From the Saturday markets to the bustling downtown to the vibrant arts scene, one thing is for sure; there’s a lot to love about the city of Guelph. But just how well do you know your city? Think you know everything there is about the city of Guelph? Take our quiz to find out if you’re a certified city expert!
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It’s that time of the year again, the time of fall fairs, pumpkin spice lattes and really cool corn mazes. The province of Ontario in Canada seems to do corn mazes best, with the abundance of farms and markets in the rural areas. Some of the coolest corn mazes involve additional puzzles to solve throughout, special haunted night walks and “date nights” where you and your loved one can get “lost” in love. From Ottawa to London to Guelph, make sure you head to one of these 12 corn mazes this fall.
12. McMaze at Cedar Fox Farm -St. Andrews West, Ontario
Visitors come from all over Ontario to tackle the corn maze at Cedar Fox Farm, as well as to engage in the abundance of fall activities here. There are a variety of mazes here but the four acre maze is the favorite of them all. Each year features a different theme and in 2015 the maze is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 4H club. The large corn maze is 4 acres in size and full of twists, turns and dead ends. It will take participants anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Other cool mazes to explore here include the Haze Maze, a maze made entirely of walls and fog, and the door maze, which consists of 25 decorated doors which may or may not open to let you through. The emphasis at this farm is families and even during the month of October when other farms have haunted mazes and other scary additions, you won’t find that here.
11. Richardson’s Farm and Market -Dunnville, Ontario
This corn maze has only been in operation for 12 years but remains one of the best in Ontario due to the hard work and dedication put in by the employees of this farm. This farm offers both a five acre corn maze for kids and adults and a mini one acre maze for the littlest ones. Instead of a normal corn maze that offers so many twists, turns and dead ends, this corn maze offers choices of two routes at many of the intersections. Watch out if you take the wrong route though as you will be walking a long way back once you hit the dead end. While you are here you may as well chuck some pumpkins at the targets, play in the straw bales and visit the animals.
10. Naumans -St. Clements, Ontario
This family fun farm is bursting with activities from pick your own gardens to a farmers market to tube slides to pumpkin slingshots and corn cannons. The celebrated corn maze though is not to be missed here. Sticking with their family traditions, the daughter of the owners of this farm designs the corn maze every year, full of twists, windy paths and of course dead ends. The maze is absolutely mammoth, taking up over ten acres and small children must have an adult accompany them. The maze can take anywhere from an hour to three hours, depending on your sense of direction. The farm and maze opens on September 12th in 2015 and this is also the perfect place to pick up your pumpkins as they offer thousands on display and acres where you can pick your own. With over 20 varieties of pumpkins to choose from, there is something for everyone.
9. Waterloo Country Corn Maze -Crosshill, Ontario
It is one of the few stand alone corn mazes that aren’t accompanied by a farm or other activities but that shouldn’t stop visitors from heading over to the Waterloo Country Corn Maze. Each year brings a different theme to the maze and in 2015 the theme is Natural Disasters. Open from Labour Day weekend until the end of October there are a variety of ways to explore this twisty tourney maze. Come search the maze and discover the impact that natural disasters have had on our world, bring a picnic to enjoy and let the kids dig in the corn box. Friday and Saturday evenings call for a moonlight maze adventure, just make sure you remember your flashlight. Why not take your date to the maze on Mondays when “date night” is in effect. Day or night, visitors here are expected to have a lot of laughs and a lot of fun finding their way through this intricate maze.
8. Kusterman’s Berry Farm -Mount Brydges, Ontario
They are known for their elaborate corn mazes which feature awesome themes such as Angry Birds and year after year produce incredible designs. In 2015 this farm is celebrating the OHL Hockey team the London Knights by designing their corn maze as a tribute to them. Although you won’t be able to see it while you are searching your way through it, make sure to pick up a map so you can discover just how awesome it looks from above. The maze is about 7.5 acres and involves numerous games throughout to keep both kids and adults occupied. Open six days a week throughout the fall, Thursdays through Tuesdays, visitors are welcome to enjoy the train rides, zip lines, farm animals, playgrounds, sand hills, punch maze, hill slides and much more.
