A unique pocket of Nature and History embedded in Guelph!
I discovered the Reformatory area and surrounding lands in 2017 as a newcomer to Guelph. Guelph Hiking Club took us on a hike. Such an interesting place that offers a wide variety of natural offerings. It struck me that it would be a perfect location for a Nature Educational Centre. It's within the city and it has ponds with frogs, turtles, ducks and water birds. It has a river and trails, hills and dales, woods and meadows. The beautiful stone walls and ornamental ponds intrigued me. That opened the way to learning about the Ontario Reformatory era where a self-sufficient community operated for many years and left sturdy buildings, a beautiful entry drive, the remains of a quarry to name a few. Pretty amazing stuff that could also be a tourist attraction.
At my first visit, it was mentioned that this property would become an Educational Centre. Taking elementary and high school students to regularly get hands-on nature experiences. It is so close to the city! No long, day-trips. So perfect!
But will this every happen? It would be such a shame to develop housing here. A last vestige of the natural world. Guelph is blessed with rivers running through it and this could be such a special destination for urban children to have access for school trips and family outings. It's accessible on the city bus!!
Winter, Summer, Spring or Fall. A great place to hike, to bird watch, to enjoy nature at the ponds and to simply breath that woods fresh air. Listen!! It's the sound of Nature and it is a priceless gem.
I am every hopeful that for this location, Guelph and Ontario will choose stewardship and Nature for future generations over the lure of one-time cash and urban development.