Guelph, ONT

Overview (Download Report as PDF)

The saints in Guelph would welcome support from the Body in the form of migration. For saints considering migrating, here are facts about Guelph that might be of help in their consideration. In 2004, a brother from the church in Kitchener made contact with some believers in Guelph whom he knew from the workplace. He shared the written ministry with a sister who attended the Roman Catholic Church. The sister started reading ministry booklets and received eManna. She was so impressed with eManna, that she would make several copies of the emails and pass them out in a Catholic charismatic worship meeting she attended. Eventually, a number of those at that gathering wanted to hear more and they invited the Kitchener brother to address the group. He visited and shared with the group a half dozen times. A year later, he was invited to commence a Bible study with some of these believers in Guelph. With the exception of the one evangelical brother, all the others who attended the Bible study were Roman Catholic, involved in their parish’s charismatic worship meetings.

On average, that Bible study included 10-12 participants. The others who attended varied in their seeking and hunger; some stayed a few months, some a year or two. About half continued faithfully to attend. The Bible study began with Galatians, and has also covered John, Colossians, and Philippians. Before Galatians was completed, these hungry ones began meeting in Kitchener. They got each got their own copies of the Holy Bible Recovery Version with footnotes, and have faithfully attended the meetings of the church in Kitchener, area conferences, live and video trainings, and have participating in the 96 Lessons training conducted in Kitchener. They all have served in the church, either with the children, in the service office, or arranging the chairs.

They continue to have a group meeting on Monday night, and on Tuesday they have a prayer meeting. The sisters gather on Thursday to pray. On Lord’s day, the saints continue to go to Kitchener to break bread. After the Lord’s day meeting, the Guelph brothers have been having a short time dedicated to praying for the Lord’s move in Guelph and for the Lord to establish a lampstand there.

The composition of Guelph saints is as follows:

The City of Guelph

Guelph, a city in southwestern Ontario, Canada, is roughly 28 kilometres (17 mi) east of Kitchener-Waterloo and 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of downtown Toronto at the intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 7. It is the seat of Wellington County. With a population of 131,794, Guelph is the fourth fastest growing city in Canada with a population growth rate of about 2% per year. Guelph’s population, according to the Ontario Places to Grow plan, is projected to be about 195,000 by 2031. Population fluctuates throughout the year because of variations in the University of Guelph student population. Because of its low crime rates, clean environment, and generally high standard of living, Guelph is consistently rated as one of the country’s most livable cities.

Guelph’s population has been principally British in origin, with 92% in 1880 and 87% in 1921. Later, the ethnicity of the city changed to reflect a wider European/North American mix. Now, some 10% of the resident population described themselves as visible minorities, predominantly South Asian, mostly of Afghan, Indian and Pakistani origin (2.43%), Chinese (2.42%), Black Canadian/African Canadians: (1.25%), and many others including Filipinos and Vietnamese. The city is mostly Christian (74.17%), almost evenly split among Protestants and Roman Catholics. The largest non-Christian religion is Buddhism (1.45%), followed by Hinduism.

The University of Guelph (U of G) is a comprehensive public research university in Guelph. It was established in 1964 after the amalgamation of Ontario Agricultural College, the MacDonald Institute, and the Ontario Veterinary College, and has since grown to an institution of more than 32,000 students (including those at the Humber campus, off-campus degree enrollments, diploma enrollments, and part-time students) and over 1,500 faculty as of fall 2015. It offers 94 undergraduate degrees, 48 graduate programs, and 6 associate degrees in many different disciplines.

The Veterinary medicine program at the University of Guelph was ranked 4th in the world in 2015. The University of Guelph is ranked 4th in Canada in Maclean’s “University Rankings 2018” in the Comprehensive category, which includes universities that conduct a significant degree of research and offer a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. It is given top marks for student satisfaction among medium-sized universities in Canada by The Globe and Mail. It has held these rankings with its reputation, innovative research-intensive programs, and lively campus life cited as particular strengths. According to the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, the university’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program has Canada’s highest research index. The university has a key focus on life science.

The faculty at the University of Guelph holds 28 Canada Research Chair positions in the research areas of natural sciences, engineering, health sciences, and social sciences. Academic achievements include the first scientific validation of water on Mars, Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on board the Curiosity rover, and the Barcode of Life project for species identification.


