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Last Updated
July 17, 2012

?History Main Page ?Galt ?Preston ?Hespeler ?Blair ?Market ?City Hall ?Banks
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Picture of William Dickson In 1784 the British Crown granted to the Six Nations Indians, in perpetuity, all the land along the Grand River six miles deep on each side of the river from its source to Lake Erie. The Indians, led by Joseph Brant, had the land surveyed in 1791 and divided into Indian Reserve lands as well as large tracts which they intended to sell to developers. One such developer was the Honourable William Dickson who, in 1816, came into sole possession of 90,000 acres of land along the Grand River which was later to make up North and South Dumfries Townships.

Picture of Absalom ShadeMr. Dickson intended to divide the land into smaller lots to be sold, primarily, to Scottish settlers whom he hoped to attract to Canada. In the company of Absalom Shade, Mr. Dickson immediately toured his new lands intending to develope a town site which would serve as the focal point for his attempts to populate the countryside. They chose the site where Mill Creek flows into the Grand River and in 1816 the settlement of Shade's Mills was born. The new settlement grew slowly but by 1825, though still very small, it was the largest settlement in the area and was important enough to obtain a post office. Mr. Dickson decided that a new name was needed for the Post Office and consequently the settlement and he chose Galt in honour of the Scottish novelist and Commissioner of the Canada Company, John Galt. Settlers resisted the introduction of the new name preferring the more familiar Shade's Mills. After Mr. Galt visited Mr. Dickson in the settlement two years later, the name "Galt" received more wide spread acceptance.

Old GaltIn its early days Galt was an agricultural community serving the needs of the farmers in the surrounding countryside. By the late 1830's, however, the settlement began to develop an industrial base and a reputation for quality products that, in later years, earned the town the nickname "The Manchester of Canada". Galt was the largest and most important town in the area until the beginning of the 20th century when it was finally overtaken by Kitchener. The town continued its steady if unspectacular growth and reveled in its reputation as an industrial town whose products reached around the world.Municipal Building

In the late 1960's the provincial government began looking at ways in which municipal governments could become more effective. It was proposed that the Regional Municipality of Waterloo possessing greater powers and responsibilities would replace the County of Waterloo. As part of that process, the City of Galt would amalgamate with the towns of Preston and Hespeler to form a single city. PICTURE OF THE MARKET So it was that on January 1, 1973 the City of Galt ceased to exist as a separate political entity and became part of the new City of Cambridge. The City of Cambridge's municipal services were then housed in the building to the left. This picture was taken in July of 1997. To learn more about Galt City Hall history, please click on that picture.

Today, city hall is located at 50 Dickson Street.

The City of Cambridge crest symbolizes the union between Galt, Hespler, Preston and Blair. To learn more about the city's symbols CLICK HERE!

The main shopping core found at the corner of Dixon Street and Ainslie Street South on the east side of the Grand River - just south of the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway (401) is a charming and seemingly thriving shopping district with more than ample bank representation, the city's transportation depots and a farmers' market. The picture to the right shows the market as it stands today. If you like to more about the market's history, please click on the picture (the picture was taken in June, 1997).

To learn about the very important role banks played in the development of The City of Cambridge, CLICK HERE!

We gratefully acknowledge Jim Quantrell, Archivest for the City of Cambridge and the Corporation of the City of Cambridge's Archives Department for their gracious provisioning of the material upon which this page is based (published articles and more) and for allowing us to draw, liberally, on that published material and images in their library!

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