Guelph: The royal city

Named after the ancestors of King George the IV, the city of Guelph possesses a certain old-world flair, not just in its nomenclature, but in the posture of the downtown as well. Distinctly European street design—quaint or chaotic, depending on whom you are asking—necessitates a slower pace than the shopping malls of the suburbs. In the city’s core, the independent boutiques reign supreme, and the big-box stores have been held at bay for years. The sentence that typically follows “I like your outfit!” is “Where did you get that?” rather than “I have the same one in blue!” or “Isn’t Gap the best?”

Downtown Guelph is a gratifying place to call home if the subtleties and traditions of Europe are what you long for. Winding through the streets, you can pick up your wine at one shop, your cheese and bread at the next, and your vintage handbag just down a little further.

My latest quintessentially Guelph piecemeal outfit, which I bought for a wedding this summer, consists of a lace LBD by Pepper (Blush, 38 Quebec St., 519-822-9669,, red patent pumps by Steve Madden (If Footwear, 42 Wyndham St. N., 519-822-3880,, and a string of pearls found at the Aberfoyle Antique Market just outside of Guelph (61 Brock Rd. S., 519-763-1077, Just add a café au lait and baguette, and La Rive Gauche feels almost within reach.

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