Painted on the stone wall of the antique carousel found in Riverside Park, the mural captures a fantasy scene of horses and observers waiting for their turn on the merry go round. Portrayed with vibrant colours, the mural captures the timeless enjoyment the carousel continues to bring to the community. The carousel dates back to 1919 and was designed by Allan Herschall. It was purchased by the City of Guelph from Conklin & Garrett Limited of Brantford in 1970 for $6000.
The Allan Herschell Company manufactured carousels and other amusement park rides, specializing in the production of portable machines which could be used by traveling carnival operators. The company produced over 3000 hand carved wooden carousels that were shipped worldwide. The carousel in Guelph’s Riverside Park is one of only 148 antique wooden carousels still in existence in the United States and Canada today.
The carousel features three rows of jumping stallions, chariots and other figures, operating at 4.5 revolutions per minute. The carousel welcomes visitors seasonally from Victoria Day until mid-September, weather permitting.
About the artist
Greg Elliott is a graduate of the Beacon Institute of Graphic Art. He was the Exhibit Specialist at the Ontario Agricultural Museum in Milton before establishing his own visual communications company, specializing in advertising, corporate imagery, museum exhibit design, model-building, editorial and book illustration and large scale exterior murals.
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.
The carousel was in disrepair and removed from service in 1976, and a public subscription to save the carousel, led by local solicitor John Valeriote and local artist Ken Danby, began. The campaign raised $10,000 and a Wintario grant for $10,000 was also received to help the cause in 1978. Guelph Correction Centre residents rebuilt and repainted horses, chariots, and scenery on the carousel using a colour scheme developed by Danby, and the ride reopened in 1979.
Riverside Park, 709 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario N1H 7G6