Archive for About Cambridge

Art with a Local Flair: The Galleries of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge


Local artists in Kitchener-Waterloo

Artwork Display of Local Artist Gary Barnett –

Although Kitchener-Waterloo is not a big metropolitan city, it still has all of all the sophistication and artistic flair of bigger cities. Art and culture are central to life in Waterloo Region and celebrated in both the city centers and in the homes of our residents too. Residents of Kitchener-Waterloo love fine art, which is evident by the number of popular galleries and museums that thrive here.


If you’re interested in going on an artistic journey in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, the place to start is THEMUSEUM. This isn’t your typical stodgy, dusty dull hall of aging artwork. THEMUSEUM is a vibrant and ever-changing display of art, technology and culture with a dash of science mixed in on a regular basis.

THEMUSEUM has a diverse array of programs for adults and children, permanent displays and changing exhibitions. It’s never the same from visit-to-visit. Interactive exhibits invite contact, collaboration and discussion while stimulating the imagination. It’s a fun-for-all-ages kind of place that redefines the concept of a museum. It’s cool and relevant but remains educational and inspirational.

Some of the permanent installations include a living wall at the entrance. The wall makes art from nature plus it cools the building and cleans the air. A magnetic wall invites visitors to add to the art with their own combination of words, shapes and gears. Another wall, the virtual graffiti wall, gives guests the chance to express themselves by painting with light. These are just a few of the on-going exhibitions; there are many more of course.

Not every exhibition at THEMUSEUM will remain there long-term. Special events and exhibits move in and out frequently for new and engaging experiences. Past exhibits have included Chagall for Children, Andy Warhol’s Factory, and the Treasures of China Featuring the Dazu Rock Carvings. Exhibits feature fine art, photography, science, culture and history plus modern history in the making.

Local artists can get involved in an annual tradition at THEMUSEUM. The World Refugee Day Art Show gives artists a chance to show their work and highlight a significant cause. THEMUSEUM partners with Immigration Partnership and CCORIC for this important event.

University of Waterloo Art Gallery

To see the work of the next generation of artists, check out the University of Waterloo Art Gallery. The work of students and visiting artists is constantly changing. At any given time you could see sculptural works, paintings, photography or mixed media at a UWAG show.

UpTown Gallery at Waterloo Town Square

If you are an artist yourself, the workspace at the UpTown Gallery at Waterloo Town Square might be of interest to you. This collaborative space sits in the center of the uptown area, right at the intersection of Erb Street and King Street West. