Our Story



original buildingThe curious came, the snow was deep on that Sunday morning, March 9, 1884 when the small group met together in St. George’s Square to begin the work of The Salvation Army in Guelph.  The group, under the leadership of Captain Emma Churchill, sang, spoke of how God could change lives and knelt in the snow to ask His blessing on their efforts.

It was not an easy start for this fledgling Corps (church) as city authorities created difficulties forcing them to walk in the mud of the street rather than on the sidewalk.  That changed when the Mayor of that day, Mr. Stevenson offered to walk with them in the mud.

The group was diligent in telling the message of the change in life that God can bring.  Within weeks many converts were made, among them some of the worst characters in the city.  These joined and heartily espoused the cause they once disdained, becoming enthusiastic workers and leaders in the Corps.

emma dawson churchhillOver the successive years the Corps has had locations at the corner of Dublin & Paisley (late1884), Waterloo Ave. (1966) and now Gordon St. (2005).  Substantial work in the community as well as providing a place of worship for all ages has evolved.  The first of the now familiar Christmas kettle appearance was approved by the city for 3 days in December 1926 and is now anticipated as a sign that Christmas is imminent.

During the 60th anniversary (1944) a plaque was unveiled by Mrs. Emma Dawson (Churchill) in St. Georges Square and a marker was also unveiled at the same location to in 1984 to mark the beginning of the next 100 years of service.  The Corps will remain faithful – serving the people within our community.

The website will give much insight into the breadth of service and activity which has continued for more than 130 years in the community.

The Salvation Army in Guelph will continue to work to meet spiritual and human needs, and be a positive influence in our city.