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Creating a Vision for Guelph’s New Main Library - A Conversation with Steve Kraft

by Patti Broughton


I had the opportunity to attend the Baker Street Redevelopment open house on November 29 at the River Run Centre. The vision for this mixed-use private and major institutional development is as a northern anchor for the downtown. It will provide a high profile location for a new main branch of Guelph Public Library, a residential tower, an institutional partner, commercial space, an urban square, and parking. I went to the meeting as the Director of Guelph Arts Council, which advocates for and supports cultural initiatives, including creative spaces.

GPL new library Windmill concept drawing
Artist's Rendering:  Baker District
Winter view of public square from library.   
Windmill Developments, Urban Equation, Diamond Schmitt and DTAH Architects

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Gordon Hill Press: Guelph's Brand New Literary Publisher

by Jeremy Luke Hill


Growing up in Guelph as a reader and a writer and book lover, it always seemed sad to me that we didn’t have a publisher in the city. There was no trade publisher (because, I was told, we were too small and too close to Toronto), no university press (because Guelph was originally founded as an agricultural college rather than an academic institution), and no literary publisher closer than Erin (for reasons that nobody could quite explain to me). I eventually discovered that there was an office of Broadview Press in town, and there have been some very small presses and publishers of various sorts sprout and fade over the years (including some ongoing ventures that I’ve had a hand in), but nothing that engaged in a national conversation about books and literature.

This past spring I thought I had an opportunity to do something about that. I knew that The Porcupine’s Quill press in Erin was for sale, and circumstances seemed to make buying it a possibility. Nothing came of those negotiations in the end, but my friend Shane Neilson and I had already put so much work into preparing for that purchase, that we decided to venture out on our own and found a brand new, nationally distributed, literary publisher.

And so Gordon Hill Press was born, with Shane as the editor and me as the publisher.

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Jeremy Luke Hill, co-founder of Gordon Hill Press (image courtesy of the artist)

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Beading Our Identity: “The Flower Beadwork People”

by Emily Hearn


When European settlers came to Turtle Island and began marrying the First Peoples here, an entirely unique nation was born. The children of these first marriages had to uncover their own place in this world. It was a complicated task, to balance the almost oppositional heritages passed down to them, and then to pass their distinct new culture down to their own children.

Navigating the territory between the old ways of Indigenous ancestors and the new ideas of the European immigrants was by no means easy. At times, attempts at forging an identity in the country were a brutal endeavour. Villages were burned down, leaders were hanged, battles were waged, and children were snatched away to residential schools. Despite repeated attempts to stifle the emerging culture, the young people proved resilient. But still, it is difficult to build a brand new culture, especially in the face of such resistance.

And so we, the Métis, beaded ourselves into the fabric of Canada’s history.

At this point, many Indigenous women were decorating clothing and items with dyed porcupine quills, which mostly limited them to making geometric shapes and designs. However, Métis children learned from the Grey Nuns (soeurs grises) how to do French silk embroidery, which emphasized the delicate floral patterns that were very popular in Europe.

A purple quillwork and beadwork flower by 4 Sisters Métis Beadwork.

The Métis combined this new design knowledge with the traditional quillwork used in the communities of the First Peoples. From this blend, the distinctive Métis beadwork style emerged. They would use coloured seed beads to create vibrant, textured images of flowers, which stood out from the styles that had existed prior. Thus, the Métis became known as “the flower beadwork people.”

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Recipient Named for the 2018 Guelph Arts Council Youth Opportunities Award

Guelph, ONDecember 18, 2018 – Guelph Arts Council is pleased to announce that the 2018 Youth Opportunities Award goes to Queer Youth Arts Guelph, a group seeking “to make Guelph a more inclusive city for everyone,” and more specifically “to provide a platform for youth to speak their minds in creative ways.”

Led by three Centennial Collegiate Grade 12 students, Victoria Johnson, Charlotte McAren-Cayer, and Carling Serran, the group requested assistance in presenting an arts showcase event in February 2019 to coincide with winter Pride. They are inviting young queer artists aged 13 to 20 from all backgrounds and skill levels to submit a wide range of art, including film, painting, photography, music, creative writing, even stand-up comedy. Geared specifically to youth, the showcase will put “their voices in the spotlight,” rather than being included “as an afterthought”. It will also encourage youth to participate in order to engage with young artists around them, and even inspire some to create and exhibit art for the first time.

The award jury commended Queer Youth Arts Guelph for an original, innovative idea that is very much in the spirit of the Youth Opportunities Award, filling an identified gap and encouraging young people to engage in the arts. Jury members also appreciated that this showcase is a “youth-led queer arts project for youth!”

Established in 2009 to take the place of a previous youth awards program dating back to 1982, the Guelph Arts Council Youth Opportunities Award is intended to encourage programs that will initiate, enhance or expand opportunities for children and youth in Guelph and Wellington County to experience or become engaged in the arts. Funds for the award come from the Guelph Arts Council Youth Opportunities Fund managed by The Guelph Community Foundation.

For more information about the Youth Opportunities Award program and Guelph Arts Council, please visit guelpharts.ca, phone 519-836-3280, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or drop by our office at 10C Shared Space, 42 Carden Street, Guelph. For more information about the Queer Youth Arts Guelph showcase, visit  https://www.instagram.com/queeryouthart/


About Guelph Arts Council:
For over forty years, Guelph Arts Council has been dedicated to supporting, stimulating and promoting arts and culture in Guelph. Guelph Arts Council is funded in part by The Guelph Community Foundation and City of Guelph. We also acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and our annual sponsor Meridian.

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View recipient photo: Charlotte McAren-Cayer, Carling Serran, Victoria Johnson

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