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Heritage designation for former Guelph prison being considered

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KITCHENER -

Discussions continue over a heritage designation for a former Guelph prison, as the province will soon put site it sits on up for sale.

Dozens of delegates for and against the designation spoke at a virtual city council meeting Monday night.

The Ontario Reformatory was built in 1910 on 1,000 acres of land and was known as the Guelph Correctional Centre until it closed in 2001.

The province owns the majority of the land, while the rest of it is city-owned and privately owned.

With the property soon to be up for sale, the province has been asking the city to help with a heritage designation.

On Monday night, Guelph councillors passed three motions.

The first motion was a category four designation, which will protect some of the site.

Councillors also decided to study a possible category five designation, which would protect more of the site and potentially save more buildings.

The city will also send a letter to the province to see if more public access is possible after the sale.

The city’s mayor believes it was a respectful discussion and said he is pleased with the result.

“Everyone wanted to protect the lands. You step on these lands or you take a look at them on Google Maps, you want to protect these lands for sure. It was really what coverage of protection that was being debated, or the process of how you achieve those protections that was being discussed tonight,” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie.

While the exact start date of the study for the category five designation is still up in the air, Guthrie said city staff will be in discussions with the province to figure out the next steps. 

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