Nestled in the confluence of the Speed and Grand rivers, Cambridge is situated in Waterloo, the Regional Municipality in Ontario, Canada.
The city of Cambridge Ontario came into being in the year 1973 as a result of the amalgamation of Preston, Galt, Hespeler, Blair, and a part of the neighboring township. The population continued to grow and is now at a whopping 141,000+ residents.
The largest portion of the city is commanded by the former Galt which constitutes the southern half of Cambridge. The Northern part is made up by Hespeler, while the Western is covered by Preston and Blair.
A hub of architectural heritage, Cambridge has flourished to become a modern art center. The breathtaking views from atop the limestone cliffs entail the historic richness of its hamlets.
If you are planning a visit to the magnificent city with your family, we have you covered with these suggestions:
20 Fun Things to do While in Cambridge Ontario :
• The City of Galt
Galt makes up the largest part of the amalgamated Municipality of Cambridge. It constitutes the southern part of the beautiful city. In the early 19th century, downtown Galt was famously known as the ‘Manchester of Canada’ owing to the humongous count of industries.
The Railway system reached former Galt in the year 1879, which in turn hyped up the export and import opportunities by a notch.
The historic richness of Galt is concealed deep within the creases of this city.
To taste a perfectly delicious slice of life with a range of fun activities to do in Galt, you need not go far, for we have listed our favorite things to do while visiting Cambridge, Ontario to help you live your vacation dream!
1. Bask in the Beauty of the Grand River
Previously known as The Ouse, The Grand River is the largest to flow through southwestern Ontario in Canada. The river’s accessibility and the scenic calm make it a canoeing favorite among tourists.
The Grand River Conservation Authority in the waterloo region is in charge of the numerous conservation areas that have come up along the river. Of the spectacular characteristics of the River, the most enchanting is the downtown George fall at Elora.
West Galt is connected to the rest of Galt by the four main bridges of Cambridge along with a pedestrian or footbridge built in the year 2018. You can enjoy the picturesque scenery of nature from atop or explore the illustrious ruins of an 1840s mill in the Mill Race Park.
The riverfront of the downtown core along with many other locations of west Galt has been featured in the popular series, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.
2. Quality time at the Sheave Tower
Snuggled in the bosom of the lush green forest, the Sheave tower is a treasure unveiled, loved by both tourists and locals alike.
The tower is placed in Blair, a small town on the outskirts of Cambridge. Known for its camouflaged foot trails and the ever enchanting Carolinian thicket, Blair is home to many historic monuments and properties.
The calming lull of nature blanketing the hidden tower, mingled with the song of the chirping canaries makes up for an amazing picnic spot to enjoy with your family and loved ones.
Address: Sheave Tower, Old Mill Road, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
3. Stop for a Quick Munch at L.A Franks
A downtown Galt specialty, L. A Franks is renowned for its mouthwatering burgers, fries, hot dogs, and delicious ice cream.
This seasonal restaurant offers a warm welcome to its guests with friendly staff and excellent service.
With a number of outdoor seating areas and neatly organized premises, L. A Frank’s is a must-visit. Stop by for breakfast or lunch and enjoy the taste of your typical old-school savory bites with your family.
Address: 104 Water Street, Cambridge, Ontario, N1R 3B6, Canada
4. The Luxurious Langdon Hall
An old estate built in the year 1989, Langdon Hall is a famous boutique hotel that offers deluxe hospitality to its guests. A highly coveted wedding venue, Langdon, a 5 diamond award winner, lets its guests relax and relish its delightful meals coupled with appetizing wine tasting, high-end spa services, and spectacular views of its front yard.
Address: 1 Langdon Dr, Cambridge, Ontario, N3H 4R8, Canada
If you want to know more about some of the best hotels and restaurants in Canada, click here
5. Heritage of West Galt
Of the many intertwined walking trails, Brant street, Lansdowne Rd and Aberdeen Rd are the finest of West Galt as they flaunt the most praise-worthy and historical assets of Cambridge Ontario.
Right at the heart of downtown Cambridge stands the McDougall Cottage established in the late 1850s. An emblem of the finest architecture of Scotland, this granite cottage boasts proudly of its roots through its opulent hand-painted frenzies and Grand trompe l’oeil ceilings.
