Why I Live Here: GUELPH
At 54, Walter Urban is one of the strongest men you’ll ever meet. Since setting a new Guinness world record in weightlifting drug-free on Live With Regis and Kelly last year, he’s back in training to break two more records. This mighty Zoomer – a former member of the Canadian Masters Powerlifting Team – tells us why he loves living in Guelph, Ont., with his wife and three daughters and training there.
BY: LISA BENDALL
How did you come to settle in Guelph?
After I started a consulting business, my first client was a company in Guelph. I came up here in 1997 and just loved … the culture and the wholesome family values. It’s safer than the average community, and the people are friendly and outgoing. I moved up here from New Jersey, and there’s a huge difference between that fast-paced who’s-outdoing-who to this quality of life, awesome neighbourhood and beautiful house.
How has being in Guelph suited your career?
Guelph is actually a hotbed for natural and drug-free powerlifting. The Iron Foundation, one of the most successful amateur drug-free powerlifting clubs in Canada, is based at GoodLife Fitness in Guelph. I learn a lot from the members.
What can Zoomers do for fun in Guelph?
The River Run performing arts centre gets acts from outside of Guelph, all different types of musicals, theatre, ballet, and seats about 1,000 people. There’s the Guelph Little Theatre for the local arts. And there are about 10 really nice golf courses within the greater Guelph region. One of them, the Cutten Club, is an awesome place.
You can go to the University of Guelph to see a swim meet or watch rugby or football. I usually take the girls to one or two Gryphon varsity football games in the summer. It’s five bucks, and we get popcorn. The Storm [junior hockey] gives you incredibly good hockey at an affordable price – 15 bucks. You can’t park in Toronto for much less than that! —Lisa Bendall
Broker Paul Fitzpatrick of At Home to Guelph Realty Inc. grew up in this town and attended university here. He has sold Guelph real estate for 24 years.
“To me, it’s got the best of all worlds. Being a university town, there’s a lot of vitality here. The service clubs are active. We’re well diversified economically. We’ve got fabulous hiking and biking trails. The size is not so big that you become invisible in the community. And we still have reasonably priced real estate, compared to major urban centres.”
AT A GLANCE
Average home price
Guelph General Hospital provides acute care. St. Joseph’s Health Centre offers long-term and rehab care. Homewood Health Centre provides psychiatric services.
Hamilton: 30 km; Kitchener: 30 km; Toronto: 75 km
Need to know
Guelph’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Canada. It has its own city transit plus connections to inter-city buses and trains. For recreation, pick from parks, sports, theatres, museums and galleries as well as the Guelph Lake Conservation Area.
Year-round farmers market
Hillside music festival in July
Santa Claus Parade