Is This The Best We Can Do?

On April 30th, Council passed an ambitious and inspiring vision for the future of our downtown —  the Downtown Secondary Plan. It calls for preservation of the heritage core, enhanced public realm and parkland, commercial and residential intensification, and demands a high degree of urban design for new buildings.  It calls for us to “build beautifully”.

The vision is a great one. Now we have to prove we can deliver….

Next week — Monday, May 7th — will be the first test. An application for an 18-storey residential condominium development for 148-150 Macdonell is coming to Council for a decision. Here is what it looks like (images from City of Guelph development file):

View from Allan's Bridge

View from John Galt Park

What do you think?   Is this an example of building beautifully?

Each successive generation leaves its mark on the city through its architecture.  The Georgians, Victorians and Edwardians left a recognizable presence in our downtown.   A great city is built in layers — it includes well-maintained heritage buildings left in place, and leaves room for the current generation to add its own layer on undeveloped sites.  This is what we are trying to do with the Downtown Secondary Plan.

So the question is — is this the signature architecture we want to leave behind?   What does this building say about our community?   Does it live up to the Downtown Plan?  Is it massively inspiring?   Will you drive by and point it out as a fine example of the greatness of our city?  Is this the best we can do?

Would love to hear your thoughts…



Carden Street re-opens to traffic on Saturday, August 13

One-way traffic and parking on-street as construction continues
in Market Square

GUELPH, ON, August 12, 2011 – Starting tomorrow evening,
vehicles will be able to travel on Carden Street while construction continues on
the rink, water feature, pavilion, seating areas, trees and landscaping in
Guelph’s Market Square.

“Crews are still working on site, so we ask that people drive
carefully in the area,” says Richard Henry, City Engineer. “Drivers will be able
to travel one way, eastbound, between Wilson Street and Wyndham Street, and
there are more than 30 parking spaces in front of the shops and

When Guelph’s Market Square, rink, water feature and pavilion
are completed in December, Carden Street will accommodate two-way traffic and

“We are very excited to see the square taking shape,” says Ian
Panabaker, the City’s Corporate Manager of Downtown Renewal. “At this point we
can begin to see how big and beautiful it will be when it’s finished. This
December, we get to skate in the square for the very first time and people will
keep coming downtown, year after year, to skate in the winter and cool off in
the summer. It will be the perfect spot to enjoy a festival, special event, or
to just hang out.”

The City plans to pour the concrete for the rink next month, and
is already working on the oval-shaped glass pavilion which will house public
washrooms, lockers, seating and a drinking fountain. The pavilion will also
store the zamboni and the controls for the rink and water feature.

“Unfortunately, initial submissions to build the pavilion
exceeded the approved budget,” add Henry. “We had to re-work the design of the
building and re-tender this part of the project, and that’s set us back by about
three months on the square.”

The City is already making plans for a grand opening and other
events to welcome people to Guelph’s Market Square. Event announcements and
project updates will be available

Guelph’s Market
Square is designed to create a beautiful community space that will serve as a
year-round setting for civic and cultural events and daily shopping. In front of
City Hall, the square will feature an outdoor rink and water feature, seating
areas, trees and landscaping and an oval-shaped glass pavilion to house
washrooms, lockers, seating and a water fountain. The rink is funded in part by
Federal and Provincial Recreations Infrastructure Funds. As part of the project,
the City is completely renewing Carden Street including watermains, sewers,
sidewalks, landscaping and a new paver brick surface. Construction started in
August 2010 and will continue through December 2011.

– 30 –

Richard Henry, City
Engineer/General Manager
Engineering Services, Planning
& Building, Engineering and Environment

T 519-822-1260 x 2248

Ian Panabaker, Corporate Manager
Downtown Renewal
Office of the CAO

T 519-822-1260  x 2475

Stacey Hare, Senior Communications
and Issues Management Coordinator
T 519-822-1260 x
C 519-829-0999