8-14 Macdonell Street,
When I first saw the artist’s impression of what the completed new City Hall on Carden Street would look like I thought that someone in authority had lost her mind and the project pointed to another entry in the sad scrapbook of urban confusion. But on a recent trip to Guelph I was pleased with the appearance of the recently opened building from both the outside and the inside. Guelph has a chronic problem with its downtown, a product of persistent inconsistency, conflicting interests, short-sightedness and - in the case of some property owners - simple mulishness. Even small places like Guelph pack a lot of fascinating history, and the more I know about my hometown’s past, the prouder I feel. The development of the Winter Fair grounds and Market Square show a welcome appreciation for our heritage, and so far the architecture of the renovation and redevelopment drive is avoiding insult. I am waiting with expectation to see how the new Guelph Library project evolves - and how fast, because one feature of Japanese that I appreciate is the speed with which they launch and then finish a project. They take a long time to make decisions, after which they spring into action like beavers - Japanese beavers.
Coincidentally, Moriyama and Teshima Architects, who designed the new Guelph City Hall, are also responsible for the Canadian Embassy here in Tokyo (1991) which, with its gardens and Chancery are famous here for their design.
Printed on Saturday, August 1, 2009 as “Guelph city hall has pleasant appearance.”
It took me almost two months to finally get an authentic copy of this one. My family did not cut it out and keep it. My sister-in-law promised to do that, but by the middle of September I decided to contact the paper directly and arrange to purchase and have mailed to me in Tokyo a back issue of the august 1st paper. It cost about $14 Canadian, but it finally arrived and I was much pleased with myself. Two days after I got my newspaper in the post and envelope finally arrived form my sister-in-law with the letters page. But I was right to go straight to the paper, which is what I ought to have done in the first place.
The first of August is a Civic Holiday in Canada. In Guelph it is called John Galt Day, when they celebrate the founding of the city in 1827 by Scotsman John Galt, working for the Upper Canada Company, a land development corporation that surveyed land, established towns and then solicited British settlers to come enticing them with free land, etc. I forgot that it was John Galt Day when I sent this letter, so the timing was great by coincidence. My Guelph-effusing sentiments synchronized with perfectly with the holiday.