Built in 1904, the school’s vision was to amalgamate small rural schools into one larger school with qualified teachers, an initiative known as the “Macdonald Movement”. Funding was provided by Sir William Macdonald however, during construction, the trustees made design changes without informing him and upon seeing the building on opening day, Macdonald was so enraged that he refused to leave his carriage, boarded a train instead and never returned to Guelph.

The school closed in 1972 and reopened as The Macdonald Stewart Art Centre; a public gallery that annually presents 15 exhibitions of contemporary and historical art drawn from regional, national and international sources. A major thrust of the program is to feature the 4000 piece University of Guelph and Art Centre collections which cover 300 years of Canadian art. Visit the gallery and adjoining outdoor sculpture park.

Accessibility Information


Ramp at main entrance off Gordon Street; no automatic door


Access to basement, 1st and 2nd floor


Two spots off Gordon Street entrance


Men’s and women’s washrooms in basement off elevator