Getting to Know Guelph: McCrae House

Welcome to the latest edition of Getting to Know Guelph. In each edition, we'll highlight one area or landmark in the city that deserves some recognition.


In this instalment, we highlight a historic landmark in the Royal City, the McCrae House.


(If you missed our last edition, you can check it out here!)


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Originally built in 1858, the McCrae House in Guelph is one of the "must-sees" for visitors of the city.


It was the home and birthplace of John McCrae, a talented author, doctor, poet, and soldier who served in World War 1. McCrae was born and raised in Guelph and attend Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute as a teenager.

After high school, McCrae attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston before earning a Bachelor of Arts and a scholarship for medicine at the University of Toronto.


McCrae became involved in the first World War when he was named as a Medical Officer for the Canadian Field Artillery. He also worked as a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres.


However, it was during his time in the war that he authored one of the most famous poems to date: "In Flanders Fields". He wrote the poem in May of 1915 after one of his close friends was killed in action.


Today, McCrae remains a well-known figure in Canadian history for both his services during the war and his poems. He was designated by the Canadian government as a Person of National Historic Significance in 1946.


His home in Guelph has been a National Historic Site of Canada since 1966, although his family only owned the home for a period of three years during the 1870s. The home was purchased in 1966 by a group of people who wanted to make it a museum dedicated to McCrae before its operation was given to the City of Guelph in 1986.


In 2015, the museum underwent renovations. Currently, the McCrae House holds several events throughout the year, including camps, small plays, outdoor picnics, and other gatherings.  


FAST FACT: John McCrae began writing poetry when he was a high school student in Guelph, and graduated from G.C.V.I. when he was just 16 years old.


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Check back next month for the next edition of Getting to Know Guelph. If you have a suggestion, let us know!