Take your throne in The Royal City
Named in honour of the British monarchy, Guelph has been dubbed The Royal City – and the town takes this nickname seriously! To live up to it, Guelph has positioned itself as a sophisticated arts and cultural hub. There are a number of local arts venues, cultural events, and festivals, including the famous Hillside Festival. The town takes pride in its many parks, as well as the downtown core, which features cafes, boutiques, and several gorgeous churches. Locals know there’s another side to Guelph though. A university town, Guelph has a large party scene, dominated by students. In fact, at one point, the running joke in town was that Guelph had one barstool for every two people in town – and just as many seats in the pews in the many churches!
Guelph’s north end is the most affordable part of the city, especially now that the southend is being increasingly seen as a bedroom community for Toronto. In terms of rentals, the north end tends to be more full houses or rooms in houses – though there are a few affordable apartment buildings. The area around Riverside Park offers a lot of senior housing. The south end tends to be student housing by the university and more expensive, suburban-esque places closer to the highway. This latter group is being marketed hardcore to Torontonians who want to escape the city to raise their families. Rents used to be excellent in Guelph, but they are shooting up with the growing development, so don’t wait long if you want to get a good price on your place!
Typical housing type:
Loads and loads of detached homes.
Guelph is in the midst of a major shift. The southernmost part of town is really feeling like a Toronto suburb now. There’s also a growing geek community, with places like ax throwing spots and gaming cafes popping up throughout downtown. As younger residents take over the town, expect a major shift in not just housing prices, but Guelph’s culture.
Average Rent Prices in Guelph
Avg. rent by housing size:
Avg. rent compared to other Canadian cities
Guelph is 24% higher than the Canadian average
There are two major groups living in Guelph: university students who are there throughout the school year and townies. Students tend to be younger, quite diverse, and with lower incomes. They often are focused in the University of Guelph’s dorms or in student housing in the southend of the city. Most of these students then clear out in the summer, returning to live with their parents for a few months before launching into their next year of studies – and parties. In terms of the townies, you’re looking at more of a blue rinse crowd, with the largest population sitting over 65. Retirees enjoy the slower pace of life in Guelph, as well as the town’s refined charm. There are – shocker – large British and Scottish communities in and around the city. While many locals have children, most of them have grown up and moved out. But expect this to all shift in the coming years as Guelph becomes the next bedroom community for Toronto, bringing in a wave of younger, more diverse residents.
Perfect for: Retirees with a love of the arts and students at U of G.
Not-so-perfect for: Young families and those who hate even a whiff of pretension.
Life & Style
Life in Guelph depends on the circle you run in. If you’re a student, it’s all classes, clubs, and pubs – of which Guelph has many. If you’re a parent, there are plenty of family-friendly events and activities that’ll keep you busy. You’ll likely spend a lot of your time at the children’s department of the main branch of the library and at the West End Community Centre. Retirees tend to congregate in the area around Riverside Park – which has a seniors’ centre and a lot of senior housing, at the mall during the day, and downtown. Arts and cultural events tend to bring Guelph’s many communities together. The summer is the best time to catch these events, including the Multicultural Festival, Ribfest, and Hillside. There’s even a yearly pirate festival!
Head to the south to find the university and Guelph’s only major shopping centre, Stone Road Mall. Clubs are generally relegated to the southern part of downtown, while pubs are sprinkled throughout the city. Located downtown, the River Run Centre is the largest arts venue, while the hockey arena is close by. Public transit also uses downtown as its hub. The north end is the place to go for the big box stores, as well as for things like mini-golf, bowling, and curling. Libraries and pools are in every quadrant of the city. There are a number of schools in the north end – and some quiet streets that are perfect for families. For restaurants, head downtown. And don’t forget to check out Eric the Baker for dessert!
Guelph Civic Museum
Church of Our Lady Immaculate
University of Guelph Arboretum
Donkey Sanctuary of Canada
Guelph Market Square
University of Guelph Observatory
St. George’s Anglican Church
Royal City Church