Priory Square

Blacksmith Fountain

Bylaw: (1988)-12731

Legal description: Lot 3, Plan 712

Designated portions

The designation affects only the following elements of the fountain, as pictured, and in the form and material current at the time the picture was taken in July, 1987. It is understood that other materials may be required in repairing these elements, in duplicating them or in reproducing earlier documented features missing in 1987.

  • The metal statue
  • The upper pedestal
  • The cast-iron upper water basin ringed by rams’ head water spouts
  • The rococo-style supporting pedestal, apparently of steel with cast-iron embellishments
  • The base of red granite, known to have been shipped from the Bay of Fundy

The designation does not affect the wide pool enclosure, the surface or landscaping of Priory Park, or the parking garage which is also located on Lot 3 of Registered Plan 712.

Because the fountain has already been moved twice, the Schedule “A” states that it “may, in future, take up other suitable prominent positions in the Central Business District of Guelph.”

Property history

The Blacksmith has been a unique and handsome public monument since its inauguration on Queen Victoria’s birthday, 1885. A symbol of industry, it was presented to the city, as the inscription on the red granite base states, by J.B. Armstrong, a prominent local carriage manufacturer.

The statue of a blacksmith, cast in a metal alloy, stands above an octagonal basin, supported by a rococo cast iron pedestal. The fountain’s water issues from the mouths of eight rams; heads that decorate the basin’s rim.

The Blacksmith stood in the centre of St. George’s Square until 1922 when, to facilitate the passage of streetcars through the Square, it was moved to Priory Square. Its position there overlooks the site where Guelph’s founder, John Galt, is said to have felled the first tree.

This beloved landmark, scheduled for restoration at the time of designation in 1988, deserves to stand as long as the Royal City remains. It is understood that some or all of the components may have to be replicated at some time in the future.