Description of Historic Place
The Speed River Bicycle Shop is located at 135 Wyndham Street North, on the east side of Wyndham Street, in downtown Guelph. The three-storey stone commercial building was constructed in circa 1874.
The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, in 2006, for its cultural heritage value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, By-law (2006)-17982.
The Speed River Bicycle Shop is the northern most commercial building within the Alma Block in downtown Guelph. The Alma Block consists of three buildings, whose age, architectural features and connection to the city's early commercial development, make it very significant to the city's downtown area. The Alma Block has contributed to the success of many local downtown businesses for over 130 years. It currently houses the Speed River Bicycle Shop, for which the designation is named.
The Alma Block was designed by James Smith, a well known Toronto architect. Designed in the late Italianate style, with ornate stonework, it was unusual for commercial buildings. The Alma Block buildings are fine examples of mid-19th century commercial architecture believed to be among the most attractive examples, of their time, in Ontario.
The three-bay Bicycle Shop building was constructed by a local wholesale grocer, James Massie, in circa 1874, as an extension to the existing three-bay and six-bay buildings. It was constructed by local contractors, Kennedy and Pike, using dressed limestone. Of note on the façade are the dentil detail of the cornice, the stone parapet and the rusticated pilasters. The Speed River Bicycle Shop also features original door and window openings, sills, surrounds and dressings.
The Alma Block buildings have rear additions built in circa 1874 which face onto Woolwich Street. Built in the Neo-Classical and Functional architecture style, the rear additions do not form the same continuous and uniform streetscape as the Wyndham Street façades. The two-and-a-half-storey addition to the Bicycle Shop building, located at 128 Woolwich Street, was constructed using pick-dressed limestone to the rear, coursed rough limestone on the west elevation and brick construction on the east elevation. The doors and windows on the rear elevation remain in their original locations.
Sources: City of Guelph, By-law (2006)-17982; City of Guelph, Short Statement of Reasons for Designation, The Alma Block, December 2005; City of Guelph, Background Information for Proposed Designation Site, Alma Block, July 2005.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Speed River Bicycle Shop include its:
- continuous use as a downtown commercial building for over 130 years
- situation within the City of Guelph's commercially significant Alma Block
- stone construction of the three-storey portion of the building
- flat roof on the three-storey portion of the building
- ornate stonework construction unusual for commercial buildings
- street-level shop façade and three-bay upper-storey façade
- dentil trimmed cornice and stone parapet
- rusticated raised architraves leading to round-head window openings with bracketed horizontal pediments on the second storey and segmented arches on the third storey
- tooled sill courses
- rusticated cornice pilasters
- original door and window openings, sills, surrounds and dressings
- pick-dressed limestone rear elevation on the two-and-a-half-storey rear addition
- coursed rough limestone construction of the west elevation on the rear addition
- brick construction on the east elevation of the rear addition
- original location of window and door openings on the rear elevation