The city of Cambridge was created in January, 1973. It was formed by the amalgamation of the city of Galt, the Towns of Hespeler and Preston, and parts of the Townships of Waterloo and North Dumfries. The history of the area is a diverse and interesting one.
In 1816, a large block of land originally owned by the Six Nations Indians was purchased by William Dickson – a Scotsman who dreamed of founding a settlement to attract his fellow lowland countrymen. Scots from the “old country” immigrated to the village called Shade’s Mill. In 1827, the Canada Company Commissioner, John Galt, visited the area and, in his honour, the village was re-named Galt.
John Erb, a Pennsylvanian, built a sawmill on land bordering the Speed River in 1806. He called his settlement Cambridge Mills. During the 1830’s, the village grew rapidly and when William Scollick surveyed the community in 1834, he renamed it in honour of his English home town – Preston.
Originally a hamlet called Bergeytown, and then named New Hope by its Pennsylvanian settlers, a thriving town grew on the banks of the Speed River. One prominent citizen was Jacob Hespeler who built a dike and diverted the river to provide power to his gristmill. He also opened a sawmill, a distillery, a woolen mill and a coopershop. In 1859, the town adopted the name Hespeler.
Today, the city of Cambridge is a thriving, cosmopolitan city with a population of approximately 124,000 and an average age of 36.4 years old. Located within the Regional Municipality of Waterloo and the gateway to Canada’s Technology Triangle, Cambridge is minutes from major metropolitan cities and in close proximity to three international airports, as well as three US border crossings.
These pictures depict the beauty of downtown Galt, encorporating the Grand River and old Mill, The new Cambridge City Hall in amongst the splendor and history of this beautiful area. The new city hall building incorporates features of sustainable design and is the wave of the furture in the field of architecture. The building has eco-friendly features such as a four-storey (110m2) “living wall” of tropical plants, which provides cleaner air. There is also a green roof and rain collection system used for toilets that will save two million litres of water a year. The city expects to save $150,000 a year in utility bills because 75 per cent of the light is natural and an atrium allows natural drafts to cool the building without turning on air conditioning. More than 3,000 plants were utilized for the new City Hall and the landscaping around the building is comprised exclusively of native or naturalized species which do not require irrigation.