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.

How to provide input

Community engagement will play a major role in informing the study. There will be several opportunities to provide input and we look forward to listening to the community throughout both phases of the project. Upcoming opportunities to participate in the project are listed below:

  • Share your stories and/or provide input on specific features of the Reformatory lands using the engagement tools below. You can share your story about your interactions with the Ontario Reformatory including family histories, personal experiences, or your current relationship with the lands using the "Stories" tab below. You can also drop pins on the “Map” tool to identify specific areas of the lands you feel are significant and tell us what you find important about the specific area, feature, or building you identify. These tools will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on June 22, 2022.
  • Attend the virtual Public Open House on June 8, 2022, from 6:30 - 8:00 pm to learn more about the project and provide input about your relationship with the Ontario Reformatory lands.
  • Subscribe to this webpage to receive project updates and learn about opportunities to provide input including additional public information sessions. You can also visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to find more information about the project.
  • Reach out to a member of the project team. Contact information can be found on the right toolbar of this webpage.

Public Open House

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 find the recording of the session using the link below. The tools for comment on this page will remain open until 11:59 pm on June 22, so please tell us your stories and highlight the areas of the site that you see as important, and share this site with your networks! 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.

How to provide input

Community engagement will play a major role in informing the study. There will be several opportunities to provide input and we look forward to listening to the community throughout both phases of the project. Upcoming opportunities to participate in the project are listed below:

  • Share your stories and/or provide input on specific features of the Reformatory lands using the engagement tools below. You can share your story about your interactions with the Ontario Reformatory including family histories, personal experiences, or your current relationship with the lands using the "Stories" tab below. You can also drop pins on the “Map” tool to identify specific areas of the lands you feel are significant and tell us what you find important about the specific area, feature, or building you identify. These tools will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on June 22, 2022.
  • Attend the virtual Public Open House on June 8, 2022, from 6:30 - 8:00 pm to learn more about the project and provide input about your relationship with the Ontario Reformatory lands.
  • Subscribe to this webpage to receive project updates and learn about opportunities to provide input including additional public information sessions. You can also visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to find more information about the project.
  • Reach out to a member of the project team. Contact information can be found on the right toolbar of this webpage.

Public Open House

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 find the recording of the session using the link below. The tools for comment on this page will remain open until 11:59 pm on June 22, so please tell us your stories and highlight the areas of the site that you see as important, and share this site with your networks! A transcript of the session is available here.


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Share your thoughts

2 months

What aspects of the Reformatory Lands carry significance to you? What should be considered as we create boundaries for conservation, and a framework to both conserve the area and see it evolve into something more? Use pins to identify specific areas that express the values of the site and tell us why those places mean what they do. 

Page last updated: 22 Jun 2022, 09:09 PM