HomeIntroduction: The Ward Project

Introduction: The Ward Project

Overview of "The Ward"

The purpose of this website is to tell a story. It is the story of a neighbourhood in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, called St. Patrick's Ward. St. Patrick's Ward, known popularly today as "the Ward," has a rich history, spanning over a century, and it is this history that this website has been designed to explore. From James Walter Lyon's plan to create an industrial neighbourhood, to Italian immigration, to industrial development, this website is a great introduction to the neighbourhood known as the Ward.

St. Patrick's Ward in Guelph, Ontario is a place clearly defined by geographical boundaries. Situated east of the Speed River and north of the Eramosa River, the Ward extends north to  the Eramosa Hill which marks a natural boundary between St. Patrick's and St. George's Ward. In many ways, it is geography which has characterized the Ward. Separated from Guelph by what are, for the most part, natural boundaries, the Ward has taken on a character of its own. These natural boundaries helped the Ward take on an industrial character as early industry used the water power generated by the Speed and Eramosa Rivers to feul production. Even the Ward's class composition was determined by geography. In the 19th century, illness was attributed to vapours from low lying areas so the wealthy in Guelph sought higher ground thereby allowing a truly working class identity to characterize the neighbourhood.

The Name

The name of the neighbourhood is as unique as its geographical position, changing throughout the years as new generations of Guelphites came to recognize its unique character through distinctive names. Originally Ward One, it has also been called East Ward, St. Patrick's Ward, and came to be known popularly as the Ward in the mid-twentieth century thanks to the rapidly expanding Italian population which came to reside there.

How to Use the Site

By clicking the "Browse Collections" tab, you can access some great introductory topics. Here, you can explore the photos I have posted with a brief description to give you some context. Once you have familiarized yourself with the basics of the history of the Ward, you can move on to exhibits. By clicking the "Browse Exhibits" tab, you can explore broader themes in the history of the Ward. Here you will find topics such as industry and current social issues affecting the Ward, most prominent of which is gentrification. Want to know more about these topics or unfamiliar with gentrification? No problem. These topics are all broken down by subtopics such as specific factories and an introduction to and specific examples of gentrification. If you just want to take a look at some photos, feel free to click the "Browse Items" tab.

Want to Explore Further?

Once you have explored the site, feel free to visit a supplementary portion of The Ward Project and take a look at a Google Earth map which will give you an idea of where everything is within the present day Ward. This map has historical maps layered onto a contemporary Google Earth outline of the Ward. This way, you can see how the neighbourhood has changed over time. Just follow the instructions on the home page and you'll be exploring in no time. You can follow the hyperlink above or the URL for the supplementary site below:


I hope you enjoy the site!