Public art conservation and restoration

The City is committed to preserving and protecting its collection of indoor and outdoor public art for future generations.

Exposure to harsh weather conditions and pollution are the biggest threats to the City’s outdoor collection. Maintenance and preventative work is performed to ensure artworks do not deteriorate prematurely or become a safety concern, but in some cases, conservation or restoration is required.

Examples of restoration work


IODE Memorial Fountain

Before restoration

After restoration

Alex from Conservation of Sculptures, Monuments and Objects (CSMO) treated this designated heritage asset in August of 2019.

The fountain was cleaned to remove bio growth and grime, and cracks in the foundation and base of the fountain, formerly sealed with a failing lime-based mortar, were replaced with a flexible polyurethane sealant, which was dressed with crushed stone and sand to match the appearance of the traditional mortar.

Due to significant, unsightly peeling of paint on the wooden roof, the entire roof was repainted.

The metal plaque was also cleaned and the lettering was highlighted by sanding.



Alex from CSMO – Conservation of Sculptures Monuments and Objects, and his assistant Brittany, spent a week onsite at River Run Centre at the end of July. With input from the artist, Peter Johnston, they cleaned the wall and treated areas that were stained, scratched or discoloured, and repaired and reattached areas that had come away from their backings. Panels were realigned and the piece’s structural integrity was assessed and confirmed.

Brittany from CSMO smooths away air pockets trapped under the copper panel while the adhesive works its magic


After receiving a structural assessment by Tacoma Engineers it was found that the head and neck of the Garbasaurus were loose and needed to be re-welded in spots. Rosmar Welding helped steady the beloved sculpture using repurposed metal supports to keep with the overall aesthetic of the piece.

Statue made from garbage in Royal City Park

Fabio from Rosmar Welding reinforces the welds on the Garbasaurus’ head and neck

A Community Coming Together

The protective glass cover, which was installed after the mosaic’s vandalization in 2008, was removed and the mosaic cleaned by City staff. Barber Glass removed the three glass panels, cleaned them and replaced them just in time for the Enabling Garden’s Annual General Meeting in mid-June.

artwork covered in debris

Mosaic before

Cleaned and restored view of the mosaic artwork, all debris is gone

Mosaic after


Antique carousel mural

The Riverside Park carousel mural was updated in 2017 by artist Greg Elliot, the mural’s original painter. In addition to regular wear and tear, one face on the mural had been a routine target for graffiti and the artist thought perhaps it was something about the woman’s face that rubbed people the wrong way. With this in mind, he opted to adjust her features slightly to see if it might help protect the mural against future threats of vandalism.

Photo by Jessica Lovell, Guelph Mercury Tribune

The Family Fountain

The Family Fountain and Sculpture, along with the fountain’s plaque and frog drinking spout were cleaned, re-patinated to achieve the originally intended finish, and hot waxed for additional protection. The work was done by Alexander Gabov and his assistant Anna from Conservation of Sculptures, Monuments and Objects (CSMO) out of Ganonoque.

Family fountain – before

Family fountain – after

Family fountain plaque – before

Family fountain plaque – after

Family fountain frog – before

Family fountain frog – after


McCrae Memorial Memorial

Key elements of the McCrae Memorial, along with a series of historic plaques, located at McCrae House, were restored to coincide with the McCrae commemoration celebrations. This work was completed by Craig Johnson Restorations out of Ottawa.

McCrae House Memorial, Bronze Book: before

McCrae House Memorial, Bronze Book: after

McCrae House Plaque: before

McCrae House Plaque: after


War Memorial

Extensive restoration to the War Memorial’s bronze elements took place along with repairs to the granite base. This work was completed by Craig Johnson Restorations out of Ottawa.

McCrae House Memorial

Substantial masonry repairs helped to reinforce and preserve the McCrae House Memorial. This work was completed by Burpee Stone Masonry out of Guelph.

Masonry work underway on McCrae House Memorial


Two of Guelph’s most recognized public art works were restored, the Family Fountain and the Blacksmith Fountain.

The Blacksmith Fountain

Blacksmith Fountain: before (left), after (right)

The Family Fountain

Family Fountain: before (left), after (right)

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