Campus and Guelph | Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Campus and Guelph

composite of Rutherford Conservatory, the cannon,the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Johnson Green, the Science Complex

The University of Guelph campus

The University of Guelph campus first opened in 1874 as an agricultural school on a 500-acre farm. It became the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in 1880 and joined with the Macdonald Institute in 1903. In 1922, the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) moved to Guelph from Toronto. In 1964, these 3 colleges joined to become the University of Guelph.

There are now 5 additional colleges in addition to the OAC and OVC; the College of Arts (COA), the College of Biological Sciences (CBS), the College Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS), the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS), and the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics (LANG). The campus is now located on 865 acres in the heart of the City of Guelph.


You are encouraged to explore all that campus has to offer by taking a historial video tour now, or a walking tour once the campus is fully open again.

Some campus highlights you may like to visit include:

  • The Arboretum, a 400-acre home to nearly 18,000 plant collections, wetlands, nature trails and a memorial forest.
  • The cannon, Old Jeremiah, which is a British naval gun located in Branion Plaza. It is a long-standing Guelph tradition for students to paint the cannon with messages in order to promote events and organizations.
  • Art Gallery of Guelph, which is located on Gordon Street just north of College Avenue and presents 15 exhibitions annually.
  • The D.M. Rutherford Conservatory and Gardens, which consists of a glass greenhouse built in 1930 and a water garden. Benches in the garden are an ideal spot to visit with friends or eat your lunch.


logo of Student Housing Services

Although it is possible you won't be coming to campus this September, the campus will re-open at some point. Once that happens, you'll need to find a place to live if you are not from Guelph or the surrounding area. There are several University services available to graduate students to help you find a place to live either on- or off-campus.


On-Campus Housing

Student Housing Services reserves some of its buildings including University Houses and 3-person townhouses in West Residences for use by graduate students.

To be guaranteed a place in residence, new students must apply by June 1. After this date, applicants are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis based on availability of spaces. Check the Student Housing website for information about residence availability during the pandemic.

Off-Campus Living

Student Experience partners with Places4Students to maintain a list of rental properties available to students in Guelph. Students can post sublets and use the Roommate Finder free of charge.

The Rental Living page provides information on leases and sample leases, checklists for viewing properties and a guide to prices, as well as dates of housing fairs. Off-Campus Living is part of Student Experience and works closely with students, residents, City staff, landlords, and City Councillors to help facilitate communication and to ease the way for students who live both in Guelph and outside of the city. They promote commuter community and connections, and tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities. They also introduce students to the tools they need to find housing, get students involved in the larger Guelph community, and promote good neighbourhood relations.

The Guelph Campus Co-operative is a democratically owned and controlled student co-op that operates off-campus student housing. They are a non-share consumer co-operative that is governed by the Co-operative Corporations Act of Ontario and the GCC Bylaws. They maintain a lodging house, apartment buildings and townhouse apartments below market rates. One way they keep costs low is that housing members are required to pay a small membership fee and participate in the upkeep and running of their household and housing community.

Only a few units become available each term, so it is a good idea to apply early if you want to take advantage of their housing options.

Watch the video below for an overview of off-campus housing services in Fall 2020.

Return to Where to Live


composite of food venue logos


Once campus reopens, there will be many great places to eat and indeed, Hospitality Services has been voted the #1 food service university for 10 years in a row. The HS webpage lists 18 dining venues on campus, from coffee shops (Tim Horton's, Second Cup, Starbucks, Planet Bean) to restaurants serving full meals (University Centre Food Court, Creelman Marketplace, Gryphs Full Service Restaurant). Depending on where you work on campus, you may not even need to go outside to grab a coffee, snack or light lunch. In addition, HS manages several food trucks including the Caffeine Canteen and the Gryph N' Grille, which park outside the University Centre during suitable weather. You can find hours of service and menus on the HS website.

HS offers meal plans for students living both on campus and off campus. They are accepted at most venues, but there are some restrictions.

Other dining venues on campus include the Brass Taps Campus Pub, and the Campus Bakery, both run by University Centre Services, and the Fifth: GSA Rooftop Patio and Lounge, which is owned and operated by the Graduate Student Association. All of these venues are located in the University Centre.

In addition, the Central Student Association operates the Bullring, which is a fully licensed café located in a renovated cattle show ring near Rozanski Hall and the MacKinnon Building. Bob's Dogs, a hotdog cart located on the patio of the Bullring, is open year-round and reportedly offers the best hotdogs in Guelph.

A playlist of videos in which U of Guelph students review food venues around campus is provided below.

The University also has off-campus partners who will accept student meal plans or staff Express Cards as payment. A complete list of these restaurants is available on the HS website.

