Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The History Of The City

The former Loretto Convent stands atop Catholic Hill, beside the Basilica Of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Today it is the present home to the Guelph Civic Museum, a local history museum that tells the story of the city over time.

For me this is a familiar sight. The sculptor Ruth Abernethy made two sculptures of John McCrae, the soldier and poet whose background was here in Guelph. One of them stands here. Its twin is on Green Island in Ottawa, and I often see it when I go up to New Edinburgh.

One of the rooms inside featured exhibits on the Guelph Mercury, a longtime local newspaper that in recent years ceased print publication and which exists today only as a website. This lion was once at the offices of the paper.

Here we have a typeset for a page from an edition years ago. Everything in this case is seen flipped from the printed page.

A couple of the paper's preserved first pages (there were more upstairs). The first is a local story of a massive fire in Guelph. The second marks the beginning of what would be the Great Depression.

A cabinet of local items includes a hockey jersey for the Storm, the OHL team. It's one worn around Remembrance Day, as McCrae's face and poem In Flanders Fields are inscribed on it.

The Loretto Convent housed schooling facilities for girls, while the hilltop also featured the same for boys. Eventually the student body outgrew the facilities and new Catholic schools were built. For a time the convent would go unoccupied until the museum came in.

The renovation process was quite a transformation.

We headed up a staircase. The area below here is a children's activity area.

The settlement and development of the city occupied panels here.


  1. Galt sure was a wise man. Funny how the Royals make it everywhere! And how Germany and Italy came into the mix. In Cuba we met a Mother-Daughter-couple from Ontario, we had fun times.

  2. love the facade of the building. Is it white brick or stone? Locally sourced?


  3. always enjoy reading old newspapers ... fun to see the headline, etc. very cool. ( ;

  4. Museums are a fund of fascinating information William, enjoyed our visit to the Guelph Civic Museum today ✨

  5. @Nancy: so do I. I knew there was a second casting of the sculpture in Guelph, but I hadn't seen it until this trip.

    @Iris: people do tend to travel!

    @Lady Fi: thank you!

    @Janis: limestone, I think.

    @Beth: and there's more newspapers to come.

    @Grace: thank you!

  6. I think it's wonderful that the convent was repurposed into a museum. Thanks for the information and tour.

  7. That is a good reuse of the convent. One of the Loretto convents that was in the Annex neighborhood here was turned into condos which are beautiful but….

  8. Interesting place. The lion sculpture looks lonely for a building.

  9. that's an interesting transition from a separate school to a museum. It's good the buildings are recycled.

  10. I loved seeing the old typeset. I remember those days. Back in my hometown, the local newspaper built a new building the house it's printing operation and the walls were all glass so passersby could see the printing presses in action. It always fascinated me. The building would rumble when those presses started rolling.

  11. @Tom: definitely.

    @DJan: you're welcome.

    @RedPat: this is a better use.

    @Maywyn: it's a formidable lion.

    @Red: that's quite true.

    @Sharon: our local papers are printed out in the west end, so I've only seen the building at a bit of a distance.

  12. Interesting seeing that old typeset.

  13. Good to re-use old buildings. The page typeset is interesting to see...

  14. It is mind boggling to think of “reall” newspapers being museum pieces and yet we contribute to their demise, reading our papers on line (we do at least read local newspapers, not just news feeds). But aren’t we living through rapid changes! You are fortunate with all the great museums you have nearby. I enjoyed This tour! (You are a good docent!)

  15. A wonderful reuse for the convent. Very nice indeed!

  16. I find these old newspapers very interesting to see .

  17. Another great structure intelligently updated and adapted, William!

  18. From the headline on that newspaper it appears A.W. Cutten was the Donald Trump of his day! ;^/

  19. @Karl: it is!

    @Italiafinlandia: I agree.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Mike: I found it so.

    @Sallie: thank you!

    @Bill: it is well used.

    @Marleen: me too.

    @Cloudia: indeed.

    @Catalyst: I decided to look him up. Arthur Cutten was a local who went south of the border, got into financial speculation in the 20s, was the target of government prosecution during the depression over it, and ended up getting buried back in Guelph after his death. The next time I'm there, I'll have to find his grave at Woodlawn.

  20. Looks like a fascinating spot. Newspapers have gone through a lot of changes in my lifetime.

  21. I did not know the origin of the name Guelph.Actually, never even thought about it. Very interesting.

  22. I like seeing that old typeset. Interesting to see how much work used to go into getting words on paper.

  23. William - so glad this historic building has been put to such a good use. I studied journalism as an undergraduate, and it pains me anytime I heard of a newspaper going out of print. I know it still exists as a website, but somehow it's not quite the same! This looks like a museum I would enjoy.

  24. That's a wonderful sculpture of John McCrae:)

  25. @Marie: so do I. I see much more of the one here, but was pleased to find its twin.

    @Kay: they seem to be in perpetual change.

    @Joanne: it makes sense.

    @Michelle: that's true.

    @Angie: it should have stayed in print.

    @Rosie: it is indeed.

  26. I love the Macrae sculpture. Next time I go through this part of Canada, I do think I need to stop in Guelph.

  27. Glad the Schools were recycled ~ to a museum ~ great shots!

    Happy Day to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  28. I do like the John McCrae sculpture.

    All the best Jan

  29. I like looking at the old pictures of places, which I visit.