About an hour south west of Toronto you’ll find Cambridge, ON. Often overshadowed by its larger sister cities, Kitchener and Waterloo, Cambridge is the smallest of the tri-cities with a population of 127,000. The city itself is an amalgamation of three small towns which gives Cambridge three distinct core areas: Galt, Hespeler and Preston.
Cambridge has historically been a sleepy area, however in recent years the city is starting to wake up with an influx of delicious businesses that showcase what the great farmland surrounding the city has to offer. We think more people need to be paying attention to what’s going on in Cambridge and our perfect weekend there will show you why:
1. If you’re anything like us being in a car for any more than 45 minutes means you need a snack. We get that snack from the Bake shop on Main. When the smell of pastries and bread baking meet you at the door you’ll feel like the city is welcoming you with a hug. Try the donuts and croissants — pair them with a cup of Baden coffee, a family run business that serves fresh roasted Fair Trade organic coffee.
2. After you’ve gotten your fill head to Rare. Larger than Central Park, Rare is Canada’s largest urban green space. Inside the reserve you can find a variety of different ecosystems to explore including wetlands, old growth forest and a series of cliffs along the river where bald eagles winter. You can check out the website to pick a trail or see if they are running any events or workshops at their brick and mortar locations on the property!
3. The next step is to head to Cambridge’s local brewery, Grand River Brewing Company. Built in the old Galt Knife Company building Grand River has the historic feeling to it that demonstrates the best of Galt. You can try samples and 14 oz glasses in their hospitality room or grab a growler to go of whatever tickles your fancy. We haven’t met a beer of theirs that we didn’t get along with but if you’re there in the late fall or winter the Jubilation Winter Warmer is in a league of its own.
4. We would be remiss if we didn’t suggest you Feast ON at the Cambridge Mill. The 19th century building that the restaurant is housed in is one of the oldest surviving industrial buildings in Cambridge, giving a nod to the manufacturing past that the city is built upon. With stunning views of the Grand River the Cambridge Mill’s seasonal and local menu will allow you to taste what the abundant farmland surrounding Cambridge has to offer, while also offering a feast for your eyes.
5. On Sunday morning the best thing to do in Cambridge is head down to the farmers market. Running since 1830 the Cambridge Farmers Market is one of the oldest in the country and is as local as it gets with all of the vendors coming from within 100 km. Don’t think that means the choices will be limited though. You’ll be able to find produce, meat, cheeses, baked goods, coffee and even an Indian food stand that all represent the wide variety of local food choices in the area. We suggest finding some summer sausage which is a specialty of the nearby mennonite community.
6. Before you leave the city you should take one last walk through downtown to soak in the beautiful architecture, and what’s a good walk without a snack or two? Right across the street from the farmer’s market you will find Reid’s Chocolate, a Cambridge institution since it opened in 1971. Their dark chocolate turtles instil the kind of cravings that can keep you up at night.
If you’re interested in learning more about what Cambridge has to offer check out the Cambridge Visitors page!