A Ticat fan's guide to Guelph

From Timmies to urinals, from lawn parking to city landmarks, here is a travel guide for Ticat Nation. If Guelph is foreign land to you, here are answers to all the important questions for the inaugural journey to 2013's home away from home.
This, U of G's Alumni Stadium, is home to the Ticats this season. (Jack Roy/Canadian Press)

Ticat Nation travels to Guelph Thursday for the Tiger-Cats  first game at the University of Guelph's Alumni Stadium.. How foreign will it be? How familiar? What if you meet someone from Guelph? Will you have anything in common?

If Guelph is foreign land to you, here are all the necessary details to help you understand this summer's home away from home.

If people from Hamilton are Hamiltonian's, what is a person from Guelph called?

A Guelphite. With pride apparently.

What is the city's most famous moment in football history?

The University of Guelph Gryphons were victorious in their only appearance in the Vanier Cup final. On November 24, 1984, coach John Musselman led the team to a 22-13 win over the Mount Allison Mounties.

What is a Gryphon?

It's the University of Guelph's mascot, don't you know? A gryphon is a mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. According to ancient lore, gryphons ward off evil and protected people against witchcraft.

Over the years, the beast has become a symbol for honour and nobility, showing up on the coats of arms of European royals and even that of the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Conveniently, the Tiger-Cats and the Gryphons share team colours. U of Guelph students covet their black, gold and maroon apparel.

Can you park on people's lawns?

Sorry Hamiltonians, that's a no-no. You'll have to use a parking lot. Tara Sprigg, corporate communications manger for the City of Guelph, said, "City of Guelph's zoning by-law prohibits parking on residential lawns."   The Ticats will have over 2,500 parking spots available on campus within a 10 minute walk of Alumni Stadium.

Is there a mountain?

Not exactly, but it is pretty hilly. The Gordon Street Hill is one of the better-known slopes. It runs from the university towards the downtown core. And it has a bike lane.

If there is no lake and no mountain, how will we know which way is North or South?

Don't fret, Hamiltonians. Just like in Hamilton, downtown Guelph is located in the north end of the city,. The University is towards the south. Driving in on Highway 6, you'll enter Guelph in the south-end.

Is there an 'Oskee-wee-wee'- equivalent cheer?

Yes, indeed.

"G-R-Y-P-H-O-N and the a S, oh yes, 'cause we are the best!" Repeat.

Will the opposing bench be close enough for Ticats' fans to yell at the visitors?

The opposing bench is certainly within yelling distance of the visitor's bench on the east side.

What will the bathroom set up be like at the Guelph stadium?

Good news here. The bathroom situation will be a lower stall to fan ratio than Ticat nation is used to at Ivor Wynne Stadium, with 150 stalls on site. 

What is Guelph known for?

Farming. Guelph has a strong agricultural history. Before becoming a university in 1964, U of G was known as the Ontario Agricultural College. The OAC still exists, and remains a destination for those interested in studying livestock, crop science or horticulture. Agricultural students are called 'Aggies.' You may catch a few fans proudly wearing their dark green 'Aggie' jackets, even if it's a sweltering summer day.

The university is sometimes affectionately called 'Moo-U,' reflecting its history. Sitting in the stands at Alumni Stadium, there's a good chance you'll catch a whiff of manure. Seriously.

Is anybody famous from Guelph?

A host of Hamiltonians have gone on to win national or international fame - Martin Short, Eugene Levy and Karen Kain, to name a few. Guelph has at least one bright star to call its own. That would be actress Neve Campbell, known for her roles the Scream films and the '90s TV drama Party of Five. She was born in Guelph and attended John F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute during her high school years.

Does it have any well know athletes?

Plenty of NHLers got their start in Guelph including four-time Stanley Cup champ Doug Risebrough, Kirk Maltby, Rich Peverly and Logan Couture.

Are any good bands from Guelph?

People in the know like the Constantines an indie rock band, and Arise and Ruin a metal band. But otherwise, not really.

Are there Tim Horton's there?

Yes. Google searches show 18 locations in Guelph, compared to Hamilton's 63. but don't get too cocky about our place in the Timmies universe. Fact  is Guelph has more Timmies per capita that Hamilton. One for every 7,000 residents, compared to one for every 8,200 in the Hammer.  Your best bet for a Timmy's fix before getting to Alumni Stadium is stopping in Aberfoyle on your way along Highway 6. That's the last Tim Horton's store you'll see before hitting the stadium.

Does Guelph have one-way streets?

A quick scan of Guelph on Google Maps reveals the city has a few one-way streets, but not near as many downtown Hamilton. How will Steeltowners ever cope?

What are Guelph's landmarks?

Perhaps Guelph's most famous landmark is its Church of Our Lady Immaculate. Dedicated in 1888, the church is considered shining example of High Victorian Gothic Revival architecture (A big deal for football fans, we know). Famously, Guelph city council passed a bylaw that rendered it illegal for developers to construct buildings whose height would surpass that of the city's most famous house of worship.

On the university campus, check out The Cannon. Located in the middle of Branion Plaza near the Student Centre, it represents one of the best pranks of all time. Old Jeremiah was given to the University after WW1. It was fired once (a prank) in the wee hours of the morning in 1916. Various student groups, mainly the engineers, moved the Cannon to various spots on the campus before it was cemented in the centre of campus. It's now a rite-of-passage for students to 'Paint the Cannon.' The layers are never stripped, so it's dripping in spray paint.

Does Guelph have a nickname?

Guelph is known as the "Royal City," a moniker that reflects the origin of its name. It honours King George IV, whose family name was "Gwelph." (It's interesting to note the king, who died in 1830, was a notorious womanizer and was renowned for his flamboyant, expensive taste in clothes.)

Do they have LRT?

Just a bus system in Guelph. And it has a name that won't cause any confusion: Guelph Transit. On the weekend and at off-peak times, buses run every 30 minutes. If you're going to rely on the public transit system to get around, be aware the last buses run on Saturdays at 12:15 a.m. and on Sundays at 6:45 p.m.

Who's the mayor of Guelph?

Her name is a Karen Farbridge and she's a longtime municipal politician and has been mayor since 2006. Previously, she held the office for one term, between 2000 and 2003.

Farbridge, unlike somebody we know, didn't make her name as a sports announcer. Rather, she is a former university professor who burnished her credentials as an environmentalist during her decade-long stint as the director of the University of Guelph's chapter of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG).

What is their biggest political controversy?

Guelph is still nursing a hangover from the 2011 federal election. Elections Canada has investigated the alleged use of automated phone messages - or robocalls - to deceive Guelph voters into going to non-existent polling stations, a practice that was reported in a handful of ridings across the country.

But the city's hangover was worse than others' for the most Canadian of reasons: poutine. Pierre Poutine, in fact. That was pseudonym given by the person, allegedly a Conservative Party staffer, who registered a disposable cell phone that was used to make the fraudulent calls.

Do they want an NHL team?

Guelph is really proud of its OHL team, the Guelph Storm, so no need to be worried about competition for attracting an NHL team.

What will the stadium seating be like?

Alumni Stadium's permanent stands seat 4,000 people. The Tiger-Cats have erected temporary stands that will accommodate around 10,000 additional football fans. It'll all be bench section, folks, so prepare accordingly.

How much will beer and a hot dog cost?

A beer ($9 for a tall boy) and a hot dog ($4) will cost $13.

What about the locker rooms?

The locker rooms are temporary facilities (approximately 3600 square feet) with large locker rooms and ample room area for the training and coaching staff.