Harvard Road Buses – too many?

Harvard Road currently carries 9 buses an hour during peak times. The residents of Harvard Road have been advocating for a reduction in the number of buses. One of the buses is an express to the University and many believe it could be diverted to Stone Road.

On April 4th, the Public Services Committee will be discussing a staff report which explores a number of options. The recommended option is to reroute #57 to use Stone Road westbound for a trial period – Sept 2016 to April 2017. Public consultation will be part of the trial.

Here is the report: http://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/040416_ps_agenda.pdf

If you wish to speak to the committee on April 4th please register with the Clerk’s Department clerks@guelph.ca before Monday, April 4th at 11:00. You will be given 5 minutes.

You may provide written feedback as well by sending it to the clerks@guelph.ca by 11:00 on Monday, April 4th. Please also copy Councillor Cathy Downer as Chair of the Public Services Committee -cathy.downer@guelph.ca

Footsteps in Ward 5: Peterson Creek

Ward 5 is filled with special places.  Is there a unique place, person, building, or geographical feature about which you would like to know more?  Email me your question and I will do my best to tell the story…

The first installment of our new series “Footsteps in Ward 5” is the story of Peterson Creek.   You’ve probably heard of Silver Creek, Howitt Creek, Hadati Creek and Clythe Creek….but where is Peterson Creek?



Peterson Creek trickles in the Speed River near Gow’s Bridge.


Peterson Creek is a buried creek that runs through the Old University Neighbourhood, with its forked headwaters on University of Guelph land near McGilvray Street.  The underground creek winds its way along Rodney Boulevard and Woodside Road towards the Speed River, cutting diagonally at a northerly angle across the ravine at 94 Maple Street towards Forest Hill Drive.  It follows Forest Hill Drive and enters the Speed River between Forest Hill Drive and Gow’s Bridge.



Peter Creek, based on a map by cartographer and environmental consultant Jeremy Shute.



During the spring, the creek has a consistent  flow, which reduces to a trickle during the summer months.  The engineered storm sewer system collects much of the rainwater that would once have flowed into the creek prior to development.  The outlet into the Speed River is the only remaining evidence that the creek still exists.









Peterson Creek outlet in the Speed River, 2016.


The creek takes its name from the Peterson family — three generations of Petersons lived on the sprawling estate known as Ulmenwald where the creek makes its way to the Speed River.  The boundaries of the former Peterson property were modern-day Forest Street to the south, Maple Street to the west, Water Street to the north and Mary Street to the east.  On the 1856 map below, you can see the ravine sketched across the property.  The footprint of the former Ulmenwald house is roughly where 9 Wolfond Crescent is located today.


Boundary of the Peterson estate, 1856 Map of Guelph, Guelph Civic Museum.


The Peterson Creek “spring”. Photo courtesy of Peterson Family.


Prior to development of the neighbourhood in the 1940s and 50s, the creek fed an above-ground spring, roughly located at the base of the ravine near the intersection of Forest Hill Drive and James Street.



The story of Ulmenwald and its builder — Henry William (Bill) Peterson — is an interesting one.  Bill Peterson’s father (Henry William, Esq. Sr.) operated the first German language newspaper in Canada.  His mother Harriet Clayton, was sister of the U.S. Secretary of State, John Clayton of Delaware.  They moved to Guelph in 1842 when H.W. Peterson Sr. was appointed as the Registrar for the united Counties of Waterloo, Wellington, and Grey.


H.W. (Bill) Peterson and wife Emma Grange, 1860. Photo courtesy of the Peterson Family.

