147-159 Wyndham Street North

Wellington Hotel

Bylaw: (1979)-10057

Legal description: Part Lot 45, Canada Company Survey

Designated portions

The limestone facades of the building facing Wyndham Street and Woolwich Street, excluding the ground floor store fronts and including the mansard roof, dormers, corner dome and details at the fourth floor and roof level as illustrated in the drawing (shown in by-law).

Property history

For over a century, the Wellington Hotel has been one of the essential visual anchors which contribute a monumental and distinctive character to the architecture of Guelph’s business section. It stands out as a major feature in the appearance of Upper Wyndham Street and the Trafalgar Square area and as a prominent and unusually attractive landmark, highly visible from the Eramosa Hill and from the various streets converging upon Trafalgar Square. One of Canada’s outstanding examples of the Louis-Phillipe (Second Empire) style, the building featured an elaborately-enriched mansard roof and ornamental corner dome. It appears more closely related to the boulevards of mid-19th Century Paris than to the prosaic streets of Ontario. With the combination of its impressive design, unusual triangular site, and majestic location, this hotel is a unique architectural feature for Guelph which is unparalleled in the street-scapes of Canadian cities.

The architect was Victor Stewart who designed many prominent buildings in this city during the mid-1870’s. His work gave Upper Wyndham Street much of its distinctive style and character. The structure was built of limestone from local quarries and was completed in the Fall of 1877, It succeeded the earlier Wellington Hotel which had been situated on the north side of St. George’s Square, during the period 1846-1876. The “new” Wellington Hotel was constructed for $45,000 (including land) and was financed by a joint stock company created for the purpose by seven Guelph businessmen: James Massie, John Hogg, Robert Stewart, George Sleeman, John A. Wood, Wm. Henry Mills and James Innes.

Extensive interior alterations were made in 1908 with minor changes at street level until 1971. The building retained its original exterior with minimal change until a disastrous fire, in July 1975, destroyed the roof and fourth floor with serious damage to much of the interior.

During 1979, the former Wellington Hotel is being rebuilt as an office building inside the original limestone walls. It will be capped by a mansard roof, dormers, corner dome, and details similar to the original fourth floor and roof. The interior and ground floor street fronts will be of more modern design.