Impressions of Historic Guelph

Petrie Building, 1882
The abandoned Petrie Building immediately captured my attention.

Last week I spent a morning in Guelph, Ontario, after cycling all the way there from Hamilton the previous day. Not knowing what there was to see, I biked around downtown, keeping an eye out for historic features of the urban landscape.

The most unusual heritage property in downtown Guelph is the Petrie Building, built in 1882. It was originally a pharmacy, as indicated by the mortar and pestle on the pediment. The galvanized iron facade is one of only three in Canada predating the 1890s.

A.B. Petrie Building in greyscale
A mysterious sight in downtown Guelph.

Despite its historic status the building is mostly boarded up, a consequence of neglect by the current owners, who operate a Greek restaurant out of the ground floor. Apparently the building has been sold as of just recently so it might not remain in this condition for long. Read more about this building here, here, and here.

A sign that hasn’t been seen in ages
A sign that hasn’t been seen in ages.

Just around the corner I noticed several workers carting debris out of another historic building, the Regent Hotel, which dates back to 1883. It was formerly the home of a series of nightclubs—Trasheteria and more recently Club Vinyl—and is now undergoing renovations to transform the space into a restaurant. The tiles over the door probably haven’t seen daylight in decades.

Royal City Church, Guelph
Royal City Church, Guelph.

Downtown Guelph seems to have a church on almost every corner. One among these is the Royal City Church, pictured above. It doesn’t appear to be one of the more famous churches in the city so I haven’t found too much information about it. Built in 1873 as the Chalmers United Church, it is probably the oldest thing in this post.

Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate, Guelph
Adorned in sunflowers outside the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph.

The Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate is the most famous house of worship in the city and one of Guelph’s most iconic landmarks. Also built in 1883, it is situated on a modest hill at one end of the downtown stretch.

Guelph stone work
Stone work on the side of a house in Guelph.

Finally, to round things out, I captured a photograph of some stone work on the side of a house on Paisley Street that appealed to me.

Not bad for a quick spin around the old town, wouldn’t you say?