Getting to Know Guelph: Church of Our Lady
This is the first post in a new blog series by Balnar Management. In each edition of "Getting to Know Guelph", we'll highlight one area or landmark in the city that deserves some recognition.
This can be anything from the River Run Centre to Goldie Mill to the Guelph Civic Museum. We will provide a brief background on the location, some interesting facts, how to get the most out of a visit there, and much more.
In this installment we highlight Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate - the can't-miss church located in the heart of Downtown Guelph.
Have a suggestion on an area or location that deserves to featured? We want to hear about it!
Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate
Location: 28 Norfolk St, Guelph, ON N1H 4H8 (See Map)
Whether you have strong religious beliefs or not, Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate (Church of Our Lady) is a must-see place to all visitors and residents of Guelph.
Beginning construction in 1875, the church was completed being built in 1883. It's original purpose was to serve as a Roman Catholic parish to settlers from Germany. In fact, when John Galt founded Guelph in 1827, he gave the highest point of the city - now where Church of Our Lady resides - to the Roman Catholics to build a church.
Despite the church having been in existence for more than 140 years now, it was actually the third church to be built on the site! The first church, St. Patrick's, to call the site home was built in 1835 before being destroyed in a fire in 1844. The second church was called St. Bartholomew's was built in 1846.
You can read a full write up on the history of the church on their official website.
The Church of Our Lady has become known both nationally and internationally. In 1990, it was designated as National Historic Site of Canada and in 2014 was officially crowned a Basilica by the Pope.
Situated on a hill overlooking the city, it sits at the end of Macdonell Street, the main road that runs through the Downtown core. To this day it remains one of the city's most identifiable landmarks, often appearing in brochures, commercials, and other promotional materials.
The church is visible from many entrances into Guelph, including Highway 24 from the West End and Eramosa Road on the East End.
For many years, the City of Guelph prohibited any new construction on buildings in the Downtown area where it would be taller than the church. The reasoning for this was to maintain sightlines of the church from near and far and was a significant reason why several condominium developers did not develop in the area.
Mass is held on a daily basis while several other events take place at the church, including group meetings, baptisms, funerals, choir rehearsals, suppers, and more. You can find a full list of upcoming events on their events page.
Check back next month for the next edition of Getting to Know Guelph. If you have a suggestion, let us know!