson Restorations out of Ottawa.

McCrae House Memorial, Bronze Book: before

McCrae House Memorial, Bronze Book: after

McCrae House Plaque: before

McCrae House Plaque: after


Extensive restoration to the War Memorial’s bronze elements took place along with repairs to the granite base. This work was completed by Craig Johnson Restorations out of Ottawa.

Substantial masonry repairs helped to reinforce and preserve the McCrae House Memorial. This work was completed by Burpee Stone Masonry out of Guelph.

Masonry work underway on McCrae House Memorial


Two of Guelph’s most recognized public art works were restored, the Family Fountain and the Blacksmith Fountain.

Blacksmith Fountain: before (left), after (right)

Family Fountain: before (left), after (right)

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