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The Cannon painted with WELCOME

Painting the Cannon

Painting the Cannon, named “Old Jeremiah,” is one of U of G’s longest-standing Gryphon Traditions. The Cannon, located in Branion Plaza, can frequently be seen decorated with different messages from student groups promoting events and organizations, acknowledging significant dates and holidays, celebrating achievements, expressing school spirit, or just for fun! Like all Gryphon Traditions, painting the Cannon is meant to enhance our campus community through a shared experience. To support our community members in having the best Cannon experience, please observe the following guidelines: 


Any member of the U of G campus community can paint the Cannon. This includes students, staff, faculty, and visitors. 


The Cannon is located in Branion Plaza, in front of Raithby House and across from the University Centre (UC). View on the map.


After sunset in the cover of shadows! Of course, there are some exceptions. You may see students painting the Cannon during the day as part of an Orientation Week event or find staff or faculty members painting it for a colleague who is retiring. No one can reserve the Cannon, it is first-come-first-served, however, when choosing a night to paint the Cannon, we recommend considering whether there are other major events or holidays on that date. The Religious Holidays Calendar and the Canadian statutory holidays page are good places to start.  

Painting the Cannon during Orientation Week

Usually, new students paint the Cannon with their respective communities (Residence Halls and Off-Campus University Students (OCUS)) during Orientation Week. 


With Gryphon spirit and paint supplies! Once you’ve painted the Cannon, part of the tradition is to guard it until sunrise to make sure that nobody paints over it. If you leave the Cannon unguarded, someone else might paint over it.

Respecting the Environment 

Gryphons clean up after themselves. Don’t leave any garbage behind and save your paint for the Cannon, not the grass, trees, or other parts of the space. Over the years, creative community members have decorated the Cannon with unconventional materials including turf grass and cardboard. If you are planning to decorate the Cannon with something other than paint, please consider the impact this could have on local wildlife. Some materials, such as fake spiderwebs, should never be used as outdoor decorations as they can be deadly for local animals. 

Respecting your fellow Gryphons and Guelph community members 

To ensure that those participating in the Cannon tradition respect the shared values of the U of G community, here are a few questions to ask yourself to ensure you’re staying within the spirit of the tradition.

  • Could what I’m planning on painting be misinterpreted?
  • Is the day you are planning to paint the Cannon a religious holiday or other notable date? Will the tone of your design potentially conflict with the meaning of the day?
  • If you find the Cannon unguarded but see that it has been freshly painted to honour, remember, or celebrate a specific date, person, or event, ask yourselves if it would it be best to wait.

Please note that staff reserve the right to paint over the Cannon if messages or images are deemed to be harmful or go against community guidelines. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to