Guelph, Ontario, is a city situated around 100 km west of Toronto. Founded in 1827 by John Galt and the Canada Company, it has grown from a small wayfarers’ station to a community of more than 120,000.
Its major industries and attractions include the University of Guelph, with its renowned Ontario Agricultural (OAC) and Ontario Veterinary College OVC), Gencor, Semex and the offices of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF).
Guelph was selected as the headquarters of British development firm the “Canada Company” by its first superintendent John Galt, a popular Scottish novelist who designed the town to attract settlers and the surrounding countryside.
Guelph is also known for its cultural events. Each year it hosts the Hillside Music Festival and the Guelph Jazz Festival. It is the home of Edward Johnson, the famous opera star and James Gordon, respected folk musician. Guelphites are noted in many fields, having a long history of making their mark in the arts, the sciences and technology.
This site examines a less well-known aspect of Guelph life – the life and times of the working class. It is a history of their labour movement. It is an attempt to preserve and reveal the life of those who may not have made it onto the big stage of life but were an integral part of how Guelph became what it is today. In taking a close look at them and how they lived and worked, it is hoped to convey a greater understanding of the development of unions and working class life in such smaller centers as Guelph.