The History of Ward 5
When Guelph was founded in 1827, residential construction began almost immediately. The clearing of Gordon and Waterloo Streets were among the first areas cleared for settlement in 1827. The first log and frame homes began to rise along Farquhar, Essex, Nottingham, and Surrey Streets, on both sides of Gordon. Lot 1 was purchased on August 11, 1827 by James D. Oliver, who built Guelph’s first stone house, which stood approximately on the corner of Farquhar St. W. and Gordon Street. Guelph’s first bakery was operating by September 1827, by Mr. Samuel Wright, on the Dundas Road (now Gordon Street) where it crosses the Speed River. The bakery was “open air, built of limestone”. The city limit to the south was where the rise of the hill began (approximately Forbes Avenue). Guelph Township surrounded the fledgling town, ending at Stone Road, where Puslinch Township began.
The neighbourhood development along Gordon Street, between Waterloo Avenue at the Speed River, is the oldest residential area of the city. This neighbourhood still contains a treasure trove of historic gems — the stone cobblers shop (on Nottingham behind the Drop In Centre), the cider mill (96 Essex), McLean House (21 Nottingham), and many finely built stone cottages. The “Red Lion” inn and tavern built in 1841, currently being restored on the northwest corner of Fountain and Gordon Street, is now used for apartments.
In 1851, when the first Town Council was elected, Edwin Hubbard represented the South Ward. Guelph was divided into four wards – namely East, West, North and South, with one councillor each.
In 1856, each ward elected three representatives. The South Ward was served by William Day, Peter Gow and William Atkins.
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