Canadian Solar Inc. Praises Guelph As Their New Home

A major economic development announcement was made this morning in Guelph — the opening of a new site for Canadian Solar Inc. ,  bringing up to 500 jobs to the city and adding to our growing reputation as a centre for investment in clean and green jobs.   The new facility will be the largest solar manufacturing site in North America, and the first one outside of China for Canadian Solar Inc.

City News Release Click Here


This announcement did not happen overnight and recognition is due for the months and months of work behind the scenes to make this happen.   It is ironic that the media has enjoyed playing up on a recent consultant’s report that Guelph is not friendly to business.   Yet, during today’s announcement, the CEO of Canadian Solar Inc. said the complete opposite;  saying that they walked out of their first meeting at City Hall and “knew we had found home.”

Most evident in the speeches was that Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative was a SIGNIFICANT deciding factor in building a relationship with the city.    CSI officials specifically named Mayor Karen Farbridge and Guelph Hydro as key players in giving them the confidence they had chosen the right location.

The Community Energy Initiative is proving to be a major force in guiding our economic and environmental future, and is attracting attention outside our borders.   For more information on where we are going and how we plan to get there, read more about the Community Energy Initiative here.


No Jefferson Salamander on Hanlon Creek Busines Park Lands


Salamander monitoring finds no Jefferson Salamander presence on Hanlon Creek Business Park lands

GUELPH, ON, May 10, 2010 – Results of the recently completed salamander monitoring program indicate no Jefferson Salamander presence within the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP) lands.

Natural Resource Solutions Inc. completed a comprehensive salamander monitoring program at the site between March 11 and April 30, on behalf of the City of Guelph, Belmont Equity (HCBP) Holdings Ltd. and Guelph Land Holdings Ltd. The monitoring program was developed in consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Guelph District Office, City staff and Dr. Jim Bogart, Chair of the Jefferson Salamander Recovery Team.

The monitoring program included 5.5 kilometres of drift fencing, 122 minnow traps and 611 pitfall traps to monitor location and direction of salamander movement to and from potential breeding grounds. The monitoring program was undertaken during peak salamander breeding season when salamanders begin emerging from their overwintering sites and migrating to breeding ponds.

Thirteen salamanders were captured and sampled during the monitoring program. DNA extraction and analysis was then performed at the University of Guelph by Dr. Bogart. In all cases, the DNA analysis found no presence of pure Jefferson salamanders or Jefferson-dominated polyploids (Jefferson-dominated unisexuals).

“In consultation with Dr. Jim Bogart and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, we have concluded that there is no Jefferson Salamander presence on the Hanlon Creek Business Park lands,” stated Mayor Karen Farbridge. “We will move forward with our plans to service and develop these important employment lands and grow jobs in our community while ensuring excellence in environmental protection and restoration. In Guelph, sustainability and prosperity go hand in hand.”

On May 7, 2010 the City received confirmation from the MNR, Guelph District that the 2010 salamander monitoring program was rigorous enough to ascertain the presence of Jefferson Salamanders on the site. Based on the results of the program, the MNR, Guelph District also stated that there are no requirements for authorizations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the HCBP and that no agreement or permit under the ESA is required to proceed with development of the business park.

The City will be moving forward with the development of the HCBP subdivision as approved by the Ontario Municipal Board in November 2006. The 2010 salamander monitoring program has provided additional information on the location and movement of other amphibians within the HCBP subdivision. This additional information will be used to consider design refinements and to undertake measures for wildlife protection during construction activities.

Yes, I support the Hanlon Creek Business Park

A friend asked me last week why members of Council have been “silent” on the Hanlon Creek Business Park issue. I suppose I never thought that I was being silent — because Council unanimously endorsed the project. Our collective position is very clear.

The recent events (most notably the on-site protest, injunction, Minister’s approval and the decision to resume work next year) have been widely reported in the media. No one from the media has ever contacted me, or any other member of council that I am aware of, other than the Mayor. The Mayor has the support of Council on moving forward with the HCBP, as evidenced by the vote to approve the site plan.

We are not moving forward blindly. This is a well-planned project that has been through years of extensive consultation and a thorough public process, resulting in environmental conditions that will protect and enhance the land. I attended the public meeting of LIMITS, including a second meeting where I was the only councillor in attendance, and have become well-read on Jefferson Salamander breeding habitat, among other things. I have also walked the site and am familiar with its natural heritage, beauty and features. I am deeply committed to protecting our environment, water sources, public health, trees, air quality, etc.

