Historical Walking Tours

GAC Historical Walking Tours are back! 2024 tours are running May through to October

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.

Thank you to all of our tour volunteer tour guides for making these beloved tours possible!

Please note: Tours are 60 – 90 minutes and all begin at 10am. Participants are required to register and pre-pay. Guides will not handle cash. Tours with less than two registrations by the Friday prior to the tour at 4 pm will be cancelled. Masking is optional but attendees are encouraged to physically distance.

Tour 1: 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.

Dates: May 5th, August 4th, and October 6th

Register here.

Tour 2: Downtown Walkabout

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.

Dates: May 26th, August 11th, September 8th

Register here.

Tour 3: 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.

Dates: May 19th, June 16th, August 18th, September 15th

Register here.

Tour 4: Altar and Hearth (Part 1: Catholic Hill and Part 2: Exhibition Park)

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. 

Dates (Part 1: Catholic Hill): June 9th, October 13th

Dates: (Part 2: Exhibition Park): July 28th, September 1st

Register here for Part 1: Catholic Hill

Register here for Part 2: Exhibition Park

Tour 5: 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.

Dates: May 12th, September 29th, July 7th

Register here.

Tour 6: 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.

Dates: June 2nd, June 23rd, September 22nd

Register here.

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.

Digital Tour Booklets (click on name to open/download)

Altar and Hearth (Catholic Hill)

Altar and Hearth (Exhibition Park)

Brooklyn and the College Hill

Downtown Walkabout

Slopes of the Speed

Ward One Guelph

Where Guelph Began

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