OMG, What a Community!

Guelph is a community that demonstrates tremendous kindness at the best of times, and last night a group of people showed that it can be incredibly kind in the most difficult of times. Over Zoom a group of like-minded and philanthropic people together raised over $8,000 for the Guelph General Hospital Foundation.

Here’s how it happened. Less than a week ago, Beverly-Ann Woods and Michael Bennett were discussing that one of the things they miss about this time of year, is getting dressed up, and gathering with friends to support the community. Then the lightbulb went off. A discussion ensued regarding whether or not they could pull off a Virtual Fundraiser in a week to support the Guelph General Hospital Foundation.

Now, the idea of a Gala/Non-Gala originated with David Halls and his wife Robin-Lee Norris, but the concept of using technology to virtually connect in our finest evening wear was untested. Untested at least by anyone they knew. With David and Robin-Lee on-board, plans were quickly set in motion.

Auctioneer, Dan Stenning

To add a real Gala feel, a friend of Beverly-Ann’s and Professional Auctioneer Dan Stenning jumped at the opportunity to put his skills to work and help us from the comfort of his home in Downtown Toronto. This element alone upped the stakes and saw several items go for well over their posted value.

As people parted and said goodbyes, the Zoom Room left many with the warm comforting feeling that we can all use at this time.

Please, use this time as an opportunity to find new ways to connect with your community. Kindness is is, after all, one of the ingredients that make our community #GuelphProud.

There is still an opportunity to donate at

Go Train Service in Guelph

With my current listing only an 18-minute walk from Guelph Central Go Station it has caused me to ponder all of the benefits of this service. By my count, we now have 8 Go Trains into Union Station every day. This is up from an original 2 or 3 trains each way.

Back when there were only 2, I was still able to get to New York City without the stress of driving a car. It was as easy as, walk to the train station, Go Train to Union, shuttle to Billy Bishop, ferry of course, and a Porter flight to Newark followed by a train into Penn Station. It was easy, relatively inexpensive, and I arrived more relaxed than if I had driven through morning traffic to YYZ.

Now with more trains, it’s convenient to grab a train in for a matinee at any of the theatres, or even the Blue Jay’s opening day, and still take a train home. You just might have to stop for dinner or lunch too. You can even grab the 3:15 pm train, watch a game or concert and get a 10:53 pm train home.

So, while all of this will make our lives more convenient, it will also increase the desire for downtown homes and condos. Which is why you see RiverHouse, RiverMill and Metalworks doing so well. It also means that the downtown Guelph businesses like Tomme Cheese (pronounced like home) that embrace this increased traffic will prosper, and we’ll see some more great restaurants and cafe’s looking to feed and quench the thirst of commuters and tourists getting off the train.

Now if only we could get some weekend service and a connection between Go and the UP Train at Brampton Station. Then, I could just take the train to YYZ and never have to try to remember which level and letter I parked on after a week in the sun. Yes, I’ve walked around Viscount Parking Garage pushing the alarm to find my vehicle!

Starbucks on Edinburgh Road now open

Life as a Realtor often leads to meeting clients in various public spaces to discuss business, or just to catch up on life. While Tim Hortons are plentiful in Guelph, they are often loud, busy and not as well equipped with outlets to allow MLS searches and document preparation. So, when a new place to meet opens, a morning coffee to see if it fits my needs is in order.

Unlike the other Starbucks locations in Guelph, the Edinburgh location is spacious with 4 high tops down the middle and other tables on one side. There are even 8 comfy chairs for gathering with friends tucked into the corner.

Overall, i’m impressed and happy that this location is open, with easy parking, space for clients and outlets for laptops. I’ll be back. Even if it is to just soak in the atmosphere while writing a blog post.

Speaking of Coffee, if you would like to have coffee with me, Michael Bennett, just send me a note at I’m trying out a new application called Calendarly. So, I’ll just send you a link and you pick the time and place. I would love to connect and discuss your real estate needs.

Cheesy Downtown Guelph Gem!

