Gwelf Early Days


A moving theatrical journey. 

A 90 minute storytelling walking tour featuring amusing diary entries, thrilling newspaper writings and local 19’th century poetry recited from memory as we visit unique historical locations in downtown Guelph. 

Not for children. 

Group Tours available any day, anytime. Minimum 4 people. Maximum 20. To reserve email

Indoor version of this tour. Contact jaywalkingguelph

Picture this. April 23, 1827, St. George’s Day, John Galt, Tiger Dunlop and friends chop down a Maple tree near the banks of the Speed River and christen the area “Gwelf” in honour of the House of Welf.

Flash forward to New Year’s Eve 1827. It has now been 8 months since that day and Charles Pryor is adding the finishing touches to a progress report to be sent to the investors of the Canada Company. What does he say? How does he capture what has transpired thus far? What does he do for inspiration? Well, perhaps he’d take a walk and prepare a summary of what he saw.

Every Thursday Evening May- September, 2024, we’ll take that same walk. We’ll visit the locations and listen to the words of Mr. Galt, Mr. Pryor and others. We’ll stroll the streets and travel through time from 1827 to 1897, the first 70 years as Guelph grows from a hamlet, to a village to a town, complete with a railway. We’ll listen to local voices telling us about the shift from an agricultural hub to a manufacturing town. You’ll hear stories as they were written, about tornadoes, weddings, children, whisky, temperance, the words of local 19th century poets describing life in this new settlement; unusual tales, told where they happened.

JayWalking Guelph will take you on a moving theatrical journey. Street theatre at it’s finest. The 19th century will come alive before your eyes and ears. Guelph’s beautiful limestone architecture and the mighty Speed River will be the perfect setting to echo the words of local poets, news reporters, and diary writers.

The Gwelf Early Days tour is a great way to explore and learn about this place we call home.

Meet your host Jay at city hall. Look for the black cape, the jaunty cap and the red lantern’s flame.

Tickets are $25 for this 90 minute walking tour and are available HERE

Audience size limited to 20. Book early.

Prepare to be transported.

Details about JayWalking Guelph’s tours and one-man shows can be found at