Legal description: Being Gow’s Bridge and shown as “bridge”, Registered Plan 554, and located in the City of Guelph, in the county of Wellington and the Province of Ontario, on McCrae Boulevard (formerly Wellington Street as dedicated by Registered Plan 8, Canada Company Survey) at the Speed River, being 90 metres north of Water Street and adjacent to the north-east limit of parcel “A” according to Registered Plan 544.
The designation affects all elements of the south and middle spans of the bridge and the piers, all of which are of stone construction, as well as the concrete foundations, but does not include the more recent north span which is of steel beam construction.
This stone arch bridge remains as the only surviving example of several stone bridges which once crossed Guelph’s rivers. The bridge was built for the City Council in 1897 by Daniel Keleher, a local contractor. It replaced the original bridge constructed at this site in 1852, to provide an alternate means of access over the Speed River towards the Town of Dundas, thus circumventing the payment of tolls on the Guelph and Dundas Road. Both bridges were known locally as Gow’s Bridge due to their location beside Gow’s Mill, a woolen mill and tannery owned by the prominent Guelph businessman and politician Peter Gow. Gow, a former Guelph mayor also served in the Provincial Legislative Assembly, representing Wellington South from 1867-1876. Today this unique remnant of Guelph’s stone heritage lends considerable charm and character to one of the City’s public parks.