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County Jail and Governor's Residence

74, Woolwich Street, Guelph, City of, Ontario, N1H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/11/07

Featured is the jail with new addition.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
Wellington County Jail, 2007.
Featured is the crenulated roofline of the jail.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
Wellington County Jail, 2007.
Featured is the stone residence.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
Governor's Residence, 2007.

Other Name(s)

County Jail and Governor's Residence
74 Woolwich Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Wellington County Jail and Governor's Residence are located at 74 Woolwich Street and are situated on the south side of street, between Douglas and Thorp Streets, in the City of Guelph. The two-storey limestone jail that was designed in the Late Gothic Revival Style, and the two-storey limestone residence were both constructed in 1911.

The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, in 1983, for its historic and architectural value, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law (1983)-11332).

Heritage Value

The Wellington County Jail and Governor's Residence was built in 1911, of stone salvaged from the original octagonal jail, of 1839. This early jail was designed by Toronto architect, Thomas Young, and built by William Day, a prominent local mason. The 1839 jail was the first permanent public building in town. Young and Day were well known for some of their other residential and institutional buildings, including “Janefield” and the Guelph Civic Museum. A segment of the stone-walled exercise yard, of the 1839 jail, is still intact in the south-west corner, of the 1911 jail, providing an important link to the early history of Guelph

The 1911 Wellington County Jail and Governor's Residence were designed by noted architect W.A. Mahoney. Mahoney was well-known for designing libraries funded by the Carnegie Foundation and for some local structures; such as, the Guelph Worsted and Spinning Company factory building. Mahoney designed the jail in the Late Gothic Revival style, featuring low towers with crenulated rooflines. A rehabilitation of the 1911 Jail was undertaken in 1980, for use by the County of Wellington for administrative purposes. This adaptive re-use has given new life to the building.

The Governor's House, also constructed in 1911, resembles the Georgian style. It is a mainly symmetrical stone structure and features a wooden verandah that spans the façade.

Sources: City of Guelph By-law (1983) -11332; Ministry of Culture, Featured Carnegie Libraries of Ontario.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Wellington County Jail and Governor's Residence include its:
- siting in close proximity to each other
- location on the early jail site of 1839
- stone wall from the original 1839 octagonal jail featured in the 1911 Jail
- limestone construction
- crenulated parapet detailing around the roof edges of the jail
- size and location of the windows and doors on both buildings
- placement of the front entrance in the north wall of the jail
- size and massing of the Governor's Residence
- hip roof and dormer, on the Governor's Residence
- stone and wood veranda on the north façade on the Governor's Residence




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1839/01/01 to 1839/01/01
1983/01/01 to 1983/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Security and Law

Function - Category and Type


Courthouse and/or Registry Office


Correctional Facility

Architect / Designer

Thomas Young


William Day

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Guelph Community Design and Development Services 1 Carden Street Guelph, ON

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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