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About the study
The City of Guelph is doing a heritage conservation district study for downtown Guelph.
In 2021, Council approved the recommendations of the Cultural Heritage Action Plan which included this priority: For Old Downtown, undertake a comprehensive strategy, including community consultation, to direct future cultural heritage conservation efforts and planned change.
The provincial government’s More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, significantly changed the structure of municipal heritage registers. As a result, all properties currently listed on the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties must be removed by January 1, 2025. About 1,700 properties will lose protections, with 120 of these properties located in downtown Guelph.
To protect key cultural heritage resources within downtown Guelph, the City is completing this study to determine the suitability for a heritage conservation district in the commercial core of downtown Guelph.
We encourage the community to follow and get involved with this project. Engagement opportunities will be posted under latest updates.
Downtown Guelph Heritage Focus Group (DGHFG)
Applications have now closed and residents of the community have been chosen to participate in a focus group that will provide input at key points of the project to help the project team (City staff and the City’s consultant team) understand the community’s opinion about this project. The DGHFG will identify concerns, bring forward information on existing and future considerations, and provide feedback on work completed to guide the study.
The DGHFG will gather four times between 2023 and 2025.
The first meeting was held virtually in September 2023.
Our focus group participants are people who self-identify as belonging to the following groups:
- Downtown Guelph Business Association
- Urban Indigenous community
- Study area property owners
- Study area tenants
- Guelph Black Historical Society
- Resident at large
- Local historian
There will be other opportunities for the community to provide feedback. Please stay tuned for more information.
Take our survey
We’d also like the broader community to share their thoughts and ideas. Please visit Have Your Say to learn more and take our survey.
This project is divided into two phases. Both include a mixture of technical and engagement tasks.
Phase 1: Heritage Conservation District Study
The purpose of the Phase 1 Study is to determine if the Downtown Guelph Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Study area merits designation as a heritage conservation district according to Ontario Heritage, provincial guidelines, and municipal policies. Like the Ontario Reformatory Heritage Conservation District Study, this phase will include detailed background research and community engagement.
The map below shows the proposed full HCD Study area. It consists of a singular swath of land, occupying the historic centre of Downtown Guelph. The area is loosely bounded by the Speed River/Quebec Street to the north, Neeve Street to the east, Farquhar Street to the south, and Norfolk/Wyndham Streets to the west. The area contains the main commercial and office district of the historic centre; the main municipal, administrative and institutional centre; prominent civic spaces; a premiere entertainment venue; and recreational amenities along the edge of the Speed River.
The Phase 1 Study will assess the historical, design and contextual value of the study area; identify contributing and non-contributing properties and resources, review existing policy framework in the area (e.g., Downtown Secondary Plan, Downtown Guelph Streetscapes Manual, Built Form Standards, Official Plan Amendment 80, etc.). Additionally, the Phase 1 Study will include community engagement to help the project team further understand the community’s experience of the area and inform the recommended heritage conservation district boundary.
Phase 2: Heritage Conservation District Plan
Should Council approve the recommendations of the Phase 1 Study, Phase 2 would begin and a HCD Plan and Guidelines will be prepared according to Part V, Section 41 of the Ontario Heritage Act. The Plan would build on the recommendations of the Study and provide guidelines for managing change in ways that highlight and conserve the distinct cultural heritage character of the area.
A report detailing the results of the Phase 1 Study will be presented to Council in 2024.
For more information
Please contact the Project Manager for the HCD Study for more information:
Heritage Planner, Planning and Building Services
Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services
519-822-1260 extension 2521