ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Gow's Bridge, Guelph, Ontario: historic stone structure over the Speed River

Updated on May 23, 2013
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Gow's Bridge, Guelph, Ontario
Gow's Bridge, Guelph, Ontario | Source
Hon. Peter Gow, Member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly for S. Wellington
Hon. Peter Gow, Member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly for S. Wellington | Source
Map location of Guelph, Ontario
Map location of Guelph, Ontario | Source

Recalling a 19th century Provincial Secretary and local business owner

This late 19th century stone bridge crosses the Speed River at Guelph, Ontario.

The road which crosses the bridge is McCrae Boulevard (situated a few hundred metres from the Colonel John McCrae Memorial Gardens and Birthplace Museum).

Known as Gow's Bridge, what makes this structure so distinctive is the fact that it is one of the Province's few, surviving stone bridges.

The design evidenced by the bridge is known as masonry arching. Its building material was limestone, which was locally quarried. Some concrete reinforcement is also present. In recent years the structure underwent a progam of refurbishment.

The bridge and its predecessor have interesting histories. In the 19th century, local road travel which negotiated Guelph's river crossings was complicated by the existence of tolls. Accordingly in 1852 a toll-free wooden structure was erected across the Speed River at the what is now the western end of In the course of time, the need for a more solid structure was envisaged. This is how Gow's Bridge came to be built in 1897.

It may be thought that Gow's Bridge is named for the individual who constructed it, but actually his name was Daniel Keleher. The Gow in question refers to Peter Gow (1818-1886)(1), a prominent, mill owner whose facility was situated close to the Bridge.

In testimony to the resilient nature of the structure, it is still considered suitable for vehicular traffic.

The Bridge has been designated an Historic Place by the City of Guelph (2).

May 23, 2013


(1) Born in Scotland, Peter Gow also served variously as Mayor of Guelph, Sherrif of Wellington County and represented South Wellington Riding in the Provincial Legislative Assembly. He was notably appointed Provincial Secretary in 1871, a position which today would be approximately equivalent to Deputy Premier (other personalities who served as Provincial Secretary included Ontario Premiers Arthur Sturgis Hardy, Harry Nixon and Prime Minister of Canada Alexander Mackenzie). Peter Gow served the Liberal interest. While the name of the Bridge referred to the immediate proximity of one particular mill owned by this businessman, Peter Gow actually owned a number of businesses in the Guelph area, including mills and a tannery.

(2) Further information about Gow's Bridge may be accessed at:

Also worth seeing

In addition to another well-known bridge at Guelph, the Covered Bridge, both the Downtown area the University of Guelph have various, architecturally distinguished structures; the Colonel John McCrae Birthplace is situated at 108 Water Street, with adjacent, Memorial Gardens.

West Montrose (distance: approx. 23 kilometres) its covered bridge was built in 1881.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson to Guelph: approx. 71.2 kilometres.) WestJet and Bearskin Airlines fly to Region of Waterloo International Airport, from where car rental is available, from Calgary and Ottawa respectively. (Distance from Reg. of Waterloo Int. Airport to Guelph: 16.5 kilometres.) Via Rail connects Guelph with a wide range of destinations in Ontario and beyond. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check for up to date information with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)