A walk through the McDougall is enough to relive its rich history.
Address: 89 Grand Avenue , Cambridge, Ontario N1S 2L7, Canada
6. Visit the Famous Four Churches
Located at the heart of downtown Ontario, The Central Presbyterian Church is astounding and magnificent.
Situated right by the river, the church holds a great semblance to the Notre Dame Cathedral.
At a few step’s distances stands Grace Bible Church. The gothic architecture of the church emanates a medieval aura that is at once breathtaking and graceful.
Address: 2 Grand Avenue, Cambridge, Ontario N1S 2L2, Canada
7. Stroll around the Cambridge Farmers Market
If you like fresh, farm-produced food, you need to keep Cambridge’s Farmers’ market on your to-do list. Inspired from its European counterparts, the small shops are made available from 7 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon.
The market has maintained its repute since 1837. It is open on Saturdays all around the year along with Wednesdays from June to September.
Freshly baked dishes, mouthwatering cheese, crisp fruits, raw vegetables, and meat, you name it and it is there.
The outdoor vendors are open only during summers. The indoor facilities however run throughout the year.
Address : 40 Dickson Street, Cambridge, Ontario N1R 1T7
8. Galt Collegiate Institute
The Waterloo Region in Canada has 16 higher secondary schools. Galt Collegiate Institute and vocational school (GCI) is one of them. The institute has attained the accolade of a historical landmark by the Ontario archeological and historic Sites board and Cambridge Heritage.
Established in the year 1852, the institute celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002 and is the oldest senior school in the region.
Initially known as the Galt Grammar School, the Galt Collegiate gained widespread acclaim and became a hub of international pursuits.
Well known as the Hogwarts of Canada or the Castle on the river, Galt Collegiate Institute has two humongous pillars overlooking the beautiful terrain and is situated by the Water Street with its back to the Grand River and splendid old train bridge
Galt Collegiate Institute has a vivid historical background that finds expressions in its astonishing green copper roofs and its medieval furnishings.
Plan a visit with your loved ones to the GCI and get mesmerized by its beautiful architecture.
Address: 200 Water Street, Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6V2, Canada
9. A Visit to the Theatres in Cambridge, Ontario
The largest among a number of theatres, Dunfield has a capacity of 500 seats and a wide range of entertainment options, starting from Broadways to comedies.
Other theatres include the Cambridge Community Players theatre and Cookies and Kids Family theatre.
Many visitors equate Cambridge with its Namesake in England for the sheer number of Theatres in the city.
10. Pay a Visit to the Historic Sites
Cambridge flaunts two famous national historic Sites, one in Galt and the other, in Hespeler.
The Galt Post office is richly decorated with Gothic elements, Romanesque style, and Royale Architecture. The limestone high rises date back to the mid 19th century.
The Forbes Textile mill, built by Robert Forbes in the year 1863, was the largest woolen factory in the early 20th century.
Pay a visit to the Historic Sites Cambridge has to offer and know more about the historic abundance of Canada.
Address: 33 Water Street , Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
11. Dee’s Bakery delights
An exquisite bakery, snuggled between the creases of West Galt, in the downtown core, the Dee’s are renowned for their delicious butter tarts.
Of their other specialties, chocolate, raisin, Caramel, Skor, vanilla are particularly famous.
To support their small town business, do pay a visit to Dee’s Bakery!
Address: 118 St Andrews Street, Cambridge, Ontario N1S 1M8, Canada
• The City of Hespeler, Ontario
Hespeler town is located along the Speed River, north of Cambridge Ontario, in the region of Waterloo, Canada.
From the early years, Hespeler has been credited with the production of fine wool. A number of textile mills and other industries can also be found.
The land of Hespeler was bought by Mennonites from the Six Nations Indians in the year 1798.
Records from 1846 show the minimal number of inhabitants of about 100, grist mills, sawmills, and a tavern. By 1969, as a result of extensive industrialization and economic boom, the population of Hespeler grew to be 6000
Hespeler has a lot of attractions to offer. We have jotted down some of the most popular things to do in Hespeler, Ontario.
