Guelph Historic Downtown
in Photos

by Anna Contini

The Wellington Hotel on Wyndham Street in the early 1970s, prior to the 1975 fire.

This winter, downtown Guelph will pay tribute to its rich past by displaying an impressive collection of historical photographs. The exhibition has been organized by Guelph Museums in co-operation with the Downtown Board of Management and the City of Guelph. Photos of downtown Guelph were selected from the museum’s collection of over 6000 historical photographs, and reproduced in a larger format to be displayed in storefront windows.
Wherever possible the historical photo bears some relationship to the current business. For example, a photo of Old City Hall during Market Day is being displayed at the Guelph Storm office on Carden Street, and one of Palmer’s Livery can be seen at the Mercury office because this was the Livery’s original location. Other interesting photos include a 1930s view of St. George’s Square in the window of the Hellar & Moisan Shoe Store on Wyndham Street, and a glimpse of a 1960s paint store that occupied the current Duncan McPhee building on the corner of Quebec and Norfolk Streets.
The purpose of the project has been to raise awareness of the variety of businesses and richness of architecture in the downtown while encouraging appropriate restorations and renovations. Guelph Museums Director Laurence Grant has been delighted with the overall response, noting that there were numerous unanticipated requests for photos.
Locals and visitors alike will have the opportunity to take in the photo display until March, and are encouraged to pick up a brochure at participating businesses. For more information, contact Guelph Museums (519) 836-1221.