New Book on History of Guelph 

by Anna Contini

Guelph: Perspectives on a Century of Change 1900-2000 is available in soft cover for $19.95 or in hard cover for $29.95. It is available in local book stores, at, City Hall and Guelph Museums and from other local organizations.

The Guelph Historical Society set a very ambitious goal for itself five years ago. That goal was to publish a comprehensive history of Guelph during the past hundred years. Although a massive and daunting undertaking, Guelph: Perspectives on a Century of Change 1900-2000 has now been published and is available in both hard and soft cover.

The new publication brings Guelph’s printed history up to date, says Guelph Historical Society past president Ross Irwin. To celebrate Guelph’s 150th anniversary in 1977, a book depicting the history of Guelph from 1827 to 1927 was published. Rather than picking up at 1927 the new book covers the full century since the original publication was a little scant in its coverage of the early 1900s, says Irwin. Other Guelph history books have been published in recent years but they have focused primarily on early photographs and drawings.

Guelph: Perspectives on a Century of Changerepresents a pooling together of local talent, knowledge and expertise. In addition to writing the introduction, Don Coulman played a key role in pulling the publication together. Gloria Dent wrote a chapter on Cultural Life in the Twentieth Century while Steve Thorning has covered Doing Business in Guelph. Other contributors include Gil Stelter on Guelph architecture; Fred Dahms on The Growth and Planning of Guelph; Ceska Brennan on Guelph People; and Ted Mitchell and Bonnie Durtnall on the Guelph Township. Dawn Matheson also played an integral role and edited the publication in conjunction with Rosemary Anderson. Local artist Ryan Price produced the original woodcuts and the book cover is the handiwork of photographer Dave Carter. The publication was printed locally by Ampersand.
The new publication represents a major accomplishment because it is the first comprehensive book about the history of Guelph in the twentieth century. The 288-page book is almost an inch thick and contains 400 photos. Three thousand copies of the book have been printed but only 500 are in hard cover. The publication was launched on December 10, 2000, at The Bookshelf.

A number of local organizations have been very supportive of the project. For example, the Guelph Lions Club has purchased several copies of the book so that one could go to each school in the area. In addition, the City of Guelph contributed handsomely towards the project.
she Guelph Historical Society has achieved a great deal since it was founded in 1961. The organization’s primary ob#ectives are “to stimulate interest in the history of Guelph” and “to bring together individuals interested in the research, preservation, promotion and advancement of the history of the area.” The new publication serves to facilitate the above and will surely go down as one of the Society’s greatest accomplishments.