12. Hespeler Library
The downtown core of the town of Hespeler is the beautiful Queen street.
Two of the oldest edifices in Hespeler, The Old Town, and Fire Hall, functioned as a Mass Hall for the townsmen when Hespeler acted as an independent municipality.
In the early 20th century, the library was a Carnegie library. Later, in the 2000s, expansion was added in the form of a glass enclosure around the main building.
You can take a small break from exploring the library and enjoy a delectable cup of your favorite coffee at the local Creme Cafe.
You can also saunter down Jacob’s landing, right by the river.
Address: 5 Tannery Street East, Cambridge, Ontario N3C 2C1, Canada
13. Enliven your fashion instincts
Set up in the famous Post office Building, beside Queen and Cooper street, The Fashion History Museum opened its gates in 2015.
Boasting a wide collection of 10,000 items, celebrating more than 300 years of fashion history, the institute also works as a research center.
Upon visiting, you might even get a glimpse at the 200 years of a wedding garment collection.
Address: 74 Queen Street East, Cambridge, Ontario N3C 2B1, Canada
14. The Majestic Speed River
If canoeing is your forte, you can sail down the bosom of the speed river, flowing through Hespeler.
There are a number of picturesque biking trails and picnic spots by the riverside, to spend the day enjoying with your loved ones.
You can rent bikes and canoes at the local sporting goods stores and live the day to its fullest.
15. Mill Run Trail
Another downtown attraction, the Mill Run trail connects Hespeler with Preston and can be scaled up by walking, running, or biking along the ridges.
The Mill hike starts in Riverside Park and flows along the Speed River. The trail is stroller-friendly and a great place to explore with your family. Immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of the trees, hummingbirds, bridges, and dams.
Address: 200 Sheffield Street, Cambridge, Ontario N3C 1C5, Canada
• The City of Preston
Located at the western premises of Cambridge, Preston makes up the heart of the confluence of the Grand River and the Speed River and is the smallest among its neighbors.
The land was purchased from the Six Nations Indians by the German company tract.
From the very beginning, Preston had homes, stores, inns, and everything needed for sustainable prosperity. By 1855 the population of the city boomed astronomically.
Preston Springs Hotel, formerly known as the Del Monte hotel started operating in 1888. The building was demolished in the year 2020 for public safety reasons.
Apart from the aforementioned, Preston has plenty more to offer. Below are some of the attractions you might want to explore.
16. Lounge by the Riverside park
The absolute best of the city, the park’s gigantic size offers myriads of fun activities within its premises.
Riverside Park is dotted with baseball courts, public tennis courts offering the best facilities, a great variety of soccer pitches, two splash pads, and a playground.
A number of concealed trails are scattered throughout its dense wilderness. The Cambridge Rib fest is hosted by Riverside park every summer. Do make sure you mark the fest as a must on your list!
You can look for the best picnic spots in this astounding park’s numerous huge pavilions.
Address: 49 King Street West, Cambridge, Ontario N3H 1B5, Canada
17. Play with Butterflies
The Cambridge butterfly conservatory is home to millions of butterflies from all across the world. There are birds, varieties of insects, and plants to be mesmerized by.
Over 40 varieties of Butterflies flutter around the conservatory. A number of exotic birds can also be found there, such as the German Roller Canary, the Gouldian Finch, and Pintail Whydah.
Roam around the place for a magical Disney-like experience.
Address: 2500 Kossuth Road, Cambridge, Ontario N3H 4R7, Canada
18. Explore Exquisite Art
There are 3 different art galleries in Cambridge: the Queen’s Square Gallery, Preston Gallery, and Design at the Riverside gallery.
Contemporary art is the main area of focus for both Queens Square Gallery and Preston gallery. The Design at the riverside gallery emphasizes more on architectural designs, intricate tapestries, and beautiful wall hangings.
Get awestruck by the inspirational creations of some of the most talented artists.
Address : 7 Melville Street Sout, Cambridge, Ontario N1S 2H4, Canada
19. Celebrate the Outdoors
Explore nature at the Shade’s Mills Conservation area. Favorite activities that the place allows, among locals and tourists are sport fishing, swimming, and canoeing.
There is a 12 km-foot trail that permits both cycling and hiking.
