Bone fragments found under Baker Street parking lot during excavation prep now being exhumed

Parking lot asphalt removal underway

Guelph, Ont., October 22, 2021 – Archaeological consultants working for the City will be exhuming bone fragments from a grave found during work done to prepare for archaeological clearance of the Baker and Wyndham Street parking lots.

A full excavation of the Baker and Wyndham Street lots is required by the Province for archaeological clearance before construction of the Baker District redevelopment can begin as planned in spring 2022.

The City is following an established process for managing discoveries of human remains including notification to appropriate agencies such as Guelph Police Services, partner Indigenous governments and Provincial ministries. The City will also share public updates on progress and discoveries of remains every two weeks until the work is complete.

Once the archaeological clearance work is done, all remains found during the excavation now underway will be documented and reinterred at Woodlawn Memorial Park.

Respect and dignity for human remains

To ensure that human remains are treated with respect and dignity the City does not take or share photographs of any remains found. The City requests that media and the public also follow this direction for the respectful treatment of remains.

Site history

The triangular block that is the current Baker Street municipal parking lot was the site of an all-faith cemetery from 1827 to 1853. The Public Burying Ground was established by the Canada Company in 1827, the year Guelph was founded. The site was used as a cemetery for 26 years. In 1853 the Town of Guelph passed a new bylaw banning human burials within town limits. The property continued to be owned by the Canada Company for another 24 years until it was purchased by the City for use as a public park in 1879. When plans were made to move the remains from the old Public Burying Ground to a new cemetery (Woodlawn Memorial Park), family members moved some burials, but others, especially unmarked graves, remained.

About the Baker District redevelopment

The City and Windmill Developments are transforming the existing Baker Street municipal parking lot and adjacent properties into a vibrant district nestled in Guelph’s historic core that will create a renewed area of activity, commerce and civic space for the local community and city.

This welcoming and publicly accessible integrated civic hub—known as the Baker District—is anchored by a new central Guelph Public Library and includes outdoor urban squares, residential units, commercial space and public parking.

As a landmark city-building initiative, the Baker District redevelopment further revitalizes Guelph’s downtown and—by extension—improves the entire city’s economic and social prosperity.

The Baker District redevelopment project supports multiple priorities of the City’s strategic plan, Guelph. Future Ready.:

  • Sustaining Our Future through net-zero carbon targets
  • Powering Our Future through helping to grow downtown business and the local economy
  • Building our Future through the inclusion of affordable housing
  • Working Together for Our Future through innovation and strategic partnerships

The redevelopment also supports the themes of Guelph’s Community Plan to love where we live, protect our environment, create value, and play and explore.

Resources

Media Contact

Laura Mousseau, Manager, Corporate Communications
Corporate Communications and Customer Service
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2463
[email protected]