The city of Guelph’s diversified economy helped Guelph obtain the country’s lowest unemployment rate of 4.2% in 2011 and at 3.9% in February 2016. The great diversity in the types of employers is a significant factor too; the city is not dependent on a single industry. The workforce participation rate of 72% was the best in Canada in December 2015 according to BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic. The job growth of more than 9% at the same time was also of great value to the community. At the time, the BMO economist also rated Guelph as the top city in Canada for those looking for work. Over subsequent months, the rate increased steadily and the jobless rate was at a more typical 5.9% by October 2017, compared to 5.1% in Kitchener-Waterloo. The rate in June 2018 had decreased to 4.5%. By December 2018, StatsCan was indicating an unemployment rate of only 2.3%, down from 4% in November, and the lowest in Canada at that time.

The overall economy of the Guelph “region” (including the city and the townships of Guelph/Eramosa and Puslinch, Ontario) grew at an average of 3.5% per year over the previous five years and was expected to be 2.1% in 2019 and 2020, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s August 2019 report. Guelph’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.6% in 2018, the highest among medium sized cities in Canada. “Although economic growth is poised to moderate in 2019, Guelph will maintain its place as one of Canada’s economic growth leaders,” the report predicted.

Manufacturing and Education

Manufacturing is the leading sector of the economy of the city with the most significant sector being auto parts manufacturing. The Conference Board of Canada’s August 2019 report stated that the Guelph region’s manufacturing was experiencing significant growth, averaging 5.9% over the past five years and is expected to be 4.2% in 2019.

Linamar is the city’s leader in this sector, with 22 manufacturing plants. The company has received government funding for expansion that would create additional jobs, most recently in 2015 ($101 million) and in 2018 ($99 million). The latter would create 1,500 additional jobs and maintain 8,000 others in the Canadian operation.

According to research completed by the City of Guelph in 2010, fabricated metal product manufacturing accounted for 26.1% of the types of industries, followed by machinery manufacturing (12.8%) and miscellaneous manufacturing (10.4%). The city’s Economic Development Strategy identified life science, agri-food and biotechnology firms, environmental management, and technology companies as growth industries on which to focus economic development activities.

The city also touts the importance of advanced manufacturing, which is its largest employer. The roughly 360 businesses of this type employ approximately 14,755 people (roughly 25% of Guelph’s labour force). The category includes “high precision manufacturing and auto parts assembly to plastic injection moulding machines manufacturing and automation devices. This enables advanced manufacturing to be a strong driver of the local economy.”

The second largest industry is educational services, accounting for 11.3%.

Other sectors

Guelph is very attractive to the agri-food and biotechnology market sectors, according to the city. It was ranked as the top cluster in Ontario and one of the top two in Canada. This sector includes over 90 companies in Guelph-Wellington, employing approximately 6,500 people.

Guelph Innovation District

As part of the plan to increase development, the City Council voted in late 2017 to buy 98 hectares (243 acres) south of York Street owned by the Provincial government, including part of the property of the former Wellington Detention Centre. After the acquisition, the city would seek one or more developers to buy the property. The land actually purchased was only 23% of the long term plan for development in the entire site bounded by Watson Parkway South, the south border of the city, and Victoria Road South.

The city decided in late 2018 not to purchase the additional land for economic reasons. In 2019, the remaining 362 acres of Ontario government land was listed for sale by the province.

Employment Data

According to the Bank of Montreal’s fourth quarter 2018 report, Guelph was the leading city in Canada in terms of job growth and low unemployment. In January 2019, the city had the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.

The 2016 Census indicated a labour force of nearly 76,000, of which about 55% said they worked full-time all year. At the time the data was gathered, 4,610 persons indicated they were unemployed. The top five occupations in terms of number of people employed were sales and service (16,195); education, law and social, community and government services (10,205); business, finance, and administration (10,150); trades, transport, and equipment operators and related occupations (9,170); and manufacturing and utilities (8,205).

The City of Guelph’s published 2016 data was sorting occupations in a different manner. In that report, professional, scientific and technical jobs employed 39,141; advanced manufacturing employed 20,735; retail and service employed 11,345; agri-innovation employed 11,345; culture and entertainment employed 7,711; and distribution, warehousing, and wholesale employed 5,909.

The largest private enterprise employers in Guelph in 2016 included:

The Co-operators was one of the Platinum Winners in Canada’s Best Employers 2017 report; the company has been on this list for 14 years.

The largest public sector employers in 2016 included:

The University’s staffing fell into three categories in 2015: there were 2,600 regular full-time faculty and staff, 1,890 temporary (full-time and part-time), and 3,690 student employees. The University was among Canada’s Best Employers in 2016 according to Forbes magazine, making the top 20 list.

