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Art exhibit, upcoming colouring book bring new life to former reformatory lands

Fundraiser in support of Yorklands Green Hub efforts

A fundraising colouring book is slated for release in September, but people can take a look now at the drawings used to create it.

The “Colour Yorklands Exhibit” is on display at the East End Library on Starwood Drive, near the former Guelph reformatory lands it seeks to protect, until the end of the month.

The exhibit features black and white drawings created by artist Irene Hanuta that will be used in the colouring book known as “Colour Yorklands,” as well as stories of the property intended to highlight the property’s beauty and history. It also includes versions coloured by Hanuta.

“The drawings are not heavily outlined shapes to just colour in, but are designed so that each person who colours can add details and textures to turn it into a creation uniquely their own,” Hanuta said via email. “You can think of it as an adult colouring book, but I would be interested to see how children who love to draw and colour would colour the drawings.”

The exhibit launched on July 3. 

Hanuta created the drawings based on photos she’s taken at the site as well as from memories of the many walks she’s taken through the property.

All proceeds from colouring book sales will go toward supporting Yorklands Green Hub’s (YGH) vision for the provincially owned property – creation of an interactive sustainable environments centre with community programming, along with preservation of streams, ponds, meadows and trails.

The book is expected to be released in September, but pre-orders are being taken now at a discounted price. To pre-order a copy, visit

“I believe in the potential of the vision which YGH has been trying to make a reality,” said Hanuta, who is joined by fellow volunteers Patricia Beader (graphic design) and Katherine Elliot (text) in creating the book. “I want to see it become real.”

For more information about the colouring book or YGH’s ideas for the property, visit

With plans to sell the property, provincial officials asked the city to begin the process of heritage designation of the former Guelph reformatory property. Last month, city council agreed to protect numerous aspects of the property through a series of Part IV designations under the Ontario Heritage Act, as well as launch a study that could lead to a more comprehensive designation under Part V of the act.


Richard Vivian

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