Every once in a while, a store opens that makes the city, and in this case a neighbourhood so much better and more cultured. Tomme Cheese Shop in Downtown Guelph does just that. A cheese shop, after all, has to provide some culture, right?

Yesterday I picked up my first of 3 Cheese of the Month boxes from Tomme and enjoyed it along with some other appetizers with friends. A quick stop was made easy by parking in the new Wilson Street parking garage and walking across the street. My mystery package was in a nice box secured with a piece of stylish string, presentation reminiscent of traditional retailing.

Those who know me, know that I love cheese, even a simple grilled cheese sandwich. So, as I opened the box of cheese, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning opening the big gift. This was a Christmas Gift after all. Inside, individually wrapped was 3 kinds of cheese, a Chutney, and cue cards describing each cheese along with pairing notes.

Without ruining the surprise for others, all 3 of the cheeses were delicious along with the Chutney and I recommend you check out Tomme Cheese Shop soon. After all, everything tastes better with cheese, and downtown Guelph is better with Tomme Cheese Shop. Thank you Beverly-Ann, it was an awesome Christmas Present. I can’t wait until next month.

Guelph Mercury – My Thoughts 4 Years Later.

Marking the end of an era, the Guelph Mercury’s last edition rolled off the presses 4 years ago today. As someone who identified himself as a “Newspaperman” and advertising Sales Representative for nearly 27 years of it’s existence, it was a very memorable day.

Michael Bennett Photograph The last locally printed edition of the Guelph Mercury rolls off the Guelph press on February 7, 2014. The Mercury would go on to be printed at the Hamilton Spectator until it’s final edition on January 29, 2016

From inside its walls, The Guelph Mercury represented a tight-knit family of employees who continually achieved more. Our journalists often won big awards at the Ontario Newspaper Awards and our local advertising reps worked hard to maintain strong local ad revenues despite a national downward trend. On January 24th, 2016 we found out it wasn’t enough. It was announced that Metroland Media Group would be shuttering the Guelph Mercury on Friday, the 29th, 4 years ago today.

From this writer’s perspective, it was the people who made it last that long. The Guelph Mercury was the underdog. It was the small daily paper in a medium-sized market that continually saw it’s national advertising revenue decline, and yet the local revenues were stable amongst a small group of dedicated sales representatives. The people, sales reps, journalists, circulation, production and support staff together were the heart of the Guelph Mercury.

Some of those same people who made the Guelph Mercury overachieve have gone on to be integral in our community through new jobs at CJOY/Magic106.1, Defined Space, Guelph Sports Journal. the Guelph Tribune, OMAFRA, Guelph Today and more.

In January the following year, I started a career as a Real Estate Sales Representative with Royal Lepage Royal City Realty in Guelph and as much as I enjoy my new colleagues, they will never replace the group that worked late, met deadlines, won awards that the big dogs wanted, and occasionally threw nerf footballs around the office.


We Get Outside In Guelph

One of our guests stops to read an interpretive sign while Gayle Labuz of Sometimes Eventful leads an informative hike through the trails in Pine Ridge Neighbourhood.
Michael Bennett loves Guelph and it’s outdoor spaces

We’ve all heard that getting outside is important for our mental and physical fitness. Have you considered that there is another benefit to getting outside which we don’t often hear about? A stroll around our neighbourhood, a wander along urban paths or a hike on a rural trail on the outskirts of town can do wonders to strengthen your knowledge and connection to our community.

Time spent outside can take you along pathways through historical parts of our city that were (and still are) critical to giving Guelph it’s unique personality. You can also experience an almost hidden wilderness where plants and animals flourish just steps away from our busy roads, our schools and our very urban homes. 