Fun activities can be done throughout the year. Snowshoeing and skiing are great options if you plan on visiting during wintertime.
Address: 450 Avenue Road, Cambridge, Ontario N1R 5S4, Canada
20. Cambridge Centre for The Arts
It is popular for offering skillfully crafted art programs through special occasions, exhibitions, art galleries, and a lot more.
A Municipality-operated center, the Cambridge Centre for the Arts amps up locals, clubs, and organizations to promote and support the Arts of Cambridge.
Specialized arts programs are also available aided and taught by expert artists and educators.
Drop by the centre to explore the rich heritage of Cambridge.
Address : Address: 60 Dickson Street, Cambridge, Ontario N1R 8N1, Canada
Other Things you can Try in Cambridge, Ontario
The science behind leading a peaceful life and being at a better place both mentally and physically directs towards traveling. Not only does going on tours help us release our pent-up anxiety and stress but, as we explore distant places and different people it helps us widen our perspectives and helps us create a better understanding of the world around us.
Also read: 12 fun things to do in Woodstock Ontario
Here are some more absolutely awe-inspiring things you can do in Cambridge
1. Stop for a quickie at the Rising Dough Bakery
Scotland at the tip of your tongue.
Taste one of the finest Scottish dinings at the Rising Dough. The bakery has a variety of Scottish cuisine to quell your appetite. Baked goodies, soft bread, Scottish chocolates, biscuits, and drinks, coupled with warm hospitality are definitely going to be enough to make you crave for more.
2. Grab a bite at Fiddle and Firkin
For an authentic British experience, grab a bite at Fiddle and Firkin, a lavish first-grade pub in Cambridge, Ontario.
Sway to the beats of amazing music and spend a great time with your family at the Fiddle and Firkin.
3. Visit the Valens Lake conservation area
A mere 25 minutes away from Cambridge, the Valens Lake Conservative area provides a range of activities for travelers. There are multiple bike and foot trails to explore. During winters, you are allowed to ice fish in the lake itself and also set up a winter camp. Summers too, offer numerous entertainments ranging from canoeing, kayaking, and fishing!
4. Drop by the Kissing Bridge
About 20 km away from Cambridge is West Montrose, home to one of the oldest sheathed bridges in the Waterloo region. A perfect Instagramable spot, the spooky bridge will take your mind hurrying back to the sets of ‘IT’
5. Hike up the Ayr Trail
A small hamlet enclosed by forests and numerous hikers, Ayr provides a peaceful escapade for travelers from all around the globe. Some of the trails in Ayr include the Bannister lake trail, Drynan Regional forest, F.W.R Dickinson Wilderness Area, and plenty more. The small town also has a range of local shops to take special care of your needs.
6. Relish the dishes at the Four Fathers Brewing Co.
One of the best breweries in Cambridge, The pub/restaurant was started by 4 Cambridge men who also happened to be fathers (hence the name) in 2009. Their passion for food sports and fine wine has been sewn into the very base of this beauteous restaurant.
The brewery offers indoor sports facilities such as ping pong tables, decked astonishingly with cedar-laden tabletops and walls.
Family-friendly coupled with a very warm reception, Four Fathers are one of the best spots for spending cozy family time.
7. Visit the Churchill Park
Located in the southern district of Cambridge, Ontario, Churchill Park hosts a variety of events all around the year. Consisting of a children’s playfield area, splash pads, soccer grounds, 2 picnic areas that are reservable and natural trails.
The famous Duncan Arena is burrowed within the heart of the park. A fence enclosure allows you to treat your eyes with deers and peacocks strolling around peacefully.
8. Cambridge sculpture garden
The show-stealer of this mesmerizing garden is the 130-year-old Oak tree, one of the 10 heritage trees rooted in Cambridge. The sculpture garden is located in Cambridge, on Grand Avenue. A free attraction site, this garden personifies the peace and calm of nature.
A perfect destination for picnicking with your family, or taking a stroll down the road. The garden allows its guests to organize various events and make great memories!
To rejuvenate your mind and soul, Cambridge Sculpture Garden is a must-visit.
Do let us know in the comments section if we have missed a spot. Share with us your favorite destinations to explore in Canada.