7. Snyder’s Family Farm -Bright, Ontario
It proclaims itself to be “Kitchener-Waterloo’s most exciting Halloween Destination” and certainly doesn’t disappoint with its plethora of activities for the whole family. The corn maze is at the front and center of this exciting experience as you stroll through five acres filled with activities and an awesome lookout tower. For something a little more scary try one of their haunted hunts where you tromp through the corn maze at night, take a trail of darkness hay ride and try and tackle the barn of fear; a 100 year old barn which becomes too scary for many and making it through the whole thing is an accomplishment meant to be celebrated. Open every weekend in September and October and certain weekdays in November, there is always a good time to head here.
6. Leaping Deer Adventure Farm and Market -Ingersoll, Ontario
It is hailed as being Oxford County’s largest corn maze and at just over ten acres, this maze is full of fun activities and more than just corn planted inside. Besides the challenge of making your way through this maze, the farm has hidden much to be discovered inside and that may in fact just be the greatest challenge yet. The maze is shaped this year as a leaping deer and platforms throughout allow visitors to look out and see some of the shapes. Admission to the corn maze also includes a plethora of activities such as pedal cars, pig races, a giant sand box and the Johnny Popper Wagon Ride. Open from August through October on weekends, visitors have a whole three months to visit this adventure farm, and try to find their way through one intricate corn maze.
5. Strom’s Farm and Bakery -Guelph, Ontario
It is open weekends from September 19th until October 31st and visitors here will have the chance to experience this epic corn maze either during the day or at night. Every year this farm chooses a different organization to support and not only designs the maze to represent that organization but also donates some of the admission money to them. Not only do you get to experience an awesome maze but you get to support a great local cause as well. If you plan on attending the moonlight maze walk, make sure you pack a flashlight and only strollers not wagons are permitted in the maze at any time. Other activities at this farm include duck races, pumpkin slingshots, rope and straw mazes, a pick your own popcorn field and a market with vegetables and plenty of baked goods.
4. Downey’s Farm & Market -Caledon, Ontario
You will have to work together with friends and family to complete this corn maze that is spread over four acres and this farm promises you the ultimate fun getting lost. You will have to work together to find all the stations in order to find your way out and new this year is the finger funnies maze game. This game takes place in the maze and visitors will search for the 5 game stations and get a color pattern. Matching the color pattern to a chart which will give you a hilarious funny challenge to perform in front of your friends and family. In 2014 the maze was shaped like a giant tractor. Pumpkinfest is open from Sept. 26 – Oct. 31, 2015 and this is when you will find the corn maze, wagon rides, farm animals, live entertainment and more.
3. Cooper’s CSA Farm and Maze -Zephyr, Ontario
This market garden and family owned farm produces a wide range of quality vegetables using sustainable and ethical practices, and produces one pretty amazing corn maze. The maze opened to the public on August 28th this year and will remain open until November 1st. The maze is spread out over 10 acres and offers many challenges, activities, twists and turns. On October 24, 25 and 30th the maze is turned into a special “trick or treat” maze, which is a hit amongst all the kids. Admission here is only $9 for anyone over the age of three and includes the corn maze, horse swings, giant corn box, wagon rides, animal encounters and mini mazes for the wee ones. Make sure to check out the farm store for some incredible baked goods, preserves and produce.
2. Saunder’s Farm -Ottawa, Ontario
Saunder’s has the largest collection of mazes in North America, including some pretty epic corn ones, along with hedges, grapevines and more. Each maze is designed to test your perseverance and problem solving skills with an abundance of activities throughout. Try your hand at the mile maze or how about the musical maze, both will take you on quite the adventure. If you have little ones with you it is best to visit during the day when things aren’t as scary as when night falls the haunting begins. Besides the crazy amount of mazes what awaits you here is the barn of terror, ghost town stage and haunted hayrides. Open on weekends from September 26th to November the absolute best time to go here is right around Halloween when the place is completely decked out! Although admission is pricier than other corn mazes, you get a slew of activities to participate in.