Preservation Park is a well-known natural oasis in the city. But did you also know the south-end communities of Pineridge, Westminster Woods and Clairfields have a connected network of trails and greenways?  Known as the Westminister Woods Subdivision Wetlands, the trail system was designed to be a storm water management area and to preserve some sensitive conservation lands. These outdoor spaces provide a flourishing habitat for flora and fauna that are as much a part of the community as any of the humans and domestic pets living in the suburban neighbourhoods. The trails allow urban hikers to walk for hours, leading them around a kettle lake and through wetland and forest. Remnants of pioneer fences and stone walls can be found just off the trails. And if you are very fortunate and walking the trail at the right time of year, you may be able to pick luscious raspberries from long-abandoned vines or possibly spot a deer. 

Last summer Michael and a group of friends and colleagues spent an hour on a portion of the Westminister Woods Subdivision Wetlands trail and experienced an incredible taste of the urban wildlife living there. Birds were singing, frogs were croaking and the breeze rustled the leaves of the tree canopy.  It was interesting to see how a modern subdivision used the natural environment for both practical reasons and recreation for the people living in the city.

In Guelph, we are fortunate to have access to the Westminister Woods trail, in addition to over 1000 hectares of parks and open space; more than 70 km of trails and paths, two rivers and Guelph Lake which is maintained by Grand River Conservation Authority. We also have the renowned University of Guelph Arboretum offering an incredible natural space to anyone looking for a place to get a taste of nature. Ranging from maintained, stroller and wheelchair friendly pathways to wilder trails left almost in their natural state, there is get-outside option for everyone in this town.
Helpful links:

Official City of Guelph Trails

The Arboreteum, University of Guelph

Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA)

Sometimes Eventful Outdoors Blog

IM in a car with Rob Murray from Intrigue Media

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to go for a drive with Rob Murray and talk about the void left in Guelph by the closing of the Guelph Mercury. Almost 27 years of my life was spent selling advertising and helping to produce the Guelph Mercury, which was one of Canada’s oldest daily newspapers.

In this video, I shared some honest observations about missteps in the newspaper business as a whole. These are lessons for any business faced with a disruption such as The Internet.

Village by the Arboretum – Guelph



The Village by the Arboretum is a quiet neighbourhood nestled off Stone Road in Guelph’s South end. Neat and tidy homes rest along tree-lined streets in this tranquil part of our city. What really stands out in this pretty neighbourhood though, is the presence of community. More than a quaint name for a neighbourhood, “The Village” lives up to that title for the people who live there.

This is a very caring community, where we all look after each other and help each other out, even with simple things like making soup or take out the garbage for a neighbour.

one resident told us recently.

Developed specifically for the needs of Guelph’s 55+ citizens, The Village welcomed its first homeowners 25 years ago. It is a carefully planned community offering single family homes, townhomes and condominiums with amenities to meet the needs of its residents. A medical centre, spa and general store also call The Village home. Most notable is a community centre that is a hub for an impressive number of clubs and activities.

While buildings, trees and streets make-up the bones of a community, we all know that the heart of that community is made by those who live there. We chatted with a few of the people we’ve helped purchase homes in The Village to find out how they feel about their neighbourhood and why they chose to live in this special part of Guelph.

We chose the village for two main reasons: To be closer to our grandchildren and for the multitude of activities that the Arboretum offers, of which we have taken advantage of. We have been welcomed with open arms in the condos and at the recreational activities.

a happy, active couple shared with us.

The Village offers an array of activities for residents to join, covering the arts, fitness, sport and games as well as quieter leisure activities like a book club and bible study group. Social get-togethers are planned regularly, but quiet enjoyment is also always welcome in the library or café.

“We are so happy and contented here. In the few months since we moved in, we’ve already made some great friends and enjoyed social times at the Village Center. We go swimming at the indoor pool and enjoy walking on the many pathways and routes available,” commented one couple who recently moved to The Village. “Rarely do you go out through the “Village” without bumping into at least one or two people with a cheery “good morning” or “lovely day”.

Everyone we know who lives there, agree that The Village by the Arboretum is a special gem for seniors in our lively city. We love to show it off to people who are considering a move to a community suited to retirement living. Give us a call to find out more about owning a home in The Village within the city.