City of Guelph accepting expressions of interest for the historic Drill Hall and the Carter Farmhouse

Repurposing two historic gems

Guelph, Ont., June 28, 2023—If you’re part of a community group, non-profit or public organization looking for space in downtown Guelph, the Drill Hall might be the perfect spot for you. If you’re an organization interested in revitalizing the Carter Farmhouse, we want to hear from you.

We’re accepting expressions of interest for the use of the Drill Hall at 72 Farquhar Street and for the redevelopment of Carter Farmhouse at 880 Victoria Road.

“The City has paid for and completed a significant amount of work to stabilize the Drill Hall, and it’s now a blank canvas for someone to re-animate this historic building in the heart of downtown,” explains Ian Scott, manager of Facility Design and Construction. “The Carter Farmhouse is historic and charming; however, several requirements must be met before anyone can occupy the building.”

Share your organization’s interest

Interested parties are invited to visit the City’s bids and tenders page to share their interest and ideas for either the Drill Hall or Carter Farmhouse.

City staff will review the submissions and select or recommend to Council the best applicant(s) based on the financial viability, community impact and overall feasibility of their concept for the properties and will meet with each applicant to discuss their plans in greater detail.

About the Drill Hall

The Drill Hall, located at 72 Farquhar Street (corner of Farquhar and Wyndham Street South) is a two-and-one-half storey, heavy timber frame building built in 1866. The Drill Hall has been used as a community hall and a venue for military drills and agricultural shows. To preserve this piece of Guelph’s history, the City designated the Drill Hall as a property of cultural heritage value or interest under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.

The building has been vacant since 2006. In 2021, the City engaged the development community to see if there was interest in redeveloping the Drill Hall, balancing respect for the cultural heritage of the building with community benefit and financial impacts. A market sounding study indicated there was little interest from the development community, however there was a strong response for community use. Since that time, the City has completed the work required to structurally stabilize the building for safe occupancy. That structural rehabilitation and stabilization works have cost about $5 million. The building is now a blank slate and the City is ready to explore plans for final rehabilitation and reuse.

About the Carter Farmhouse

The house is in the middle of a 53-hectare property and is located just outside the city of Guelph, in Puslinch Township. The house is one of the earliest homesteads in Puslinch Township, with the back wing of the current farmhouse being constructed in the 1840’s, and the main two-storey farmhouse being constructed between 1865 and 1870. The Township of Puslinch has listed the Caulfield Carter farmhouse on their heritage register, under Section 27 of the Ontario Heritage Act.

A portion of the property was originally acquired by the City in 1916 to serve as a municipal drinking water well for the City. The City acquired ownership of the entire property between 1916 and 1983.

The City currently operates and maintains a municipal drinking water supply well on the property. Interested parties must be aware that this critical piece of infrastructure, which must be protected by the Clean Water Act, and the forested areas and Torrence Creek must be protected when considering potential future uses of this property.

The City is currently spending about $110,000 to ensure the building is structurally sound and to help prevent further deterioration. These capital upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Media contact

Ian Scott, Manager, Facility Design and Construction
Facilities and Energy Management
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3496
[email protected]