Residents and visitors can learn about Guelph’s history while taking in the beautiful architectural and natural features of the city through six different Historical Walking Tours. GAC has been promoting the cultural heritage of Guelph through these tours for more than 30 years.
2023 Tours- Please check back in April for 2023 tour dates
Please note: Tours are 60 – 90 minutes. Participants are required to register and pre-pay. Guides will not handle cash. Tours with less than two registrations by the previous Friday at 4 pm will be cancelled. Masking is optional but attendees are encouraged to physically distance.
Where Guelph Began Tour
This tour encircles the original Market Square area of almost twenty-four acres laid out by John Galt in 1827. Serving as the focal point for Guelph’s early social and business life, the area also contains the sites of many of Guelph’s first buildings.
The present downtown centre of Guelph, with its wide main street, provides a compact walking tour, which includes many buildings and sites of considerable historical and architectural interest.
Slopes of the Speed
Participants will explore the slopes of the Speed River between Norwich and Macdonell Streets, where many of Guelph’s largest and most distinguished historic homes are located.
Altar and Hearth
Visitors will get a glimpse of the Victorian era in Guelph. Covering the area west of Norfolk Street, between Essex Street and London Road, the tour includes several historic stone churches and many historic homes representing a variety of architectural styles.
Brooklyn and the College Hill
Participants will be taken to the south side of the Speed River to explore one of Guelph’s early industrial sections, formerly known as Brooklyn, as well as the College Hill area that developed around the Ontario Agricultural College. The tour includes some of the city’s best examples of masonry and stone carving.
Ward one Tour
This tour of the area southeast of the downtown, between the Speed and Eramosa Rivers, reveals the rich variety of historic architecture and the diversity of peoples who formed Guelph. Particular attention is devoted to residential/industrial proximity and the city’s early Italian community.
Walking Tour Booklets
Historical Walking Tour booklets are available at Guelph Arts Council (by appointment) and at The Bookshelf for $5 each. Booklets offer historical information and architectural drawings for self-guided tours and make wonderful keepsakes. You may also open/download digital versions of booklets by clicking on their names below.
Interested in a private tour for your group? Contact us at [email protected] or 519-836-3280.
Sponsored by Sleeman Breweries and SV Law
Digital Tour Booklets (click on name to open/download)
Altar and Hearth (Catholic Hill)
Altar and Hearth (Exhibition Park)