1. Thiessen Orchards -Leamington, Ontario
This apple orchard has taken corn mazes to a new level and this is by far the best corn maze in Ontario. Not only is this incredible maze hard and challenging with its dead ends, twists and turns but it offers a second challenge to all visitors. The corn maze has been turned into a farm scene investigation where there has been an accident but foul play is suspected. Seven farm animals will need to be investigated and there are six locations throughout the maze where you will find an animal, weapon, and a location to eliminate. Punch your card to keep track of your clues and help put the guilty animal behind bars. This giant game of ‘who done it’ is fun for both kids and adults alike, although the mini-maze for kids is almost a sure hit among the little ones. Opening on September 8th, 2015 this farm is open seven days a week and promises fun for the whole family.
After suffering through a long winter, Canadians love to get outside and soak up the sun during the all-too short summer. We also like good company and good music, and we know a good party when we see one. It’s no surprise then that there’s a rockin’ summer music festival circuit in Canada’s most populous province, Ontario. Whether you love country or you’re hardcore into rock, Ontario’s diverse festival scene has something for everyone. From Toronto to Ottawa, from Barrie to Sudbury and everywhere in between, 1 of these 8 summer festivals is sure to get you on your feet.
8. Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festival
Thirty-five years ago, on the banks of the Madawaska River in a place called Beachburg, a music festival was born. Originally an homage to that folksy genre great, bluegrass, the Palmer Rapids Twin Music Festival has evolved into a 4-day, 2-stage event. On one stage, Canadian country musicians take the spotlight. On the other, the down-home twang of bluegrass bands will have you clapping and stomping your feet. Inducted into the Ottawa Valley Hall of Fame, the music festival has attracted Canadian greats and international artists alike; the 2015 edition of this tradition features the comedy of Bowser & Blue, along with Albertan country singer Bobby Wills, American bluegrass bands and a host of local talent. Some people might turn up their nose at folk music in an out-of-the-way location, but if you like good tunes, good company and enjoying the best of Ontario’s summer, there ain’t no better place.
7. North by Northeast
You’ve heard of South by Southwest (SXSW), now get ready to be rocked by North by Northeast (NXNE). More than just a music festival, this Toronto event is now in its 21st year. Taking over various venues in the downtown core of Ontario’s capital, NXNE hosts showcases, panels, film screenings, art installations and much more over the course of 5 days each June. The 2015 line-up boasts rapper Tink and perennial Canadian indie favorites The New Pornographers amid a mix of up-and-coming talent and local artists. The festival also plays host to a comics fair featuring the work of Toronto artists and a number of screenings for select films, often with a focus on music—such as Amy, the heartbreaking documentary about British singer Amy Winehouse, in its Canadian debut—and presentations by people like Louis Black, co-founder of SXSW. Time to give the Northeast its due!
6. All-Canadian Jazz Festival
Prepare to snap your fingers and tap your toes as you bob your head to the infectious, horn-filled rhythms and sultry sounds of jazz in scenic Port Hope. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, savor the last few days of the short Canadian summer on September 11, 12 and 13. Now in its 14th year, the All-Canadian Jazz Festival celebrates the Canadian jazz scene, connecting fans and a select list of Canadian jazz musicians, such as the Brownman Electryc Trio and Elizabeth Shepherd. While other festivals have moved away from their roots and added artists spanning genres, the All-Canadian Jazz Festival is exactly what it advertises, staying the course to bring you the best of the best. The Canadian jazz scene might be small (and under-appreciated), but the talent is mighty. The intimate, small-town Ontario setting of Port Hope serves as the perfect venue for showcasing Canadiana.
Long weekends are made for partying and the organizers behind the Veld Music Festival in Toronto knew that when they picked their dates. On the Civic Holiday long weekend, Downsview Park will host some of the biggest names in electronic dance music; Deadmau5, Kaskade and Hardwell, just to name a few. Even though the festival’s only in its 3rd year, it has quickly established itself as a staple of the Toronto summer music scene. The festival grew in 2014, and future editions are likely to attract even more star DJs, which gives Ontarions another great alternative to international festivals like Coachella and Ultra—and provides an alternative for anyone who has to miss Digital Dreams in June. Festivals like Veld show that Canada is a world-class venue for world-class talent—and that Toronto can party just as hard as LA, Miami and countless other major cities around the world.
