Baker District redevelopment

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Welcome to the Online Engagement for the Baker District Redevelopment!

The Urban Design Master Plan shows how all the elements of the Baker District—residential, commercial, parking and open space—fit together and connect.

Land Acknowledgement

In planning for the redevelopment of this area of Guelph, we are reminded that Guelph is situated on treaty land that is steeped in the rich history of Indigenous Peoples and home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis people today.

As a City we have a responsibility for the stewardship of the land on which we live and work.

We acknowledge the Mississaugas of the

Welcome to the Online Engagement for the Baker District Redevelopment!

The Urban Design Master Plan shows how all the elements of the Baker District—residential, commercial, parking and open space—fit together and connect.

Land Acknowledgement

In planning for the redevelopment of this area of Guelph, we are reminded that Guelph is situated on treaty land that is steeped in the rich history of Indigenous Peoples and home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis people today.

As a City we have a responsibility for the stewardship of the land on which we live and work.

We acknowledge the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation of the Anishinaabek Peoples on whose traditional territory the Baker District Redevelopment will be built.

Building a Better Food Future:

Windmill Developments is thrilled to present the video series, “Sowing Change,” which explores the question: What does it take to build a better food future?

In partnership with the City of Guelph, Windmill is developing a model sustainable community in the heart of downtown Guelph, called the Baker District. Unique to this project is a focus on making the Baker District a community that promotes and celebrates local and sustainable food.

Guelph has a thriving food community that the Baker District aims to strengthen and support. Through the Sowing Change video series, Windmill intends to shine a spotlight on leaders within Guelph’s food community who are helping to create a more sustainable, accessible and resilient food system. Together, we will explore how we can build a better food system in Guelph and across Canada.

Imagine a food system where there’s no such thing as waste and where every resident has access to the healthy, nutritious food they need. Sound too good to be true? Not for the City of Guelph. In this interview with Barb Swartzentruber of Our Food Future, learn more about how the City of Guelph is actively building Canada’s first circular food economy.

Baker District Redevelopment Overview

We’re transforming the existing Baker Street municipal parking lot and adjacent properties into a compact district nestled in Guelph’s historic core that will create a renewed area of activity, commerce and civic space for the local community and city.

This welcoming and publicly-accessible integrated civic hub—known as Baker District—is anchored by a new central Guelph Public Library and outdoor urban square, and features residential units, commercial and institutional space, and public parking.

As a landmark city-building initiative, the Baker District redevelopment further revitalizes our downtown and—by extension—improves our entire city’s economic and social prosperity.

This means:

  • more people living downtown and contributing to the City’s tax base to fund municipal programs and service
  • more jobs due to an increase in demand for retail and commercial services
  • an increase in retail spending for current and new businesses
  • more people visiting and learning downtown; contributing to a vibrant and healthy downtown

The project also contributes to Guelph’s growth target: a population of 191,000 people and an employment base of 101,000 jobs by 2041. Specifically, the City’s Official Plan has Guelph’s downtown being planned to achieve a density target of 150 people and jobs combined per hectare by 2031 and to be a focus for high density employment, residential development, public infrastructure and services, and multimodal transportation.

For more information about the project, visit

Your comments

Watch the presentation and write your comment here. 

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

This comment was submitted via email.

• I really love that there are two public spaces, the Urban Square and Baker Court. I was surprised that the Baker Court square footage was larger.
• Really appreciate the pedestrian "porosity" of the design.
• Given the new realities of the pandemic, I want to make sure that the library will have the square footage needed for all its needs, as well as physical distancing for users.
• Really appreciate and support the One-Planet-Living principles
• I would like to see more than 12% affordable housing, but recognize that it is contingent on funding and profit margins.
• I would like to see more two-bedroom units and some three-bedroom units. This would provide opportunities for families to also live in this location.
• The one thing that is completely astounding to me is that the County is not playing ball with their 30-space parking lot behind the Dominion building. Parking for County staff should be integrated into the underground parking. The County's job is to provide social housing. This plot of land should be part of the mix for this development in order to access matching housing grants from the Federal Government. Surface parking is the most wasteful use of prime downtown urban land. Please let me know if there is anything citizens can do to light a match under the County to make this plot of land part of the Urban Design Master Plan.

