Guelph to open pop-up space at Shelldale Centre |


Something is popping up at the Shelldale Centre.

The City of Guelph is bringing back the plazaPOPS program this summer with the help of Our Food Future’s Reimagine Food initiative.

The project will see a gathering space and garden boxes installed inside the parking lot of the centre.

“It’s benches, garden boxes with fresh herbs and pollinator plants, shade structure and umbrellas,” said Ashlee Cooper, manager of food equity and community resiliency at the City of Guelph.

“It’s really taking an underutilized public space, making it inviting, making it a place where people can gather and enjoy their time outside together.”

Work on the installation of the benches and garden boxes will begin Wednesday. Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity Guelph Wellington, the local Onward Willow community will be putting together the space.

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The SEED at Guelph Community Health Centre and Shelldale Farm Park community gardeners will be planting the herbs and maintaining the garden boxes. Access to the space is being provided by Kindle Communities.

Cooper said the space will situated next to the Shelldale Community Gardens.

“It is meant to be an addition to the Norm Jarry Park and the Shelldale Centre, ” Cooper said. “Folks who are growing food can take a rest. They can also take some of the herbs that will be growing there.”

PlazaPOPS was developed by University of Guelph professors Brendan Stewart and Karen Landman, both part of the U of G’s Landscape Architecture program. They along with Daniel Rotsztain, an artist and landscape designer, first introduced the pop-up space concept in 2019 that turn small spaces in strip mall parking lots into a “human-friendly oasis.”

“The infrastructure was sitting in storage at the University,” Cooper recalled. “It was available and we thought it would be a wonderful addition to the Guelph community.”

Rortsztain, who also serves as executive director of plazaPOPS, said: “We’re thrilled for this installation to be coming to the Onward Willow neighbourhood.”

The plazaPOPS Shelldale Centre location is scheduled to open this Friday until mid-October.


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