8-14 Macdonell Street,
I just finished my annual two-week visit to Guelph. I regularly visit my hometown in the summer and stay until my money expires, and these visits provide me with a string of mental snapshots of the city over time that inspire me with a certain perspective on conditions there. Maybe it’s my imagination, but this year I noticed a paucity of squirrels in the Royal City Park, which I tend to frequent. Has some rodent epidemic, or maybe climate change decimated the population? Or, has the elimination of many old, mature trees in that park deprived them of their usual habitat, or stricter hygiene limited their food source? I also thought I noticed a reduction in the population of ducks and geese in that part of the Speed and Eramosa rivers, but local friends denied it, saying it only seemed that way.
As to the squirrels I suspect the Guelph Monster, the Nobyuloid, which since the mid-1800s has been occasionally reported mostly by children who play in the waters stretching from the Wellington Street Dam to the Boat House. Typically of monsters, no photographs exist, but the folklore is that Nobyuloid, with a long neck, small head and humped back resembles the Loch Ness Monster and favors the shallows of Gow’s Mill Pond. Others describe it as a giant mollusk with tentacles snatching up squirrels and small dogs from the banks of the river. Still others claim it’s just a big, old snapping turtle. Perhaps a city commission ought to investigate the Guelph Monster.
Published on Saturday, August 7, 2010 as “Someone should investigate activities of the monster.”
The surprising thing about this letter is that the Guelph Mercury printed it so quickly - within 24-hours of receiving it - and they did not confirm it with me. The two previous occasions when that newspaper has printed letters form me they always contacted me in Japan to confirm. Not this time, however. My mother told me about it during a change telephone call and she asked it the story was true. “Of course not!” I said. “It’s just a bit of summer fun.” Then I wondered if anyone in Guelph would read it and believe it, or if the story might start a Speed River Monster thing.