Cover Photo: @natevaleriote
Downtown Guelph is the jewel in the Royal City’s crown. Its character and charm are matched only by its beauty and history.
Whether you’re arriving via the transit hub known as Guelph Central Station or making your way on foot or parking in the core, you’ll be enamored by Guelph’s street scene. With grand historic limestone buildings, murals and public art, and a long list of places to eat, shop and explore, Downtown Guelph will leave you wanting more.
Culture on Display
The downtown core is a hub of art, music and new ideas. Around every corner you can find treasure troves of art on display. Head towards the Guelph Farmers’ Market to see the Wilson Street murals and Sudden Garden deer sculpture. Make a day of it and see how many of Guelph’s Public Art Collection you can spot around downtown!
Want to get creating with your own hands and imagination? Play with Clay is for the young and the young at heart where you walk away with your own new creation. Kids can also check out the Children’s Art Factory where their creativity can run wild in many different art mediums. If you’re a musician or just have an appreciative ear, feel the rhythms of experimental and improvisational music and sound at Silence.
We can’t wait to bring back performances at the River Run Centre, evenings of laughs at an improv show at The Making-Box, a rousing Nighthawks basketball game at the Sleeman Centre or grabbing a book and some popcorn before a movie at The Bookshelf.
Take in the newest light display, Illuminate Guelph. The Wellington Building, the County of Wellington Building (Old Post Office), Old Quebec Street Shoppes, and the Guelph Civic Museum will be lit up with colourful vignettes in an after-dark experience like no other. Operating every night until Thanksgiving, this outdoor experience enables safe and accessible visits, and an opportunity for the community to connect with their city in a safe and captivating way.
A Walk Back in Time
Downtown Guelph’s robust limestone buildings harken back to an age of horse-and-buggy wagons and visitors coming off a steam train at Guelph Central Station. From the Family Fountain that stood central in St. George’s Square as early Guelph’s main thoroughfare, to the newly restored Petrie Building, to Market Square which has evolved from the original market space to a community area for all Guelphites to enjoy.
Atop the hill overlooking Guelph, the Basilica of Our Lady stands tall and is a grandiose landmark with awe-inspiring architecture and stain-glass windows. While on the hill, enjoy the view of Downtown and continue over to the Guelph Civic Museum next door. Housed in the recently renovated Loretto Convent, the museum showcases Guelph’s history through permanent and changing exhibitions, a fun and interactive family gallery and a great gift shop. Don’t miss stopping by the statue of poet and doctor John McCrae just outside the doors.
River Runs Through It
Nestled on the south-side of Downtown, Guelph’s two rivers meet in a beautiful green space with lots to explore. Walk along the Royal Recreation Trail through York Road Park and cross through the Lattice Covered Bridge to see the full perspective of the Speed River and Eramosa River coming together.
Spend an afternoon exploring the rivers with Speed River Paddling, setting out in a canoe or kayak in the waters. Enjoy a hard-earned rest with a cone from The Boathouse Ice Cream and Tea Room. Continue exploring through Royal City Park before heading back up to the downtown core.
Fresh Local Eats
Guelph is a foodie’s city. With a goal of becoming Canada’s first circular food economy and with much of our local food coming from Ontario’s Greenbelt, Guelph’s restaurants and eateries ensure the freshest food is on the table. Downtown Guelph is a hub for fine dining experience at spots like Bin 23 Restaurant, Miijidaa Café & Bistro or Sugo on Surrey. Step inside the Petrie Building and sit down for a pint at Brothers Brewing Co. Enjoy a family-style brunch at Vienna Restaurant, or de-stress with a cat and a coffee at My Kitty Café.
Patio season is poppin’! Downtown Guelph has over 30 patio’s with a wide variety of offerings for you to check out this summer and fall. Patio’s are stay up until October 31st.
Many of Guelph’s restaurants are making efforts to offer sustainable take-out options as well. Baker Street Station, The Wooly Pub and The Cornerstone all offer returnable take-out containers from A Friendlier Company.
Alongside out vast variety of dining options, is our independent local shops. There is everything you need downtown from tires for Car at Dettmer Tire & Auto Centre, to the best consignment and second-hand shops like Wild Rose, to the an amazing art supply shop like Wyndham Art Supplies to the best bike and repair shop Speed River Bicycle. Downtown Guelph has all of your shopping needs covered – check out the list here.
Downtown Guelph is one of many neighbourhoods to explore in Guelph. Enjoy outdoor activities safely, support, enjoy outdoor activities safely, support #GuelphShops, and rediscover the heart of the Royal City as you #ExploreGuelph.
2021 Visit Guelph Guide for more local inspiration.