Downtown Update – December 2022

The festive spirit is in the air! It is that time of the year when downtown Guelph comes alive with holiday shoppers, family-friendly holiday events, and fun activities. We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

Please read on for updates about ongoing and upcoming key projects and initiatives.

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The Library and Baker District Redevelopment

What’s happening

The new water main underneath Baker Street is now complete. Just in time for winter, Baker Street has been paved with temporary asphalt. It will be open to one-way traffic from Woolwich Street to Quebec Street with on-street parking on the west side of the street until March 2023!

Our ambitious plans to transform Baker District into a vibrant and welcoming place are coming along as planned.

Library height approved

The Committee of Adjustment has approved the minor variance to allow for the reduced height of the Central Public Library. The height of the library is reduced so the design respects the protected view corridor to Basilica of our Lady. The approval of the minor variance moves this project one step closer to the planned groundbreaking in the Spring of 2023.

Coming soon: Extended hours at Royal City Mission

City Council has approved additional funds to extend daytime services at Royal City Mission. This means that early in the new year Royal City Mission will provide daytime shelter services from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Currently, the services are provided from 12:00 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This measure is intended to be a short-term solution to assist people in need. The Strategic Advisory Group on Downtown is now focusing on identifying longer-term solutions to address the rise of mental health and addiction issues exacerbated by the pandemic.

The increase in drop-in hours is set to begin early next year. Watch this space to learn about the date of launch.

Did you know? Welcoming Street Editions

Welcoming Streets supports the community, including business owners and equity-deserving individuals in Downtown Guelph to help ensure downtown is a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space for all. Welcoming Streets Outreach Workers respond to people in need who may not require the help of emergency services. They work to connect people, such as those struggling with poverty, mental health, addiction and homelessness, with the services they need.

For DGBA members, Welcoming Streets Outreach Workers also offer free de-escalation and safety training to business owners and their teams.

You can reach out to the following Welcoming Street Outreach Workers for assistance:

  1. Alex Cairney: 519-710-0464
  2. Josh Schafer: 519-362-1454
  3. Kim Hanlon: 519-710-8528

Seasonal Patio Program Pilot: What do you think?

Implemented as part of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery pilot program, the Seasonal Patio Program allows for the seasonal conversion of outdoor space (sidewalks and parking spaces) to patio use on private and public properties. This program is held between April 1 and October 31st in accordance with the 2021-2023 Seasonal Patio Program Guidelines.

The Seasonal Patio Program has wrapped up its second season and will head into the third and final season in the spring of 2023. The City is now evaluating the 2022 season and any changes to consider for continued improvements.

We want to hear from businesses, employees, patrons and anyone else who would like to provide feedback about the Seasonal Patio Program pilot.

CALL TO ACTION: Please complete this 10-minute survey to help us make improvements and consider strategies for potential future annual patios in Guelph. 

Recommended changes and guidelines for a Seasonal Patio Program will go to Council for consideration in 2023.

We are leveling up our parking system to support Downtown businesses

The City has contracted eleven-x to install occupancy sensors throughout Downtown to provide real-time data on parking space availability and occupancy. The data will help us understand parking patterns in front of and adjacent to Downtown businesses.

In November 2022, installation of sensors began on Macdonell Street, with Cork, Quebec, and upper Wyndham Streets following in order. We heard your concerns about parking during this shopping season and have paused the remaining installation work until mid-January.

Once the installation work is complete, together we can create strategies to ensure optimal turnover of the parking spaces to better support Downtown businesses.

Downtown renewal

In case you missed this

As part of the Downtown Renewal project many community members recently weighed in on the future of the Macdonell Bridge, the Allans Dams Bridge and the Allans Dam structure located at Speed River and shared their opinion on whether these structures should stay as is, be removed, or get rehabilitated. This was done following the November 2, 2022, Public Open House through two separate online surveys. Visit for more information about the Macdonell and Allan structures Municipal Class Environmental Assessment.

Feedback was also gathered at the Public Open House and through an online survey about the options for the future design of Wyndham Street. Visit for more information about the Wyndham Street Municipal Class Environmental Assessment.

The feedback we received will help shape the project recommendations to ensure any planned modifications support the economic vitality of our Downtown. We’ll share the results of this feedback in a future Downtown Update.