Henry W. Jr. (Bill) Peterson was one of Guelph’s most prominent citizens.  He served as Mayor of Guelph (1863), city councillor (1861-1866) Chairman of the Guelph Board of Education (43 years), County Crown Attorney (49 years) and Reeve of Wellington County.  He operated a law partnership with Andrew Lemon, father of songwriter Laura Lemon.  He married Emma Grange, daughter of Lt. Colonel (Sheriff) George J. Grange.  Their marriage was dissolved by an Act of Parliament, one of the first recorded divorces in Canada.  H.W. (Bill) divorced his wife and mother of his six children — Douglass, William, Ellen, Clayton, John Dieter and Margaret — as a result of her scandalous extramarital affair with a local doctor.  Peterson put his legal skills to work to sue the doctor for ‘alienation of affections’ resulting in a substantial financial settlement.


The Peterson home, Ulmenwald, was built between 1854 and 1856, and has been described as “one of the most picturesque homes in the Province of Ontario.”  It was a sprawling, architecturally complex residence, containing elements of Gothic Revival, Jacobean, Greek Revival and Victorian styles.


Ulmenwald, south elevation (facing the Speed River), circa 1860s

Ulmenwald featured four wings, totaling 28 rooms, including seven+ bedrooms, a library, billiard room, two kitchens, two dining rooms, a study, sun room, servant’s quarters, several porches, garden conservatory, stables, carriage house, and Guelph’s first recorded spring-fed swimming pools.


Ulmenwald, east elevation, circa 1870. Photo courtesy of the Peterson Family.

The house was passed down to his son Clayton, who raised his family there until the 1940s, when the property was sold to Thomas Bedford in 1944, for development of the “Bedford Park” subdivision on McCrae Blvd and Forest Hill Drive.  The sale of the remaining land in 1948 to Joseph Wolfond signalled the end of an era.  In August 1952, Wolfond demolished the house and all of its outbuildings to develop Wolfond Crescent.

Today, there is no trace of Ulmenwald, other than the outlet of Peterson Creek at the Speed River.

Interested in reading more about the Peterson’s and Ulmenwald?   Here’s a copy of the full article I wrote for publication in the 2007 issue of Historic Guelph.


We Need Bold OMB Reform

On Monday, March 21st, I will be bringing forward a motion to put the province on notice that municipalities want to see significant and substantial reform of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Many municipalities across Ontario are passing similar motions.

The City of Guelph and the Province approved our Official Plan in 2012 after a lengthy and inclusive public engagement process. Four years later we still cannot implement our community’s vision and aspirations because of appeals to the OMB. Residents have a very difficult time participating in the OMB process due to the costs and complexity of procedures. Staff time and resources spent defending local planning decisions at the OMB significantly impact the City’s budget. We are seeing a trend in Councils being completely bypassed with developers going straight to the OMB as was recently the case if the Solstice 3 application on the corner of Kortright and Edinburgh. Locally inspired land use planning policies and zoning bylaws can no longer create predictable and stable development for our communities.

We have an opportunity to advocate for bold OMB reform in the Province’s upcoming review. We need to send the message that tweaking here and there will not be acceptable to municipalities.

Here is my motion


That the City of Guelph requests the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s (MMAH) upcoming review of the OMB be viewed as an opportunity for significant and substantial reform, including the limiting of its jurisdiction

And that the review also consider the issue of lack of accessibility for interested residents into the OMB’s processes as it relates to costs and knowledge

And that the City of Guelph develop an education and communication plan to encourage participation into MMAH’s OMB Review

And that the City of Guelph request the MMAH to host a public meeting in Guelph during the consultation process of the OMB review

And that a copy of this motion be sent to the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario; the Honourable Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and the Honourable Liz Sandals, MPP, Guelph

And that a copy of this Motion be sent to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and all Ontario municipalities for their consideration
Let’s make our collective voice be heard!


EVENT: Clothing Swap!!

On April 7 the Hanlon Neighbourhood Group is hosting a clothing swap. Bring clothes you no longer wear, browse through other donations, and go home with a new wardrobe for free!

At the end of the night the neighbourhood group will donate the leftovers to Goodwill.
Start going through your drawers now!
Date: April 7
Location: Jean Little Public School
Time: 6:30
Everyone is welcome and it’s free