This week, we’re outlining some of our favourite parks in Guelph. If you have young children like we do, you’re probably looking for some places to take the kids that offers maximum fun with minimal cost!
Below is our own list of the top 5 parks in Guelph. If you think we’ve missed something, let us know!
Riverside Park, 709 Woolwich Street Guelph
Public washrooms: Yes. They’re located with the concession stand next to the miniature train and merry-go-round.
Riverside Park is the City’s main park for a wide variety of events and activities. This is a great place to visit for local events such as RibFest, the Multi-Cultural Festival, Canada Day fireworks and much more.
On top of that, this north Guelph park offers so much:
- Many natural areas and trails for both walking and bike riding (note the trail crosses Woodlawn at the north end and eventually gets to Victoria Rd. On the other side of Victoria Rd, the trail connects to the popular GORBA trails)
- One of the largest and best playground areas and playground structures in Guelph (Riverside has new playgrounds about 15 years ago)
- Many picnic tables
- Many covered pavilions/ picnic shelters for birthdays or family reunions
- A long running carousel / merry go round with the classic horse and animals to ride on
- Miniature train that both Beth and Ryan rode as children!
- A suspension bridge that goes over the Speed River (it used to be very bouncy but has been updated in recent years)
- Disc golf course on the east side of the river
- A big flower clock feature at the entrance with lots of parking and shade
- Leash free dog area on east side of the park
- 3 baseball diamonds
- A band shelter!
In recent years the waterfront has been overtaken by Canada Geese and their poop. Watch where you sit!
You can buy a pass for the Merry Go Round and Train which is far more economical than single use tickets. If you purchase before April 1, 2023, you will get the early bird rate of $21.64 plus HST (after April 1, the price will be $22.08 plus HST). Passes are available for purchase at recreation facilities and at ServiceGuelph. This is compared to $3 per ride for single use.
Exhibition Park 81 London Road West, Guelph
Public washrooms? Yes. Recently renovated in 2022 to update and add two more. Located next to the playground.
Exhibition Park is Beth and Ryan’s neighbourhood park. In fact, it’s been many peoples neighbourhood park for generations. Many years ago- as the name and mature trees imply implies, this large park was the home of Guelph’s annual Exhibition (think of the CNE). Considered one of Guelph’s downtown parks, Exhibition Park is a destination for many.
For fun, go to google maps and do an overhead view of this park to get an idea of the variety and location.
There are so many things that happen at this park:
- A newly updated natural playground (2016) that was voted as one of North America’s top 20 natural playgrounds
- 3 tennis courts (updated, repaved 2021) that are used for tennis and pickle ball
- 3 sports fields (recreational, enclosed and small stadium size for the Guelph Royals)
- A city maintained wading pool (Ryan used to go here as a kid!).
- One of Guelphs community hockey rinks (Exhibition Arena) is located at the north end of the park
Many events are held at Exhibition Park throughout the year, including the Guelph Games, the Thanksgiving Day Races (oldest in Canada!) and the Food Truck Festival. There are also many slo-pitch tournaments, soccer games and rugby matches held at the park.
Exhibition Park is also home to the Guelph Royals junior baseball team and has a great turnout. They still use the old loudspeaker to announce players.
The park is approved as an off leash dog area in Guelph, when sports events aren’t running. If you go there in the morning or early evening, there are many dogs there convening in the centre of the park.
Exhibition Park is also approved for a community, volunteer winter ice rink that is located on the northwest side of the park by the concession stand.
St.George’s Park 40 Metcalfe Street, Guelph
Public washrooms? Yes.
This central park is beautiful and is the hub of the beautiful St Georges Park neighbourhood. It’s not a huge park and is a bit of a hidden gem.
This park has tennis courts that get a lot of use, along with some pickleball. There are also partial basketball courts.
You’ll often find neighbours convening here, similar to Exhibition Park with their dogs. Although not formally an off leash park, some neighbours do allow their dogs off leash.
This park is also approved to have a community run outdoor winter ice rink.
Sunny Acres Park, 45 Edinburgh Road North
Public washrooms? No.
In our minds, this park is Guelph’s community park. The Sunny Acres neighbourhood, just west of downtown Guelph near Paisley and Edinburgh has so much to offer.
With a community garden, a wading pool, playground structure and plenty of grassy space for picnics, it’s a favourite of many. This park does not have any formal parking and located on Edinburgh Rd. So, you’ll need to use some of the residential side streets around it if you’re driving.
Many community events are held here, including a winter curling bonspiel that has become popular in recent years. This park in Guelph is approved to have a community outdoor rink (volunteer run)
Jubilee Park, 11 Sweeney Drive Guelph
Public washrooms? No.
This south end park is one of Guelph’s newer parks and has a lot to offer!
Like some of the others here, it has been approved as a community run winter ice rink location. It does not have an approved off leash area though.
The playground area is fantastic for children with lots of fun options including a bouncy ladybug!. If you pack a snack or a picnic you can enjoy it at a picnic table under the shade structure. I’ve read that the city has more proposed plans for this park so it will be interesting to watch it develop. Some of the future plans include a splash pad, natural play equipment, and tennis courts.
Royal City Park, 119 Gordon Street Guelph
Public washrooms? No, but close to many downtown shops and restaurants in Guelph that have washrooms for customers (Starbucks, restaurants, McDonalds, Taco Bell, A&W)
Royal City Park is one of the main parks in Guelph and it has a lot to offer. Located downtown Guelph, it offers a lot not only in the park, including Guelph coffee shops and pubs in Guelph.
The park itself has a great playground for kids, as well as a gazebo that adds a lot of fun for the kids. It’s often used for families for picnics, musical events and even weddings!
This park is located on the banks of the Speed River and has a lot of seating to pass the summer days. Across the road is the Boathouse ice cream shop. The Boathouse is very popular in the summer, sometimes with huge lineups on weekends.
Canoes and kayaks
You can also rent a canoe or kayak beside the boathouse to paddle down the river! Next door to the Boathouse is the Guelph lawn bowling club. You need to be a member to play, but it’s also just fun to watch.
You can drive through the park and park on the side of the road throughout. Parking isn’t usually and issue and it’s free. Throughout the park you’ll find amazing walking/jogging/biking trails that go from the Hanlon to Victoria.
A little further down the walking path you’ll find Guelph’s only skatepark, which is very popular.
Like Riverside Park, this area is also very popular with Geese and their droppings
Margaret Greene Park, 80 Westwood Road Guelph
Public washrooms? Yes.
This park is one of Ryan’s home parks in Guelph in the 1980’s, known at the time as Westwood Park! Located in the west end of Guelph, it’s a large space and has changed a lot over time.
There is a lot of parking available not only in the lot, but on the road alongside the park. You’ll often find families having a picnic here because there is a lot of green space to spread out. For those who like trains, there is a rail line at the back that is somewhat active.
The City uses the fields at the back of the park for city run baseball games. You’ll sometimes find cricket matches or pick up soccer games there as well.
Margaret Greene also has multiple tennis courts that get a lot of use for both tennis and pickleball.
Other similar lists:
Other than parks in Guelph, we have a number of other lists that we’ve created to help you navigate the City of Guelph and their local businesses and amenities as part of our Support Local initiative.
One of the most relevant to this list is our list of things to do in Guelph.
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Photo source: City of Guelph website