(204) Guelph, ON

Guelph is a city of about 120,000 people located an hour’s drive west of the Greater Toronto Area on the Speed River.  It’s generally a well thought of example of a small city with a good sense of itself.  Statistically, Guelph holds a position many North American communities would deeply envy.  Crime is low, incomes are reasonable, the environment is in pretty good shape.  A university town, Guelph is situated near good agricultural land.  Other employment is found there in retail, government offices, and services along with a certain amount of manufacturing, something that helped build Guelph from the nineteenth century on.  Nonetheless, there are some issues.  How could there not be.  Among them are ones familiar on this blog: growth in inequality, over-emphasis on far-flung and unremarkable suburban development, concerns for the older downtown’s physical and economic well being, declining vacancy rates and public transit and traffic issues.  A source of research and perspective is the Guelph & Wellington Task force for Poverty Elimination.  We enjoyed their 2010 report on public transit and poverty in Guelph.  One of the most consistant findings around here has been in regard to the importance of public transit as a deliberate response to community poverty.  In September the task force released findings on housing issues, another big one for suburban-poverty.com.

The Impact of Public Transit Fees on Low Income Families In Guelph
gwpoverty.ca – also other resources

Guelph Community Foundation Vital Signs Report

image: Wikimedia Commons