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Visiting Guelph, Ontario and its Speed River and Covered Bridge: tranquil scenes

Updated on May 15, 2013
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Speed River, Guelph
Speed River, Guelph | Source
Lattice covered bridge, Guelph, Ontario
Lattice covered bridge, Guelph, Ontario | Source
Information panel, Royal City Park, near the Speed River, Guelph, Ontario
Information panel, Royal City Park, near the Speed River, Guelph, Ontario | Source
Royal City Park, near the Speed River, Guelph, Ontario
Royal City Park, near the Speed River, Guelph, Ontario | Source
Royal City Park, near the Speed River, Guelph, Ontario
Royal City Park, near the Speed River, Guelph, Ontario | Source
Map location of Guelph, Ontario
Map location of Guelph, Ontario | Source

A landscaped riverside, and fine bridge craftsmanship

Views of the Speed River might at first glance seem to be taken in a country area, but in fact this scenic locality is situated close to Downtown Guelph, surrounded by Ontario's Wellington County.

Near the confluence of the Speed and Eramosa rivers is a Covered Bridge (1), with lattice working, which spans the Speed River. Some visitors will thus recall a similar (though not identical) bridge at West Monstrose, a short journey from Guelph. This Covered Bridge, with its seemingly 'old fashioned' look, may surprise some people when they learn that it dates from only 1992 (2).

However, what is also significant is that this 1992 bridge, is actually built to a design from the 1880s, which brings it, in at least design terms, back to the epoch of the West Montrose structure.

Thus, the Covered Bridge at Guelph may not have the same historcic profile, as — say — that of the Hartland Covered Bridge in New Brunswick, but it is nonetheless an example of very fine craftsmanship.

Pathways known as the Eramosa River Trail and the Speed River Trail combine to form what is known as the Royal River Trail.

The banks of the Speed River has in places been straightened and strengthened, and a very pleasing park area, known as Royal City Park (3), with tree-lined walkways, exists in proximity to the riverside.

Meanwhile, a nearby interpretive panel complains that fish spawning was hindered by Depression-era public works reponsible for the strengthening of the banks of the Speed River and seemingly implies that a heightened fish spawning interest should have taken precedence over the public works benefit during an economically difficult period and over flood containment efforts thereby enhanced. (I myself can claim no expertise in the matter and decline to be dogmatic.)(4)

Royal City Park is situated at 139 Gordon Street, Guelph, Ontario.

May 15, 2013


(1) See also, for example:

(2) The structure was the result of the collaborative efforts of 400 volunteer workers.

(3) Guelph itself is sometimes known as the Royal City.

(4) It is also possible that, as very much a lay person in these matters, I misunderstood what the panel was aiming at saying.

Also worth seeing

Both the Downtown area of Guelph and the University of Guelph have several, architecturally distinguished structures; the Colonel John McCrae Birthplace is situated at 108 Water Street; adjacent are well manicured Memorial Gardens.

Puslinch (distance: approx. 13 kilometres); here is situated historic Ellis Chapel.

West Montrose (distance: approx. 23 kilometres) a covered bridge dates from 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. You are advised to check for up to date information with the airline or your travel agent.

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

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