The open space around the Old Guelph Reformatory, affectionately (and unofficially) known as the Old Refomatory lands, are an attractive area in the city that a lot of people would like to see protected. That’s why council passed an initiative last summer to study the area as a possible heritage district, and if you’ve been itching for your chance to offer your two cents, your time is finally here!
Starting right now, and on until June 22, you can tell the City of Guelph your thoughts about the land and share your stories, but if you’re looking for something more formal, there will be a virtual open house on Wednesday June 8 from 6:30 to 8 pm. You can now register to receive the link to attend the open house here.
As previously discussed earlier this month at a Heritage Guelph meeting, the study of the potential heritage district covers the protection of assets with Cultural Heritage Value, the community heritage conservation objectives, relationships between collective memory and spaces, and designs for future buildings, landscapes and developments.
In the process, the consultants hired by the City, WSP Consulting, will also look at all relevant policies for the area and examine its history, while doing an inventory of cultural heritage assets and a boundary analysis.
All this work is just phase one of the heritage district project. After a subsequent public information session in July, a draft report and a final version of study is expected to come back to council sometime before the end of the year. If council votes to proceed to phase two, the recommendations of the phase one report will form the basis of the formal heritage conservation district plan.
Last June, city council passed a motion designating the Ontario Reformatory lands with a part IV heritage designation per the staff recommendation, and then they unanimously endorsed an additional recommendation to investigate a part V designation, which would not just protect the heritage attributes of the thousands acres at 785 York Road, but turn it into a potential heritage district.
Presently, the only heritage district in Guelph is the Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage District, which encompasses much of the area along the Gordon Street corridor between the Speed River and the University of Guelph campus.