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Facts about Guelph courtesy of Guelph Museums
(Source: City of Guelph)
- Guelph was named after the British Royal Family. King George the IV, the monarch at the time of Guelph’s founding, was from the Guelph lineage, a German family.
- Guelph was the home of North America’s first cable TV system. Ted Metcalf created McLean Hunter Television and their first broadcast was Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1953.
- Guelph’s police force had Canada’s first municipal motorcycle patrol. Chief Ted Lamb brought back an army motorcycle he used during the First World War. Motorcycles were faster and more efficient than walking.
- Guelph’s police force was the first to have two-way car radios.
- Guelph City Council set up Canada’s first city manager system. The system’s creator, John McVicar, later became the secretary of the League of American Municipalities.
- Guelph city planners conceived a way to easily convert units into condominiums. Chicago was so impressed with the system they used it as a model for their city and it has since become a North American standard.
- Guelph had one of Canada’s first militia units of gunners in 1866.
- Guelph was home to Canada’s first army cadet corps and the year of its founding became part of their name – the 1882 Wellington.
- Tim Ryan, the inventor of Five Pin Bowling, was a Guelph resident.
- GCVI had Canada’s first high school lunch cafeteria.
- Guelph is the first and only municipality in the British Commonwealth to own its own railway line. The line is a 16 mile link to the Guelph Junction Railroad and the CPR. Guelph still owns it today.
- The jock strap was invented here… created by Guelph Elastic Hosiery (now Protexion Industries) in the 1920s. The company held a contest to name the product and jock strap was the winning name. The prize was five dollars.
- 1460 CJOY was the first Canadian radio station to have a call-in talk show.
- The wire coat hanger was invented here in the 1920s, probably by Steele’s Wire Spring Company.
- The Ontario Veterinary College is the oldest school of its kind in the Western hemisphere (founded in 1862).
- Colonel John McCrae, who wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” was born and raised in Guelph.
- Riverside Park was named by priest William Carroll who was the winner of a contest to name the new park in 1905.
- P.T. Barnum’s circus came to Guelph in 1879.
- Sir John A Macdonald owned 50 acres of land in St. Patrick’s Ward in 1854.
- Baker Street was named after Wellington District’s first inspector of weights and measures – Alfred Baker – who was a Guelph resident.
- Until 1868, horses were used to operate the Mercury’s printing press. In 1868 a steam engine was installed to operate the presses.
- The number “64” on the cap of Sleeman Cream Ale bottles is the page number of the recipe from the book belonging to the great grandfather who started the company in 1832.
- Led by potato breeder Dr. Gary Johnston, a research team at the University of Guelph created the Yukon Gold, the first Canadian-bred potato to be marketed and promoted by name. It received a Canadian license in 1980.