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Wellington Hotel

147, Wyndham Street North, Guelph, Ontario, N1H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1980/07/16

View of the northwestern corner tower showing the triangular shape of the building – November 2001; OHT, 2001
View of the northwestern corner – November 2001
View of the north elevation showing 16 dormer windows along the mansard roof – November 2001; OHT, 2001
View of the north elevation – November 2001
Historic view of the building showing signage, fire escapes, and iron cresting – c. 1930; Guelph Public Library, 2005
Historic view of the building – c. 1930

Other Name(s)

Wellington Hotel
Wellington Building
New Wellington Hotel

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/11/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The building at 147-159 Wyndham Street North, commonly known as the Wellington Hotel, is situated at the convergence of Wyndham and Woolwich Streets in downtown Guelph. The four-storey limestone building was designed in the Second Empire style by architect Victor Stewart and was constructed in 1877.

The exterior of the building is protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement. The property is also designated by the City of Guelph under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 1979-10057).

Heritage Value

Located at the convergence of Wyndham and Woolwich Streets in downtown Guelph, the Wellington Hotel holds a prominent location directly across from Trafalgar Square. The building has been one of the essential visual anchors of downtown Guelph since the 1870s and functions as a major landmark visible from Eramosa Hill and the various streets converging upon Trafalgar Square. Guelph's downtown core also contains a number of other recognized heritage properties, with those nearest the hotel including the Wellington County Court House (1841), Medical Hall (1859), the Petrie Building (1882) and the Petrie-Kelly Building (1882).

The Wellington Hotel is associated with the largest commercial building boom in the history of downtown Guelph. The hotel was constructed in 1877 during a period in which most other communities were suffering through the effects of a major depression. Although the residents of Guelph did not go unaffected by the economic climate of the time, the continuous growth of the local population forced construction rates in the downtown to soar higher than ever previously recorded. The Wellington Hotel, which was one of the largest construction projects of the time in Guelph, was built at the site of the “old salt works” on a triangular lot at the intersection of Wyndham and Woolwich Streets. It was the successor of an earlier hotel of the same name, which had stood on the north side of St. George's Square from 1846 until demolished in 1876. The $45,000 construction cost of the new hotel was financed by a joint stock company called the Wellington Hotel Company, which had been established by seven local businessmen to pay for the project. On August 23, 1878, the Wellington Hotel opened for business.

The Wellington Hotel is one of Ontario's best examples of a commercial building in the Second Empire style. Its design is unparalleled amongst the other commercial buildings in Guelph and its elaborate details, unusual triangular footprint, and prominent location suggest the architecture of Paris more than that of Ontario. The building was designed by architect Victor Stewart, who designed many other notable buildings in Guelph during the mid-1870s including the Gilnockie residence on Queen Street, the Victoria Block on Wyndham Street and the Customs House in St. George's Square. Stewart worked with a team of Guelph's most talented tradesmen in erecting the structure and the hotel retained much of its original appearance until a fire destroyed its upper floors in July 1975. The building was restored by architect Karl Briestensky in 1979 and the mansard roof, dormers and corner dome were rebuilt according to their original design.

Source: Conservation Easement Files, Ontario Heritage Trust

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Wellington Hotel includes its:
- central location directly across from Trafalgar Square
- high visibility from various vantage points
- proximity to a number of other significant heritage properties
- highly ornamental presentation of the Second Empire design
- triangular shape (comprised of an 11-bay south elevation, 16-bay north elevation, and 4-bay corner tower)
- use of local limestone in the form of coursed ashlar on the south elevation and corner tower and squared-rubble on the north elevation
- corner tower which contains banded stone piers at the ground floor level and an upper dome with decorative balustrades and four oculus windows
- canopied storefronts topped by a simple sign band and cornice that run along the south elevation and corner tower
- windows on the south elevation and corner tower with segmented arches, eared surrounds and a two-over-two glazing pattern on the second floor, and roman-arched with eared surrounds and a two-over-two glazing pattern on the third floor
- north elevation with segmented arched two-over-four windows on the first floor, segmented arched two-over-two windows on the second floor and roman arched two-over-two windows on the third floor (all windows on the north elevation contain arched lintels with keystones and Gibbs surrounds)
- arched dormer windows on the fourth floor of the south and north elevations with decorative brackets and a two-over-two glazing pattern
- slate-clad mansard roof punctuated by dormers and accentuated by a frieze of raised quatrefoil patterns and moulded brackets




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1980/01/01 to 1980/01/01
1979/01/01 to 1980/01/01
1975/01/01 to 1975/01/01
1979/01/01 to 1979/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Architect / Designer

Victor Stewart


F.J. Chubb

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Conservation Easement Files Ontario Heritage Trust 10 Adelaide Street East Toronto, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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