LA GUAYRA SETTLERS
Plaque in front of the Royal City Park, on the west side of Gordon Street, just north of the Eramosa River bridge, Guelph.
The plaque reads: “In 1827 some 135 destitute Scottish settlers
arrived at Guelph. They formed part of a group sent in 1825 to La
Guayra, Venezuela, by a British land company. Unsuited to the tropical
climate and unable to work their poor land, they abandoned the colony
and requested assistance from the British Government. Transported to
New York, they were directed to the Canada Company’s settlement
in Upper Canada. Forgoing the required charges, the superintendent John
Galt placed them on Company land. This philanthropic action was
criticized by his superiors and was one of the reasons leading to his
recall to England in 1829”.
John Galt (1779-1839) was an author, a literary figure, and had been a
travelling companion of the poet Lord Byron. He was also the founder of
Guelph and first superintendent of the notorious Canada Land Company, a
band of British speculators who made fortunes in land purchases. Galt,
however, proved too conscientious in his concern for the settlers'
needs and the company made little profit during his tenure of office.