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Livin’ & Lovin’ the Downtown Music Scene

I’m often approached by clients who ask me why there is such a high demand for homes in the downtown Guelph area. Why are they worth more than a home, comparable in square footage, in the east end for example? The answer is really quite simple, broken down into 2 parts.

First of all, downtown, you are usually buying a home that is truly unique and rare. If you see a century old redbrick home, it’s not very likely that another one exactly the same will come up in the next few weeks, or even in that year. Something on the East end of Guelph for example, will be easier to find a home that more or less offers the same qualities and feel.

Secondly, you are purchasing into a lifestyle.  You are buying into a unique community and the convenience of being close to many special features in downtown. One of the most important communities to me personally is the downtown Guelph music scene. Both the big and small events associated with our local music culture are stellar.

Growing up in Guelph, I would say the most memorable times of my youth, surrounded the vibrant music and arts scene in this city. I was 16 when I picked up a bass and started playing in a heavy rock band.  Not knowing a thing about how to actually play bass didn’t matter.  I had some very talented friends that were happy to take the time to help teach me, a little here and there. The best part about that time of my life though, was the connection I felt to the music scene. In that moment I knew it was cool, but looking back I’ve realized how special it was and how completely unique it was for a smaller community to have a real, connected music scene like Guelph.

Everyone was making music around me.  What came from that was a lot of amazing bands from Guelph. Jim Guthrie Quartet, (or Quintet depending on the time), Gentlemen Reg, Noah 23, Royal City, Barmitzvah Brothers, The Stewart Gunn Band, The Magic, The Valentines, Gregory Pepper, and The Constantines just to name a few.

What I love even more than that though, is that 15 years later the same type of passion and music is coming from this city. We have AMAZING festivals such as Kazoo Fest!, Fortnight, The Royal City Brewing Company music series, and obviously Hillside Festival. I’m always so impressed with the people that make these events happen for us. I feel like I run around selling houses, raising a family and getting in the odd mountain bike ride, but these people devote their free time to making events for the rest of us to enjoy. They create the lifestyle that I am fortunate enough to live. Amazing.

On almost any given night I can head downtown and catch a local show and be totally blown away with some band I had never even heard of before. These shows are more enjoyable to me than heading to a bigger city, to see a bigger name, at a bigger venue. The smaller shows are more intimate and ultimately more connected with everyone in the room. To me, it will always be something special to enjoy live music in Downtown Guelph.

There is a real sense of family in Guelph. I am pretty sure anyone who has lived here for any decent amount of time knows this to be true. I think this is most evident and really shines when you live in downtown Guelph. Which brings me back to this beautiful and one-of-a-kind city.

Having children of my own now, it means more to me than it ever did that we have these great events and people that make them happen. To me, this is what makes Guelph, Guelph.

It’s not only the music, but the people and the small tight community in the downtown core. The small shops like; Grey Rock Clothing, Pretty Chick Boutique, IF shoe store, The Bookshelf Cinema and Bookstore. The Cornerstone, With the Grain, The Red Brick Cafe, Planet bean, The Stone Store. The RiverRun Centre, Ebar, The Albion, Baker St Station and of course The Woolwich Arms. I could go on and on and on about the wonderful places to spend your time downtown. It might not be for everyone, but the people that get it, really do get it.

There is definitely a small premium for buying a home in downtown Guelph. If you ask me, the lifestyle and intimate access to the local music scene makes it worth every penny.

1 Response
  • Kelly Caldwell
    February 29, 2016

    Couldn’t agree more. There are always trade-off’s – no matter what you buy or where you live. But downtown Guelph is a wonderful and vibrant community. The arts and music scene is such a wonderful part of it all.

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