Thank you all for your efforts. I am really excited to see this project come to fruition. I am grateful for Windmill's leadership on this development. We are lucky to have this project in the pipeline for post-COVID economic stimulus.

Corey Bialek 10 months ago

The name "library -lane"; is this the most imaginative name one could think up? Can't we actually name it after something that shows our diversity (please no more names after dead, white, European men, or anglo-saxon places). The project promises to be sensitive to Indigenous backgrounds and histories, so why can't we name it after someting like that? How about Attawandaron Avenue?

Why does the Dominion Trust Building get have a monstrously oversized chunk of land dedicated to... the car? As we transition to away from a carbon obsessed culture, we will also have to transition away from the reverence towards the car. The dedication of so much surface land to something as banal a employee's cars is a certain shortfall of this design and hampers the overall site. This seems a direct refutation of the 2.3 Sustainable Urban Design principles, part 10 - which calls for a zero carbon ideology to be considered. A massive amount of ground acreage dedicated to a car in their parking lot is hardly promoting of a zero-carbon ideology. The site could be far more pedestrian, environment, and design-friendly if the city used its eminent domain to also expropriate the parking lot from the Dominion Trust Building's owners, along with 146, and 166 Wyndham, and integrate the lot into the plan as for anything other than parking.

The mention of narrowing the lanes of upper Wyndham in this regard is encouraging and welcome.

Affordable housing units need to be strictly controlled in order to not become ghetto-ised, nor to be used for private interests to turn profits. Studies of other cities failuires in this regard gives us a number of safeguards that need to be integrated into the plan. This means inherent design principles including: units must be dispersed throughout the structure and not with separations; that is no separate elevators, access, nor entrances for these units. Likewise units must not be on separate floors from for-profit units. Affordable rental prices need to be completely controlled by public entities, and not influenced by, nor beholden to, any private shareholders. Rental prices need to be determined by a fixed formula that calculates rent as a percentage (preferably 25%) of the poverty line. Affordable units must also be maintained with the same vigour, schedules, and investment as for-profit units. Without such safeguards built-in to the actual project, the project will do little to alleviate our city's chronic homelessness and and housing shortage problems.

aberto 10 months ago

For the residents of 55 Yarmouth St, when this proposed project is finished we will be overlooked and over shadowed by the overlarge structures. At present our outlook is east where we see the sun rise and sun set without interruption. Same applies to the moon progressing through the sky. The rest of the outlook is made up of views of trees and St. George's church steeple. These were the selling points of our decision to purchase. All this is being stolen from us without our consent.
The bylaws governing the stealing of light are being contravened by this ill thought out scheme.
In the original plan the buildings were lower and the underground parking was to be constructed. What happened to these plans?
We would like our concerns addressed to our satisfaction.
Why do we need new retail when so much of retail business and Quebec Street is half empty? And where are the parking spaces to attract people to the downtown core?
Please rethink this poorly conceived scheme.

Icarus 10 months ago

Looks like an exciting proposal, and a welcome change from the current Baker street parking lot. I'm looking forward to the new main library branch as well - it is long overdue. I do wish to echo other comments here on the amount of space dedicated to vehicles. While I appreciate the sidewalks, and squares, this entire project is clearly designed for cars. Having the underground access at the end of Chapel Lane will ensure that this street will be a busy roadway that will be unwelcoming to pedestrians - the sidewalks do appear to be quite narrow. As another person asked, why can't this entrance be located off Baker street? I would also like to note that there is no mention of other modes of transportation. There is underground parking, street parking, a new street for cars, but the word "bicycle" is not found anywhere!!! How is this possible??? Why are there not bike lanes planned for all these road redevelopments? Why isn't there a beautiful covered bike parking area adjacent to the library entrance (I'm thinking of the one with the green roof on U of G campus near the bullring)? The new Library Lane should be closed to all vehicle traffic, and provide a much needed pedestrian and active transportation area free from cars and trucks. The parking lot for the county building at the end of Chapel lane should be reduced or eliminated and parking provided for this building in what is surely to be a significant amount of underground parking. This would allow for this area to be integrated into a much more significant outdoor urban oasis. Now that would be truly amazing!

Mel 10 months ago

I live at 55 Yarmouth Street where there is already very little light for our unit facing the Baker Street lot. The plan as proposed would eliminate the only direct light we already get.
This is a health issue as well as a quality of life issue.