4. Boots and Hearts
A lot of music festival goers will tell you that the circuit seems to have been taken over by large-scale EDM festivals, and Ontario is no exception to that trend. Enter Boots and Hearts, the remedy to DJ-overload. Now a staple in Barrie, north of Toronto, Boots and Hearts features performances by today’s hottest country stars. With more than 30 acts performing over 4 days, country fans don’t want to miss this! Since 2012, the festival has played host to stars like Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood and shows no signs of slowing down. For 2015, the festival welcomes Brad Paisley, a host of new acts and old favorites. The festival is more low-key than some of the high-energy EDM parties, but the laid-back atmosphere fits perfectly with the soundtrack. If camping, cracking a cold one and kicking back sounds like your ideal weekend, this is the place for you.
3. Ottawa Bluesfest
Not much can match the sound of the blues, with foot-tapping rhythms and smoky crooning. That’s why in July 1994 Bluesfest took place in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. Every year since then, blues lovers have descended on the city’s downtown, with growing crowds helping make Bluesfest the largest blues festival in Canada and the second-largest in North America—more than 300,000 people attended the two-week, multi-stage festival in 2014. Despite shifting away from its blues roots to embrace the tradition of festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella, Bluesfest is still going strong 21 years after its inception. This year, downtown Ottawa’s premier music festival welcomes international artists like Iggy Azalea and Kanye West, classic rock acts Deep Purple and Canned Heat, Canuck bands the Tragically Hip and Marianas Trench, and many, many more artists representing just about every genre under the sun! Bluesfest remains the number one summer jam in Ottawa.
2. Digital Dreams
Yes, another festival for the EDM crowd. Digital Dreams, much like Veld, attracts some of today’s hottest DJs to the heart of downtown Toronto for 2 days of partying. Billing itself as Canada’s largest EDM party, the 2013 edition attracted 60,000 music fans on Canada Day weekend and the event has only grown since then. Past years have seen performances by DJs such as Tiesto, and 2015’s line-up includes Martin Garrix, ZEDD and Deorro—and many more. The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, near Echo Beach on the Toronto waterfront, serves as the venue for this festival. Although some people ask which is better—Digital Dreams or Veld—the truth is that EDM fans will want to hit both of these festivals.
Over 30 years, Hillside Festival has become something of a legend among festival-goers. Though the festival has expanded over the years to include other aspects of art and culture—such as food and local artisans—Hillside remains primarily a music festival. Focusing on musicians and singers, Hillside has a folksy, down-to-earth vibe, but isn’t afraid to experiment and innovate. The atmosphere is welcoming for people of all ages, whether you’re looking for a day-trip with the kids or spending the whole weekend camping in Guelph Lake Conservation Area with your besties, and there’s plenty of activities to participate in. Past festivals have included performances from Tegan and Sara and Hollerado, and the 2015 line-up includes the reunited Constantines as well as Michael Franti and Spearhead. Let the music form the soundtrack of your weekend and between performances, listen to spoken word poetry, participate in a workshop and sample some fare from the international food bazaar.
The people of The Royal City love to eat out, and they know good food when they see it. It’s no surprise then that the city of Guelph offers many dining choices to satisfy even the most obscure of cravings. Indian? check. Pub food? check. You can even find traditional French country and Chilean cuisine. The dining possibilities are seemingly endless so how do you know where to start and what’s good? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this list of foodie favorites from around the city. Some are more well-known than others but all offer dishes that will keep you coming back time and again.
12. Einstein’s Cafe
If you’ve never heard of Einstein’s Cafe, it could be because it’s tucked away in a historic old house on Grant St downtown. It’s a cafe that’s worth seeking out for their homemade Mexican and Italian inspired cuisine that keeps you coming back for more. Einstein’s Cafe is open for lunch Monday-Friday and for dinner Monday-Saturday, but if you have a larger group it’s best to call ahead for reservations.
