Guelph Preparing Heritage Building for a New Life
A Guelph landmark with more than 150 years of history in the community will soon get a new lease on life.
Guelph’s drill hall, constructed in 1866, was originally built as a storage building for local militia. It has served many purposes throughout the years, including a space for community gatherings, an industrial building, and was City-owned for a period during the mid 1900s. It’s a key landmark in downtown Guelph, located beside the railway tracks and across from Guelph’s Armoury.
The hall itself is a unique structure in downtown Guelph, as it’s constructed from timber. Over the years, the building has deteriorated, prompting the City to take action to save this heritage asset. The building has a field stone foundation, and the mortar has disintegrated in many areas, causing the foundation to become unstable. The north wall of the building is compromised, and additionally, areas of the original timber structure are rotting or compromised due to age.
Guelph is investing the Canada Community-Building Fund into restoration of the drill hall, focusing on stabilization of the building to ensure it’s structurally sound. This includes underpinning and foundational work, site servicing, rehabilitation of the building walls, and installation of new structure components such as wood sills, building columns, and a new floor.
Once the work is complete, the City intends to issue a Request for Proposal inviting community groups to propose a new use for the drill hall. The City has designated the building as a heritage asset as part of the project, meaning the character and originality of the building can’t be altered for future use.
Once the work is complete and the RFP in place, the City is hopeful that a plan for adaptive re-use of the building will come forward and breathe new life into this important community landmark.