MeowBoo 10 months ago

Thank you for this. it's sounds like it's moving in the right direction. I have comments/questions in three different areas:

1 - Wellington County / Dominion Bldg / former post office
Perhaps this has been considered already, however, this appears to be a good place to raise this issue.The County building parking area considerably restricts the development as it appears to 'squeeze' the flow of people to and from Library Lane and Baker Court. Obviously the city doesn't own the property. However, has any consideration been made to discuss opportunities of partnering with the County to acquire some (or all) of this parking land in exchange for either underground parking or commercial space within the development? Cost is obviously a consideration here, but this type of an approach could potentially provide a win/win/ win situation for the City, County and the broader community.
2 - Ecofootprinting -
I'm encouraged that Food, Energy and Carbon (buildings) and Transportation are to be addressed in this plan. Can you elaborate how that will be accomplished? Will food be based on a circular food system? Will building energy use be PassiveHouse or Net Zero Energy and how will transportation be accommodated above and beyond what was in the presentation?
3 - Communication and language - While I found the presentation very informative, it appeared to be written by planners and architects and for planners and architects. Using this approach to engage a broad cross section of the community could prove to be inaccessible to many. A further point regarding language (paraphrasing here): 'closing Library Lane to traffic'. How we characterize our intentions in language can be very telling. Using language like this has the potential to inflame divisions in how our community should be planned. I understand that pedestrians and bicycles are considered 'traffic'. Furthermore, under the highway traffic act that bicycles are considered vehicles. It may be worth considering re-shaping this to something like: opening Library Lane to cyclists and pedestrians while ensuring emergency and accessibility vehicles have good access. Referring to "closing" a street can inflame differences rather than seek to find consensus.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I look forward to your responses.


Evan Ferrari 10 months ago

I think it is fantastic, however I guarantee you 100% that it will go considerably over budget and leave taxpayers on the hook unless we have some ironclad contract with the developers, contractors etc.

Hugh 10 months ago

Just cars, cars and more cars.... We need to stop designing our spaces with 1960's thinking. It is time to design our downtown for people!

While I appreciate the inclusion of public space in the design, it is clear that the percentage of open space dedicated to vehicular traffic is disproportionately large for the urban core, especially given that the development is flanked by Wyndham and Woolwich Streets, two of the busiest streets downtown AND one of the top 3 priorities identified under "Sustainable Urban Design" by the design team is to reduce the ecological footprint of transportation... Pedestrians and cyclists need areas of refuge from loud, polluting and dangerous automobile traffic. Here is a perfect opportunity to design for the 21st century and make this a space worth spending time in! We already have enough urban parks in the downtown that are undesirable to spend time in due to the constant barrage of traffic (e.g. Priory Park and St. George's Square).

It doesn't make sense to me that the location of access to underground parking is proposed to be off of the end of Chapel Lane. This will induce traffic along Chapel Lane making it less friendly for pedestrians. Why not have access to the underground parking off of Baker Street on the southern extent of the development? Another concern is designating Library Lane as open to 2 way vehicular traffic, essentially serving as a short cut for automobile traffic between Wyndham and Baker Streets. There is currently no vehicular traffic cutting between these two streets at this location and given that Baker Street will be changed to two-way traffic, it would seem logical that Library Lane would be best used as an emergency vehicle only lane way, to create the first pedestrian only zone in the city! This would also boost the appeal of the proposed library square to people and result in greater activation and usage of this space, as people would only have to deal with traffic noise and air pollution from just one of the two open sides of the square (on Wyndham St.). Next, the parking lot off of Chapel Lane will be an eyesore for users of Baker Court. Consideration should be given for how to obscure this parking area from view of Baker Court/Library Lane by creating a sloping green-roofed park to cover what will otherwise be an unsightly parking area and incorporate some covered bicycle parking as well. This would create additional space for people offering increased solar access, which is especially critical in the colder months of the year...

First Principles 10 months ago

Sounds like a well-formed plan that should be supported.

The downtown needs some new development in stagnating areas, and adding in conscientiously designed public-services, retail, and leisure space along with vertical housing (and affordable housing options) is progressive and well-planned.

goaskalix 10 months ago