11. Señor Chipotle
If you’re looking for authentic home-cooked Mexican cuisine look no further than Señor Chipotle located in the Westwood plaza. Their menu might be small but each dish from the Enchiladas to the Tostadas is packed full of flavor. Come early because space is limited and make sure you save room for one of their famous (and incredibly delicious) Churros for dessert.
10. The Joint Cafe
Whether you’re looking for sweet or savory, The Joint Cafe downtown satisfies on every level. Everything here is made from scratch including their scones and cookies. You won’t be disappointed with their hearty breakfasts and innovative lunch offerings. Expect to see something new on the menu frequently as it changes with the best of the season!
9. Pho Kinh Do
You have to venture out a little bit to find this much loved Vietnamese/Thai restaurant; way out to Woodlawn Rd W that is, but once you do you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for a steaming bowl of that delicious rice noodle soup known as Pho, you’ve come to the right place as many locals consider this the best spot in the city. They also have many other favorites like Thai Green Curry and the much loved Pad Thai. No trip to Pho Kinh Do ends in disappointment.
Morning, noon, or very late at night… it’s always the right time for Salsateria. This long-time downtown favorite has been delighting diners with some of the best Chilean inspired cuisine one could ask for. The salsa and pimento sauce are the stuff of legends and once you try the Jerk Chicken Burrito you’ll find yourself craving one every time you pass by. So go get yourself a burrito, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
7. With The Grain
Guelph’s resident ‘hippy’ cafe has been around since 1999, proving that despite ‘gluten-free’ trends, people will always want sandwiches. You’re guaranteed a good one at this cafe that makes all their own breads and baked goods, other offerings include delicious daily soup specials and all-day breakfast choices. The bright and cheery vibe is accentuated by the charm of the historic house turned cafe and tables fill up quickly at lunch so arrive early!
6. Spice Roots
One of the most flavorful Indian food experiences in Guelph is also one of the newest. Spice Roots opened in the Hartsland plaza in the south end in early 2014 and has been delighting taste buds ever since with their bold and authentic Indian favorites like char-grilled tandoori meats and spicy curries. Wash it all down with one of their Lassi yogurt drinks or a perfectly spiced Masala Chai.
It’s a cafe, bar and bakery all rolled into one, OX offers skillfully prepared dishes using locally sourced ingredients. All of their breads are made onsite in the bakery and the bar features local craft beers and inventive cocktails like The Aviation which features gin, maraschino liqueur, fresh lemon and house-made violet syrup. On Mondays after 5pm all of their creative and colorful pizzas are half price.
4. Friends in Our Kitchen
The husband and wife team behind this unassuming downtown restaurant have been quietly making fine-dining level food in an ultra-casual environment for years. Everything on their menu is made from scratch including Chef Ging’s famous Spring Rolls. It’s a popular lunch time favorite with their satisfying soups, salads and sandwiches but their Asian-influenced dinner menu is always a winner as well.
3. Baker Street Station
Baker Street Station has firmly rooted themselves in the spot of best pub food downtown, and we don’t just mean regular pub food either. Baker Street does everything a little differently with modern takes on classic staples like curry, fish and chips and burgers. Make sure to check the specials board for unique offerings and the ‘Grazing’ board for some seriously good pub snacks like fried brie and hand cut onion rings.
This chic restaurant was once in the heart of downtown but has since made a short move to a beautiful historic house on Woolwich St, where the setting perfectly reflects the French country cooking you’ll find within. On the lunch menu you’ll find simple yet satisfying favorites like quiche and croque madame while the dinner menu highlights the best of the season, all with understated elegance and a decidedly French flair.
1. Delhi Street Bistro
Word of this awesome little dining establishment is spreading fast, but for now most only know about it through someone who’s been. The ambiance is clean and uncomplicated, letting the amazing food shine through above all else. You’ll have to do a little planning before you visit as hours are limited; they do brunch on Sundays and dinner Tuesday-Saturday, and they can be choosy with the hours because the food’s just that good.
