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Satisfying Our Sculpture Park Curiosity

Have you ever driven past a place or a thing a million times, and thought to yourself  "I should really check that out one day"?  One of those "must stop one day" places for me is Guelph's MacDonald Stewart Art Centre Sculpture Park.

Checking out Guelph's most famous resident - the Begging Bear. 
So, to stay on top of our city culture theme a couple of weekends ago, Emma and I made a spontaneous stop on the way home from the  museum and finally spent some time in a place that we've zipped past so many times.

What did I learn from this little venture into the world of fine art?  Viewing sculptures with a kid is highly recommended.... especially whey they are outside. There's room to run and explore in a comfortable environment where kids can be kids while still taking in the pieces on display.  It was a great introduction to the gallery!

One thing to note is that there isn't any signage outside explaining the pieces on display, or who created them. So you may want to stop inside the Centre before you explore the park and ask if there is an interpretive guide available.  To be honest, I'm not sure if such a thing exists. But the staff are friendly and knowledgeable so don't hesitate to ask them questions.

Another thing to note is that Guelph's most famous resident - the Begging Bear statue in front of the Centre - will probably be sporting some interesting attire.  Whatever he's wearing isn't part of the original sculpture. But dressing the bear is a celebrated Guelph tradition for students and residents, so take some time to check out his duds.  (We were lucky to be there when a group of girls were changing his outfit, while trying to act like nothing was going on. Too funny!)

We made our stop right before the gallery closed, so we didn't make it inside. So we've added seeing the inside of the gallery to our "places to go really soon" list.

"I think we can go in there. We just have to find the secret door..."

Isn't a dandelion just one of nature's many sculptures?
Em: "I like it. But I don't get it."
Me: "Me too. Neither do I."
A little celebrity-sighting souvenir.

You should go! Here's what you need to know:

The MacDonald Stewart Art Centre is located at 358 Gordon Street on the University of Guelph campus. Parking is free.
The Sculpture Park is free and open all hours.

If you'd like to see the inside of the MacDonald Steward Art Gallery: 
Hours: Tue - Sun:12:00 pm-5:00 pm 
There is no admission fee to the gallery, but donations are welcome.

Check out their website here:


  1. so true. A little (not so hidden) gem in our community. I went when my girls were young and then again for the return of the bear. It was wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post, Rhonda - it makes me happy to know that it brings back good memories for you!


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