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In Your Neighbourhood: Old University (28 Photos)

Neighbourhood has an immaculate air

Old University. Talk about sophisticated.

Clean is one word that comes to mind.  Stately homes, immaculate yards, grand rooming or tenement houses, wide streets.  

This established, upscale neighhourhood on the rise of land just to the south of the confluence of the Eramosa and Speed rivers, has a most visible air of civility and affluence to it.

Many of the architectural structures within it pre-date the University of Guelph, and likely housed many of the professorial and administrative types connected to the Ontario College of Agriculture, the Ontario Veterinary College, and the Macdonald Institute that formed the building blocks of U of G when it was established in 1964.

Some of the sprawling, single-storey homes in the area appear to date from the 1950s and 60s. It's easy to see that there is a residential culture on the hill that embraces immaculacy. Here in early April, the owners of many of those homes are getting an early start on landscaping and gardening work. There are a few dodgy areas, but they are around the less grandiose edges.

There are many surprises in Old University. Dormie Lane is one of them. A kind of peninsula-street encircled by the links of the Cutten Fields, it is lined with about eight upper class homes, and comes to a dead-end at Dormie House, the former Cutten Fields clubhouse.

The street was made possible in the late 1940s after part of the golf course lands was subdivided. Currently, 17 Dormie Lane, one of those sprawling single-storey homes is on the market for $989,988. The view around it is itself sprawling.

As immaculate, clean, tidy, and rather conservative as Old University is, it has a reputation as party central. It is home to many student residents, and a great many of the more modest homes closer to the university are entirely occupied by students. On special occasions it is not unusual for the bylaw enforcement to show up due to noise and other complaints, several times a night.

One of the defining features of the neighbourhood is the steep ascent, or steep descent, depending on the direction you’re traveling, on Gordon Street, as it climbs straight up/rolls straight down from/to the river valley. Going up the hill is a workout for any cyclist’s thighs.

Another conspicuous feature is that there is very little commerce in Old University. The nearest shops are along Edinburgh Road to the west and the downtown.  

This photo gallery was shot on a sunny Wednesday morning, from roughly 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. A very civilized walk.