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Rutherford Conservatory a hidden architectural gem on campus (15 photos)

A place to get away from the campus bustle

The University of Guelph campus abounds in architectural surprises. One of those is tucked away in the heart of the campus, and acts as a kind of sanctuary from the bustle of university life.

The D.M. Rutherford Family Conservatory is a classic greenhouse building, constructed back in 1930 of steel and glass, using as its foundation heavy limestone blocks for original barns on campus. It's considerably smaller than other historic conservatories in North America, but still quite impressive. 

It has had some work done to it over the years, with a full restoration back in the 1990s, funded by a donation from the Don Rutherford family of Bobcaygeon. Rutherford graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College in 1951. 

And while there have been some upgrades to the conservatory in recent years, the structure is essentially as it was when originally built.

The current plant collection was dedicated in 2004, thanks to a gift from Peter and Sandra Hannan. There are a number of exotic plants species inside, and places to sit, reflect, and absorb the light that shines through.

The grounds immediately surrounding the building are home to a picturesque park, especially vibrant in the warm season, when it features lily ponds stocked with goldfish, and several benches for peaceful study, conversation, or respite.

The conservatory is just a few steps west of the south entrances of the University Centre, and behind the H.L. Hutt Building.