Neighbourhood Profile: The Ward

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Photo from The Ward in Guelph

Alice Street, in the heart of The Ward

Officially called the St. Patrick’s Ward, this eclectic historic neighbourhood within walking distance of downtown Guelph is more commonly referred to as simply The Ward.

The architecture of the neighbourhood reflects its roots as an area where a largely-immigrant, working-class population settled. This part of Guelph features a variety of solid, well-built homes as well as a mixture of commercial and industrial buildings. In contrast to that urban-industrial feel, there is park land on the edge of The Ward that boasts plenty of green space, as well as a series of trails that I am told are nothing short of a runner’s paradise.

Image from The Guelph Ward

You’ll still see images from the past in The Ward today.

I grew up close to The Ward and have always had a soft spot for the neighbourhood. When I was a kid, my friends and I would ride our bikes through The Ward in the summer and marvel at the huge vegetable gardens planted and tended by the Italian-Canadians who lived there. We always had aspirations to sneak through the backyards to snag fresh beans and tomatoes, but the Ward’s savvy gardeners had critter-proofed and kid-proofed their yards. Today, you’ll still see a few of these wonderful gardens, but without a doubt, this is a neighbourhood in transition and many of the gardens are gone, as are most of the The Ward’s founding families.

Angelinos in the Guelph Ward

Wonderful Italian meat market and grocer in The Ward

In terms of buying homes, The Ward is, relatively speaking, an affordable part of Guelph. Those in search of older, historic homes don’t have a huge array of options in town and homes in the Exhibition Park area, for example, are considerably more expensive than their counterparts in The Ward. This is a diverse, transitional neighbourhood that comes with a rich, some might say scandalous, history. No, it’s not a sanitized, high-brow spot for yuppies to congregate. Street by street and house by house you’ll find a little bit of everything here, and yes you’re likely to run into the occasional character in St. Patrick’s Ward. But for the people who love this eclectic part of Guelph, these aren’t drawbacks, they’re actually part of the appeal.

As for property investment, The Ward is a good option for many. Rentals do well in this area and while flipping houses is considerably more difficult (and expensive) than most people realize, this is one part of town where savvy flippers can be quite successful. The Ward was the only Canadian location named as one of the 10 Editor’s picks for 2009 by This Old House.

If you’re interested in learning more about buying or selling a home in The Ward, please feel free to contact me.

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