Guelph’s downtown is rich in history with the towering limestone buildings on nearly every corner. But it is along Douglas Street, one of downtown’s more intimate areas, where you feel like you’ve stepped back to another, simpler time. So much so, that CBC’s popular turn-of-the-century detective, William Murdoch, has been seen on this street during filming of the TV show Murdoch Mysteries. As a small stretch between Wyndham and Woolwich Streets, Douglas Street is packed with gems to discover.
If you could turn back time
As mentioned, Douglas Street acts as a perfect period backdrop with its many historic buildings. St. George’s Anglican Church is framed at the end of the street with its emerald coloured spire piercing into the sky. Access the Church and Douglas Street via the Heffernan Street Footbridge for a bird’s eye view over the Speed River.
Once on Douglas Street be sure to take a step back and take in the architecture of these buildings. Douglas Street was not on the city’s original survey plan, and was added as a connector to the County’s court house and offices. The two stone buildings at 15 and 25-27 Douglas Street were built between the mid and late 1800s and still resides on the street as buildings of historic and architectural interest. Further down, towards the mouth of the street, the Gummer Building towers four stories with its limestone facade, home to the Bell Telephone Company at the turn of the century.
Tip: Don’t miss the small, inlaid Elizabethan Revival style building at 18 Douglas St. Hidden amongst the sea of limestone, this building stands out with its quaint village charm.
Treats along the street
Continuing up the street your taste buds are in for a feast. First, stop at Wellington Cakes, Guelph’s first boutique cake shop with a storefront. Be sure to pick up a decadently decorated cupcake in the café.
Hop across the street to Red Brick Café for lunch and a latte, offering a great eclectic atmosphere with a sitting room surrounded by vibrant art (and maybe some live music!).
Tip: There are some hidden wall art pieces surrounding Red Brick Café! Follow past the clever fox for some guerilla art in unsuspecting nooks.
Finally, make time for a sit-down meal at Buon Gusto as you enter St. George’s Square for a true Italian dining experience. Paired with some vino, their wood oven pizza is not to be missed.
Holiday shop hop
With the countdown on to the holidays, Douglas Street offers some great spots for those last minute gifts. Stop in at Creative Edge’s pop-up holiday shop for hand-made crafts and décor by local artisans, rustic gifts and furniture, and custom gift baskets.
Steps outside of Douglas Street, continue on to the Old Quebec Street Shoppes for a fully immersive holiday experience. Chocolates, clothes, greenery and more are available – and maybe a visit from Santa.