Reformatory district

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Project Overview

The City of Guelph is developing a Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Study and Plan for the Ontario Reformatory area.

The Ontario Reformatory opened in 1911 and served as a correctional facility for the first half of the 20th century. From 1970 through to its decommissioning in 2001, parts of the Reformatory site were repurposed and operated as the provincially run Guelph Correctional Centre. In 2016, Infrastructure Ontario indicated its intention to sell the property and completed the required environmental remediation at that time. The lands are now used by the public for passive recreation and environmental education.

The Ontario Reformatory lands, also known as the Guelph Correctional Centre, are at 785 York Road in Guelph’s east end, south of York Road and west of Watson Parkway South.

This project is divided into two phases. Each will include a mix of technical and engagement tasks:

Phase 1: Heritage Conservation District Study

We will assess the historical, design, and contextual value of the study area; identify contributing and non-contributing properties and resources; review the existing policy framework in the area, and define boundaries for the cultural heritage landscape. Phase 1 also includes community engagement to help the project team further understand the community’s experience of the area and to inform the proposed HCD boundaries.

Phase 2: Heritage Conservation District Plan

Based on the outcomes of Phase 1 and the Council’s approval, we will build on the recommendations of the study. The plan will provide guidelines for managing change in ways that highlight the distinctive character of the area.

Public Open House #1

The first Open House for the Reformatory District was held virtually using the Zoom webinar platform on June 8th from 6:30 - 8:00 pm. If you were not able to attend, you can view the recording of the session in the video widget on the right-hand side of the page. A transcript of the session is available here.

Project Overview

The City of Guelph is developing a Heritage Conservation District (HCD) Study and Plan for the Ontario Reformatory area.

The Ontario Reformatory opened in 1911 and served as a correctional facility for the first half of the 20th century. From 1970 through to its decommissioning in 2001, parts of the Reformatory site were repurposed and operated as the provincially run Guelph Correctional Centre. In 2016, Infrastructure Ontario indicated its intention to sell the property and completed the required environmental remediation at that time. The lands are now used by the public for passive recreation and environmental education.

The Ontario Reformatory lands, also known as the Guelph Correctional Centre, are at 785 York Road in Guelph’s east end, south of York Road and west of Watson Parkway South.

This project is divided into two phases. Each will include a mix of technical and engagement tasks:

Phase 1: Heritage Conservation District Study

We will assess the historical, design, and contextual value of the study area; identify contributing and non-contributing properties and resources; review the existing policy framework in the area, and define boundaries for the cultural heritage landscape. Phase 1 also includes community engagement to help the project team further understand the community’s experience of the area and to inform the proposed HCD boundaries.

Phase 2: Heritage Conservation District Plan

Based on the outcomes of Phase 1 and the Council’s approval, we will build on the recommendations of the study. The plan will provide guidelines for managing change in ways that highlight the distinctive character of the area.

Public Open House #1

The first Open House for the Reformatory District was held virtually using the Zoom webinar platform on June 8th from 6:30 - 8:00 pm. If you were not able to attend, you can view the recording of the session in the video widget on the right-hand side of the page. A transcript of the session is available here.

Tell us about your connection to the Reformatory Lands

The history of the Reformatory Lands is complicated. From its beginnings as a space where imprisoned individuals could learn new skills to a place where a more traditional form of incarceration was practiced to its present where it supports recreation, education and access to nature, these lands are filled with stories. As part of this project, we want to gain a stronger understanding of the stories associated with the Reformatory Lands - both the good and the bad. If you have a connection to these lands, we invite you to share it here. Anonymous responses are welcome, and if you would like to share your story privately, please contact a member of the project team to share your story via email or set up a phone call where you can share your story with one of our staff members in confidence. These stories are integral to the historical significance of these lands, and will form a significant part of our HCD Study. 

Thank you for sharing your story with us. We look forward to including it in our Heritage Conservation District Study.

Consultation has concluded

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    Guelph's Green Gem

    by Gale, 6 months ago

    I've often walked and wandered through the beautiful Yorkland trails and fields, and always feel so refreshed and peaceful when I do so. This is one of Guelph's most wonderful treasures, open for all to share. I cannot imagine any land more important to protect and preserve, and may it be there for many generations to come.

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    A Hidden Gem

    by Jocelyne, 6 months ago
    I've had the pleasure of discovering the vast beauty and natural repose of the Yorkland Trails over the last month or two. It has been a pure joy to walk my sister's dog there at least once a week! I had no idea that the area was so far reaching. As soon as one ventures further down any of the paths, with the water by their side, a serene peace penetrates their soul. This is truly a hidden gem in the midst of the city and I pray this valuable refuge will be preserved.
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    Yorklands

    by survery, 6 months ago
    I have been familiar with the OR site since moving to the area in the 1950's.

    It has always been a beautiful green entrance to the City of Guelph from the East.

    The vision, foresight and planning of the creators of this site deserve to be honoured and to be part of the history of Ontario. The history of the site is rich, varied and very relevant to modern times. The learning of trades, gardening [vegetable and flower], quarrying, stone wall building etc. The history is important to all of Ontario's.


    There is the history and there is added to... Continue reading

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    Married near the Reformatory Grounds

    by Peter Quosai, 6 months ago

    My wife and I live in the ward and have canoed the Eramosa past the property since our first date 11 years ago. We felt that the well-maintained space along the road up past the superintendents house which pairs natural beauty, historic charm, and part of our personal story was the perfect spot for our wedding ceremony. Now, whenever we visit the park we are reminded of our special day and our connection to the space. I hope we can keep revisiting this memory for many years.

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    University of Guelph Research By: Maddy Armstrong

    by Jewel Swahn, 6 months ago
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    University of Guelph ASCI 3000 Research

    by Jewel Swahn, 6 months ago

    Go to: Research - Yorklands Green Hub

    and scroll down to the paper called "Future Land Uses".

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    U of G Environmental Engineering Students' Research

    by Jewel Swahn, 6 months ago

    To see the report go to: Research - Yorklands Green Hub

    and scroll down to the paper called "The One Water Final Report".



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    Wilfred Laurier University’s Contemporary Economic Geography Research

    by Jewel Swahn, 6 months ago
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    University of Guelph – Landscape Architecture Thesis

    by Jewel Swahn, 6 months ago

    THE YORKLANDS IN GUELPH: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE OF A
    LANDSCAPE SHAPED BY POLICY AND REFORM

    If you have an issue with the first link go here: Research - Yorklands Green Hub

    It is the second research article on the page.


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    University of Guelph Research On The Superintendents’ House

    by Jewel Swahn, 6 months ago

    By: Emmanuelle Vanleeuwen

    Professor P. Goddard

    HIST 3480: Discovering the Yorklands

    January 19, 2021

    1.1: INTRODUCTION

    The Guelph Correctional Centre has a long and proud history of utilizing new prison reform methods to better inmates’ lives post-release.1 Nestled along the main entryway towards the Administration Building, the Superintendents’ House is a vital jewel of the surviving Ontario Reformatory lands. Due to each Superintendents’ unique involvement in these reform methods, the Superintendents’ House is physically, functionally, and symbolically significant to the history of the Reformatory.

    1.2: HISTORY OF THE ONTARIO REFORMATORY OR GUELPH CORRECTIONAL CENTRE

    In 1908, Conservative Joseph Downey, Chairman... Continue reading

Page last updated: 14 Oct 2022, 10:06 AM