Bone fragments found under Guelph parking lot during excavation prep being exhumed

guelph baker

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Archaeological consultants be exhuming bone fragments from a grave found during work to prepare for archaeological clearance of the Baker and Wyndham Street parking lots in Guelph.

A full excavation of the Baker and Wyndham Street lots is required by the Province for archaeological clearance before construction of the Baker District redevelopment can begin in spring 2022.

Hydrogeological and geotechnical investigative work, a groundwater pumping test and archeological excavation work in the Baker and Wyndham Street parking lots began in early October. 

The city is now following an established process for managing discoveries of human remains and will share public updates on progress and discoveries of remains every two weeks until the work is complete.

Once the archaeological clearance work is done, all remains found during the excavation now underway will be documented and reinterred at Woodlawn Memorial Park.

The current Baker Street municipal parking lot was the site of an all-faith cemetery from 1827 to 1853 and the public burying ground was established by the Canada Company in 1827, the year Guelph was founded. 

The site was used as a cemetery for 26 years until 1853 when Guelph passed a bylaw banning human burials within town limits. The property continued to be owned by the Canada Company for another 24 years until it was purchased by the city for use as a public park in 1879. 

Plans were made to move the remains to Woodlawn Memorial Park and while some family members moved some graves, others, especially unmarked graves, remained.

Windmill Developments is transforming the existing Baker Street municipal parking lot and adjacent properties into a publicly accessible integrated civic hub—known as the Baker District—anchored by a new central Guelph Public Library and including outdoor urban squares, residential units, commercial space and public parking.

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