Ward 5 Hero: Peter Gow

It’s time for a little #TBT twist on our weekly Ward 5 hero!   There have been many individuals throughout Guelph’s history who have shaped our city — and Ward 5 in particular.  One of those individuals was Peter Gow.  This week’s Ward 5 hero was born in Johnstone, Scotland in 1818.

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Gow arrived in Guelph around 1850, acquiring land on the south side of the Speed River where he built a mill and a tannery.  It was the first industrial complex in what would later become Ward 5, which opened up the land for rapid residential development to house workers for his mills, quarries for building stone, estate lots, and access to agricultural land to support the growing city population.  He built a wooden bridge across the river where the mill pond was constructed, which was later replaced by the stone one-lane bridge still present today, known as Gow’s Bridge.

Gow was active in local politics, serving on the school board, town council and served as a reeve and mayor.  In 1867, the year of Confederation, he was Guelph’s first Member of Parliament, and was re-elected in 1871 and 1875 to serve the riding of Wellington South.  He was the first Provincial Secretary and Registrar of Ontario.  Most significantly, during the time of this provincial appointment in 1872, the Government of Ontario chose Guelph as the site of the new Ontario Agricultural College.  The presence of the University of Guelph is a key feature of Ward 5 today.

Gow died in Guelph in 1886.  His presence in Ward 5 is still felt today, which makes him a worthy Ward 5 hero.

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Gow’s Mill and Bridge, prior to 1890.  Image from McCord Museum (M991.9.2.164), Quebec.

 

 

EVENT: Rockin’ the Square

Guelph knows how to put on a show!  Add some local music and a charitable cause and voila!  It’s a party, Guelph style.

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Thanks to the hard work of city staff, who started coordinating a plan the minute CBC announced the public broadcast, the final Tragically Hip concert live from Kingston will be screened in Market Square on Saturday, August 20!  The event starts at 7:30 pm with live music (Myke Rush at 7:30 pm and Speakeasies at 8:00 pm), followed by the concert broadcast starting at 8:30 pm.

The Canadian Cancer Society will also be on site accepting donations.

Full event details can be found here.

 

Ward 5 Hero: Barbara Bryce

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The Guelph Little Theatre building is a whole lot more colourful these days, thanks to our latest Ward 5 hero Barbara Bryce.   Barbara has a long history of involvement in the local arts and theatre.  Originally trained as a landscape architect, she has a natural eye for creative urban landscapes.

Barb-portrait-2015-203x300This summer, Barb worked with young artists at the Guelph School of Art “Street Art “Camp to create youth-inspired murals at the Guelph Little Theatre.  The concrete canvas has been transformed into vibrant “street art” murals that will help to deter unwelcome graffiti on the building and add a boost of colour to the landscape.  Barb is also an active volunteer with the Guelph Little Theatre where she paints sets for their many stage productions, as well as creating sets for Sue Smith’s Season Singers Theatrical Children’s Choir Productions.

Barb is a self-taught stained glass artist and since 2010, she has organized the “Glass in the Music Centre”,  an annual group show for glass artists that brightens the windows of the upstairs foyer of the Guelph Youth Music Centre.  Her work can also been seen brightening the windows of the Guelph Public Library downtown during their annual exhibit of stained glass work.

Barb is also an assistant Tai Chi teacher with the Guelph Tai Chi for Health group.

Thank you Barb, for making our city a more colourful and vibrant place to live.  Truly a deserving Ward 5 hero!

 

Ward 5 Heroes: Guelph Black Heritage Society

Ward 5 Heroes: Guelph Black Heritage Society

The importance of Black Heritage in Guelph came to prominence in 2011 when the British Methodist Episcopal (BME) Church on Essex Street came up for sale. The Guelph Black Heritage Society (GBHS) was founded to preserve the historical BME Church and create a ‘cultural, historical and social centre within Guelph and Wellington County.’ The BME Church was built in 1880 by the many black people living in the Essex/Nottingham street neighbourhood. Since the purchase in 2012 , there have been many celebrations of Black Heritage in our community at what is now known as ‘Heritage Hall’. Thank you to the GBHS for creating such a wonderful ‘sense of place’ in our community to honour our collective past!

We can all celebrate Emancipation Day this weekend –

The Guelph Black Heritage Society and Silence Sounds invites friends and
families to celebrate Emancipation Day on Saturday August 6, 2016

1pm – 2pm Drumming Circle at Silence Sounds (46 Essex Street). Drums will
be provided.

2pm – 3pm Community Barbeque and Unveiling of Heritage Plaque at Heritage
Hall (83 Essex Street)

3pm – 4pm Musical Performance by Gary Diggins and Friends, Spoken Word by
Kevin Sutton at Silence Sounds (46 Essex Street)

Ward 5 Hero: Jan Sherman

Ward 5 Hero: Jan Sherman

For over 20 years Jan has been reminding us not only of those who were once here but of those who are still here. As a First Nations woman herself, she has been supporting the First Nations, Me’tis and Inuit community to have a voice by sharing authentic information about their history. Jan does this locally and globally as teacher/learner, storyteller, drummer, singer and First Nations culture keeper. Here in Guelph she is frequently seen at opening ceremonies providing the traditional welcome and territorial acknowledgement. Jan is also a Family Literacy Coordinator and Women’s Group Facilitator at Action Read as well as a support for the Aboriginal Resource Centre at the University of Guelph. She will be teaching First Nations culture and traditions in both school systems this year. Jan passionately and humbly believes that she is doing what she is meant to be doing in this lifetime and is grateful for our communities acceptance. We are grateful to you too Jan!

Ward 5 Heroes: Lisa Kahn and Ruth Haley

Ward 5 Heroes: Lisa Kahn and Ruth Haley

Lisa Kahn and Ruth Haley truly exemplify the meaning of grassroots community leadership. When the Hydro corridor in Silvercreek Park was clear cut last fall the surrounding community was presented with a vision of how the space could be transformed into a meadow of grasses and wildflowers that would benefit both the community and the environment. Ruth and Lisa worked tirelessly to organize the community to plant wildflowers and shrubs in the corridor. Their work didn’t end there! Due to a dry spring they were busy organizing the watering of these plants as well as the pulling of invasive garlic mustard weeds. They have inspired their families and neighbours to join them in nurturing this new space. They also know the fruits of their labour will not be fully expressed for a few years though we can already see lovely Black-eyed Susans sprinkled throughout the meadow. Many children have joined their parents in the work of environmental stewardship, like Lisa’s children, Avery and Grayson, pictured here. Thank you Lisa and Ruth for your leadership!