A busy year in the city of Guelph generated many impactful stories which touched both the city and its residents.
A good number of stories could have easily cracked the top five, but there are some which proved to be more memorable than others.
There was a historical provincial election, a summer of public masturbators, an arrest in a four-year-old homicide investigation, the Guelph man who never returned from a hike and the new Petrie Building.
Here’s a list of the top five stories to come out of Guelph over the last year.
Mike Schreiner becomes first Green Party candidate to be elected in Ontario
Mike Schreiner made history on June 7, becoming the first Green Party candidate to win a seat in an Ontario election.
That seat was Guelph’s, a city that seemed destined to have a Green Party MPP, with clean-tech startups and a focus on renewable energy and protecting its water.
“Tonight, the green wave came to Ontario,” Schreiner said in his victory speech. “Thank you, Guelph. Thank you for making history.”
BELOW: Mike Schreiner sworn in as Ontario’s first Green Party MPP
Schreiner defeated his opponents in a landslide, capturing 45 per cent of the vote.
Indecent acts in public places spike in Guelph during the summer
It was a disturbing trend in Guelph that has yet to be explained and probably never will be as police saw quite an uptick in public masturbation calls.
There were roughly 20 indecent act calls between June and August at various spots in the city.
Most occurred in the city’s parks and on the trails, and one man was reported to have been masturbating while riding a bicycle.
A few arrests were made and the calls dwindled as autumn came around.
Guelph man missing in California’s Joshua Tree National Park
Paul Miller went for a walk in California’s Joshua Tree National Park on July 13 and was never seen again.
The 51-year-old Guelph man was on the last day of his vacation and decided to hike the 49 Palms Oasis, a popular trail among hikers.
Miller’s wife reported him missing when he never returned, launching a massive search effort, involving up to 100 people, ATVs, a K-9 team and a helicopter.
Miller’s car was found at the trailhead, but there was no sign of him and the search was scaled back after six days.
BELOW: Family anxious about Guelph, Ont. man missing in California
“Living without knowing where he is — it’s hard to move on,” Miller’s wife said in an interview with Global News in August.
Man charged with second-degree murder in his mother’s death
Guelph police arrested a 44-year-old Kitchener man in November in connection with the death of his mother in 2014.
Patsy Lewis was found dead in her home on Gordon Street near Clair Raid on Sept. 30, 2014.
Police arrested Larry Kemp on Nov. 30, 2018, and charged him with second-degree murder.
The investigation started to wind down in early November after police announced they had received new information. What news they received was never revealed, but a few weeks later, Kemp was behind bars.
He will make another court appearance in January.
Petrie Building stands tall again in downtown Guelph
It’s a landmark in Guelph’s downtown core and it’s shining a little brighter after the results of extensive restoration on the Petrie Building were revealed in January.
The building has stood near the corner of Wyndham and Macdonell streets for about 135 years.
A year-and-a-half of research and work went into the Petrie Building after it was bought by the Tycathlen Partners 2015.
The very top floor was an abandoned attic, the third floor had not been used since about 1906, and the second floor had been abandoned since the mid-1920s.
It can now house seven tenants, some of which have already moved in, including an advertising agency and a bridal store.