My support of the HCBP is not in conflict with these values. I truly believe this project is different. I believe this project balances the environment, economy and social/cultural fabric of our community. I do not believe the Jefferson Salamander is compromised by this project, nor the old growth forest or wetlands that protect our water supply. Land uses will be limited to those that do not pose a risk to the site. Significant wetlands and old growth forest areas are not being paved over. This is not a typical “industrial park” that you may think of in other parts of the city. Great care has been taken, and will be taken, to ensure the development meets the goals of the Community Energy Plan. A significant portion of the site has been farmed for the past century. The finished development will have more trees than the current site.

I am hopeful the project will move ahead successfully when work resumes in 2010. When it comes to protecting the natural heritage of our city as a whole, there are still areas that need protection and require public participation and diligence. The city has developed a Natural Heritage Strategy that will unfold over the next year. I encourage members of the community (including HCBP protestors) to participate in the democratic public process related to the NHS.

Mayor Delivers State of the City Address

The Mayor’s State of the City address, delivered last week to the Chamber of Commerce, contains lots of interesting statistics of Guelph’s position compared to similar sized municipalities in Ontario, as well as a picture of where we are heading in the future.

To view the Powerpoint presentation, with audio commentary, go to:


City Logo

From Guelph Mercury – September 15, 2007

The city’s logo is too important not to be great

These are the two new Guelph logos being presented by the city.

These are the two new Guelph logos being presented by the city.



The path to mediocrity is paved with good intentions. I have no doubt that our city government intends to provide Guelph with a world-class logo. But between intention and delivery something has gone wrong.

The two logos — rightly called “wordmarks” — being presented by the city as our final choice, give us no choice at all. At best, we must choose between not very good and worse. And there’s precious little time left to hem and haw and hope not to hurt feelings. This has to be asked now: can we, please, go back to the drawing board?

The most unfortunate of the two contenders is dominated by a whimsically swooping thick purple ‘G’ that ends in a big arrowhead. The rest of the word — ‘uelph’ — emits from the ‘G’ in a thin handwriting-style script of pale green that is visually swallowed by the mighty arrowhead. It might work for a small florist shop or a menu, but for a city, it’s far too frivolous and undignified.

The other design is better but boring. Again, the ‘G’ is offset in another typeface (which will compromise readability), this time in pale green, and the ‘uelph’ is pale blue with a garnish of little leaves at the top of the ‘h.’ The florist shop would love it. I suppose if you changed the ‘G’ to the same typeface as the ‘uelph,’ it might be passable.

But is passable all we want? No. We want greatness.

Why? Because this will be the symbol of our home for years to come.

We want a logo that stands with the best city logos in the world and betters our city’s brand significantly. We want it to represent our attributes and aspirations, our sense of who we are and where we are going.

We want a logo that feels graphically substantial, so that if you wore it on your shirt others would admire it. We want a logo that is strong, clear, classic, durable, evocative, distinguishing, friendly yet dignified, flavourful, and absolutely memorable. It should be simple because the more unusual a name — ‘Guelph,’ for example — the simpler the graphics can be. It should also be highly legible — which neither of the choices are — because outside of Guelph most people have trouble understanding our city’s name.

The two contenders do none of this. Zero.

The process may be the reason. It doesn’t appear there was a competition or review of top designers, nor an attempt to tie the new logo to the city’s new strategic plan. It is also clear that design experts — professionals working every day in this field — were not consulted in choosing the finalists. There was no peer review.

In the world of graphic design, which includes logos and wordmarks, the best logos almost always come from firms that specialize in graphic identities. It’s like any other field — if you want greatness, you enlist specialists in the top tier of talent.

In Guelph, we too often aim low. Mediocrity of civic symbols is a recurrent problem.

Consider the first version of the new city hall. Until there was a public outcry, the former city council proposed that a gigantic City of Guelph crest would stare down onto Carden Street from a blank cement wall. It was Soviet-like. That same council was one vote away from approving an ugly slab-cement parking garage on Baker Street that would have cast us as design morons.

The vital question regarding wordmarks is, “What does a mark tell us consciously and subconsciously?” Like words, logos are communications tools. The best ones say a lot with a little. The two contenders communicate almost nothing, except maybe “small.”

We can do better. Greatness can be achieved. But only if we have the courage to revisit the process.

Here’s how it could work. Create a written design brief that explains clearly what Guelph wants in its wordmark. Base it on the city’s strategy and vision, and require that our logo exemplify the qualities of the world’s greatest logos: depth, resonance, voice. Hire a highly capable firm that specializes in graphic identities to provide up to a dozen options. Then ask a small group of qualified local experts with much experience in esthetics, visual communication, and brand identity, to recommend the winning mark.

And do not settle for anything less than remarkable.

Symbols are important. They can say so much about us. May ours be powerfully eloquent. Please.

Tony Leighton was the founding editor of Applied Arts, Canada’s magazine of graphic design. As a professional copywriter, he works with designers daily.