If you are new to Guelph, you can check out the information sheets on Shopping and Food Delivery in Guelph developed by Student Experience.

Return to Where to Eat


composite of Gryphon Athletic Centre, Mitchell Centre, indoor track, weight room


Graduate school is not all about classes and thesis research. To maintain good health and mental well-being it is a good idea to get some exercise and have some fun. Guelph Gryphons Fitness and Recreation, which is part of the Department of Athletics can help you with that. You can use some of the world-class facilities in the recently renovated Fitness Centre on your own, or take one of the many classes offered to the University Community such as Aquafit, Cycle, Fitness, or Pilates and Yoga to name a few. You can also join an Intramural League in one of 15 sports, a Community League or a Sports Club. There are 24 accredited clubs that range from competitive to recreational.

The Athletics Activity Fee you pay each semester gives you base access to athletics facilities for recreation.  Participation in some classes, clubs and intramural programs may require an additional fee or membership. Information about fees and registration is available on the Fitness and Wellness webpage. During the pandemic, many of the facilities are not available while some are available for restricted use. Check the Gryphons website for updates.

Watch the video below for an overview of Athletics in Fall 2020.

Return to Where to Play


composite of bike shelter, bus, and parking signs


As a registered student who pays student fees, you will be eligible to receive an unlimited access pass for the city bus system, Guelph Transit. Bus passes are distributed by the Graduate Student Association each semester. Check the bus pass webpage for place and time of distribution.

Buses stop at various locations around the periphery of campus, and there is a bus hub in front of the University Centre. In addition, GO Transit buses stop at the University Centre allowing easy access to the Greater Toronto Area and Mississauga.

Parking is also available on campus. You can purchase a permit to park in residence lots if you live on campus, or a permit for the day lots located around campus. There are also parking meters in many lots and you can pay using the Pay By Phone app so you don't have to worry about finding enough coins. Note that some lots are designated for students and others are for faculty and staff. Visit the Parking Services webpage for information about parking permits, fees, lot locations and regulations.

Everyone is encouraged to use public transportation or bicycle to travel to campus instead of driving. There are many bicycle racks located near building entrances and large covered bicycle shelters near the University Centre and the Science Complex. There is an air pump station next to the shelter near the Science Complex.

The Central Student Association maintains a Bike Centre on campus in which they offer access to tools for bicycle repair, and workshops to help you save money by learning to maintain your own bicycle. This service will be unavailable until the campus reopens so check the webpage for updates.

Return to How to Get Around


logos of the Campus Police, Safe Walk and Safe Gryphon

The Campus Community Police (CCP) service, located in the Trent Building, responds to all emergencies on campus as well as monitors video surveillance cameras, alarms and emergency phones. CCP Special Constables are sworn in by the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and have similar powers and authorities as municipal officers. However, authority for these constables is limited to the areas within the boundaries of the University of Guelph. The CCP maintains a close working relationship with Guelph Police Services, the Guelph Fire Department and other related agencies to ensure a safer community.

To contact the CCP in an emergency, dial extension 52000, 519-840-5000 or 911.

The CCP offers several programs to help make the campus a safe place including the Security Tracking of Office Property (STOP) program, the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) System, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) program, and the Safety Prevention Awareness Courtesy Education (SPACE) program.

The CCP administers U of G Alert, which is the University’s emergency notification system. It sends critical alerts to registered email addresses and phones (texts and calls) when an emergency happens on campus. You are encouraged to sign up to receive these alerts once you are able to come to campus.

The CCP also supports the SafeWalk program, which is run by student volunteers, and provides a safe and reliable escort after dark for anyone on the University campus and helps maintain the safety of the campus community. The service is available seven days a week from 7:30 pm to 2:30 am when the campus is open.

The CCP has launched a new campus safety app, SAFEGRYPHON for smartphones that is available to the entire campus community. It includes quick access to the emergency call number and SafeWalk, and includes a personal alarm and flashlight for your phone.

Return to How to Be Safe


Guelph city hall, the Church of Our Lady, downtown Guelph at night, downtown Guelph

The City of Guelph

The City of Guelph, located ~100 km west of Toronto, offers the perfect setting to complement your graduate or postdoctoral studies. Commonly ranked as one of the best places to live in Canada, Guelph prides itself on maintaining its small-town charm while providing urban amenities for families and single adults alike. The City of Guelph provides a perfect balance of academics and community. With a population of just over 130,000 people, Guelph is a vibrant community and home to a lively downtown core, a thriving cultural community, diverse recreational activities, numerous shopping facilities and a variety of special events.

There are many things to see and do in Guelph and you are encouraged to explore the city once you have arrived. More information about the city and surrounding area, and a list of highlights is available on the OGPS webpage.


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