OTD: City of Guelph incorporated

On today’s date in 1879, the city of Guelph was incorporated.

Founded by John Galt on St. George’s Day – April 23 – in 1827, the city of Guelph was named in honour of the royal family and is considered one of the first planned towns in Canada.

“The city was named in 1827 to honour the British Empire’s King George IV, whose family name was Gwelf,” reads the University of Guelph’s 2013 International Handbook. “The spelling has been altered over time, but it is pronounced just as it was 185 years ago and rhymes with “self.'”

As was the custom in the early 19th century, Galt cut down a large maple tree to mark the ceremony. A respected Scottish novelist and superintendent of the British development firm the Canada Company, Galt designed the quaint town to attract settlers.

The city didn’t grow beyond the size of a village until 1856, when the Grand Trunk Railroad reached its borders from Toronto. Many of Guelph’s prominent buildings, including some designed by high-profile Toronto-based architects and others by local architects, builders and carvers, quickly followed the railway’s arrival.

Today, the city of Guelph has a population of 100,000 and is home to the Guelph Stamp Club.


On April 23, 2002, Canada Post featured the city on a commemorative envelope designed by Bernie Reilander.

A total of 14,000 envelopes were printed.

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