As Canadians we know that summer can sometimes be short and sweet (or sometimes just plain short) so it’s important to get out there and enjoy this beautiful season we wait patiently for all year long. One of the favorite ways to do this is to kick back, relax and enjoy a beverage and a bite to eat on an outdoor patio. Luckily, there are quite a few to choose from in the city of Guelph, but some definitely rise above others in terms of location and ambiance. To help you pick carefully, here is our list of the 12 best patios in Guelph:
Any south-ender knows the options for patios in this part of Guelph consist mostly of the typical parking lot patios. Borealis does a little better with their spacious patio that’s surrounded by perfectly manicured landscaping and sun umbrellas which almost make you forget you’re actually on one of the city’s busiest roads.
11. The Shakespeare Arms
It’s easy to forget about this traditional British pub since it’s somewhat tucked away behind the Harvard plaza, but that’s one of the best parts about the patio at ‘Shakey’s’. The sunny patio is tucked around side of the building away from the hustle and noise of the usually busy plaza parking lot.
10. Boston Pizza
Ok we know that putting a chain restaurant on this list might have you outraged but hear us out. The Boston Pizza patio in the north end of town has 2 great things going for it; it’s the only patio in town that has TV’s so you don’t have to miss any live sports action, and it’s also heated (because as Canadians we know summer isn’t always ‘warm’).
9. Sip Club
This one is definitely a hidden gem…literally. Sip Club’s fun and fresh patio is relatively new as it was only build about 2 years ago. It sits in the back alley behind the club downtown which might sound off-putting but on warm summer nights this is the place to be, as it’s filled with twinkle lights, great music and people having a great time.
8. Buon Gusto
This upscale italian eatery made excellent use of the sidewalk space in downtown’s St. Georges Square, though it wasn’t easy. The patio’s geometric shape angles it’s way around the existing trees which provide both shade and natural beauty making this a perfect spot to sip some vino in the summer.
7. Symposium Cafe
Like we mentioned before, a good patio can be hard to find the further you move away from the downtown core, however Symposium Cafe actually has a pretty great one. Since the restaurant is tucked way back from the busyness of Stone Road, the side patio is refreshingly calm, quiet and surrounded by lush trees.
6. Jimmy Jazz
The regulars at the Jimmy Jazz aren’t going to be happy with us for leaking this secret, they’re happy to keep this patio gem to themselves! From the front this downtown dive bar looks pretty regular, but outback they’re hiding an amazing back alley patio that hosts some of the best party nights around. Just don’t tell them we told you so.
5. The Woolwich Arrow
Affectionately known by locals as ‘the Wooly’, this downtown pub has an admittedly small patio but it’s not the size that counts. If you’re lucky enough to get a table on this secluded patio you’re almost guaranteed a great time amongst the vines and foliage that surround it during the summer. The locally sourced food and wide selection of craft beers on tap can’t hurt either.
4. The Albion Hotel
There aren’t many places in the city of Guelph that can boast a double patio… but The Albion Hotel downtown certainly can. Their patio has you covered whatever the weather with a bottom level that’s protected from the elements by the second storey patio. During the summer you’ll find the sun-worshipers basking above while the shade-seekers relax on the cooler lower level.
3. Baker Street Station
Tucked away on a one-way street downtown you’ll find Baker Street Station, a modern pub that lives in a historic 2-storey building. Here you’ll find a small front patio on the lower level and a charming wrap-around veranda on the second storey. You’ll also find an extensive list of craft-brewed beers and innovative pub snacks to go with them.
2. La Cucina
Sometimes a great patio isn’t always just about the drinks. Ok, it usually is… but if you’re looking for amazing fine dining in a beautiful patio setting, La Cucina has you covered. Their second storey terrace known as Il Terrazzo is the perfect place for a romantic date night with its twinkling lights, exposed stone and crawling vines.
1. Bread Bar
Earth to Table: Bread Bar (or just Bread Bar to the locals) has a food philosophy of using the best ingredients the earth has to offer in each season. During the Spring/Summer seasons you can enjoy their awesome patio surrounded by old trees and backing onto the Eramosa River; it’s an ambiance that can easily be described as Guelph’s most serene patio setting.