In 19th century, one source of entertainment was the Circus. When it came to town, offices and businesses closed so everyone could at least watch the parade through the centre of town. This was free, making it affordable to even the poorest in town. In Guelph, working, middle and upper classes alike went to see exotic animals, unusual inventions and strange people.
Guelph's first circus came to town around 1849. One of the most famous circus of this Golden Age, Barnum's, arrived first by road in 1852 and later in 1874 by train. Train allowed circuses to move more freely. It also made it possible for those who lived around Guelph to quickly make their way to town.