City Profile

Population: 136,000

  • Guelph is 1.5 times the average of community gardens relative to population with just over 12 gardens per 100,000 people.
  • Guelph is above the average for natural parkland as a percentage of total parkland at 69%.
  • Guelph is one of 62% of cities with a seniors strategy.
  • Guelph’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan is getting a refresh. The updated plan will provide a long-term vision for parks and recreation, including outlining where park facilities and services should be located, and how they should be funded.
  • One of Guelph’s most beloved landmarks, the covered bridge, got a glow up this year. Glow Guelph transformed the bridge into a destination through the installation of lighting and vignettes projected on the walls and roof, inspired by local nature and the seasons.
  • Recognizing that getting outdoors was essential, the city ensured that parks were ready for visitors this winter by increasing winter trail maintenance, ice rink availability and access to portable washroom facilities.
2021 Data



ha parkland per 1000 people

1411 ha of total parkland


of total parkland is natural area

975 total ha



of parkland is environmentally significant/protected

975 total ha


of total city land is parkland

8800 ha of total city area


dog parks



Community gardens/urban farms



Parkland provision goal (distance to park / ha per 1000 people)

2.0 ha/1000 people 5-10 min walk


community park groups


Policy to waive permit fees for groups with financial need.


Parks operating budget per person

$10,050,000 total


Total parks capital budget


Provincially legislated tools available for parkland dedication, acquisition and/or development

Municipalities are able to require up to 5% of the land area of residential development for parkland or, through an alternate rate bylaw, one hectare inland per 300 units or the equivalent in cash-in-lieu of one hectare per 500 units. Municipalities are also able to require 2% of commercial or non-residential development for parkland or the equivalent in cash-in-lieu. Municipalities may also fund eligible park improvements through Development Charges and may choose to collect funding for parkland through a Community Benefits Charge, but overlap between these tools must be avoided.

¹"The definition of parkland used in this report differs from the city policy definition of parkland. Number doesn’t include additional 365ha of publicly accessible green space owned by the province, University of Guelph and other organizations." ²This number captures protected lands designated within the natural heritage system. ³Number does not include four new community gardens that were under construction in 2020 and haven't opened yet.
⁴These represent city-wide service levels. An additional 1.3 ha/1000 people beyond the 2.0ha/1000 is encouraged. 5-10 minute walk from residential area served is provision target in the City's Official Plan. *Data not available due to COVID-19.

Community grant program
Don’t see your city on the list?
Thirty-two cities participated in this year's report and we hope more will join us next year.