Two Guelph companies were among the 2018 winners of the Waterloo Area’s Top Employers competition. According to the report, Reid’s Heritage Group of Companies, a home builder with 212 full-time employees, “supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments … [provides] flexible work hours, helps employees balance work and their personal commitments with up to 10 paid personal days … and offers referral bonuses [for staff hires].” Sleeman Breweries Limited, with 991 full-timers, offers “generous tuition subsidies … opportunities for the next generation to gain meaningful experience through summer employment and co-op placements … retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options,” as well as bonuses for salaried staff and profit-sharing for those who are unionized.


Four school boards operate in the city. The Upper Grand District School Board administers all of Wellington County, as well as adjacent Dufferin County, while the Wellington Catholic District School Board administers Catholic education in Wellington County, including Guelph. The Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud offers French First language education for students with parents who had elementary and secondary education in French at École Saint-René-Goupil. The Conseil Scolaire Viamonde, with similar entrance requirements, operates the École élémentaire L’Odyssée. Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir operates the École élémentaire catholique Saint-René-Goupil.

There are also numerous private schools in Guelph: Cornerstone Canadian Reformed Christian School, Resurrection Christian Academy, Guelph Community Christian School, Guelph Montessori School, Trillium Waldorf School, Wellington Hall Academy, and Wellington Montessori School, Echo Montessori. An International Baccalaureate Program is available at Guelph C.V.I.

Medical Facilities

The city currently has one hospital, Guelph General, which is rated as one of the safest in Canada in terms of the hospital standardized mortality ratio (the lower the better). Guelph’s facility had a score of 78 in 2017, notably better than the national average of 91. By comparison, Cambridge Memorial Hospital had a score of 95. St. Joseph’s Health Centre was previously a hospital, but is now a 240-bed long-term care home with a 91-bed specialty unit for complex continuing, rehabilitation, and palliative care. Various outpatient services are also provided at this facility.

Another major facility, Homewood Health Centre, offers treatment for mental health and addiction issues. The facility was founded in 1883 by the Homewood Retreat Association of Guelph as “a private asylum for the Insane and an Asylum for Inebriates” on a 19-acre property which included the Donald Guthrie house. The first patients were admitted in December of that year.

Homewood grew to a 312-bed mental and behavioural health facility and also formed a partnership with R.B. Schlegel Holdings operate Oakwood Retirement Communities Inc., a long-term care facility.


Bus: Guelph Transit provides local transportation around the city. On June 20, 2007, Guelph Transit launched a web-based system known as Next Bus. Global positioning satellites (GPS) technology and advanced computer modelling enable riders via the Internet, handheld devices (including Palms, Blackberries, and web-capable cellular phones), or their telephones to receive accurate, real-time arrival and departure information. Intercity connections by GO Transit and Greyhound Canada are made at the Guelph Central Station and University of Guelph.

Rail: Guelph was the first municipality in Canada to have its own federally chartered railway, the Guelph Junction Railway. This 25 kilometre (16 miles) link to the CPR is still municipally owned.

Built in 1911, the Guelph Central Station (still in use), was constructed by the Grand Trunk Railway which had arrived in Guelph in 1856; years later, it was taken over by the Canadian National Railway. It is a classic example of early 20th Century Canadian railway station design and has been designated as a heritage structure under the Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act. The Romanesque Revival building, with its Italianate tower, has been listed on the Canadian Register since 2006 and was formally recognized as one of Canada’s Historic Places in November 1992. A renovation project in 2016-2017 provided various benefits, including repairs to maintain and restore heritage aspects.

There had also been passenger stations in Guelph that were built by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The first CPR station, from the 1800s, was the Priory House station, converted from the first house in Guelph. It stood opposite the current Priory Square and was eventually dismantled. Its replacement, located between Cardigan Street and the Speed River, was a brick building erected in 1911. After this brick building was no longer used as a rail station, it was converted for other purposes; eventually it was moved to the Galt area of Cambridge, Ontario.

The Central station is currently an Intermodal Transit Terminal that includes bus and railway services in one facility. The following is a summary of its purpose from an April 2017 report:

“Guelph Central Train Station is a busy transit hub that accommodates Guelph Transit, GO Transit, Via Rail and Greyhound Canada operations. Each weekday, more than 5,000 passengers board Guelph Transit, to travel on one of the 15 different routes that operate out of the bus bays adjacent to the train station.”


Guelph Reports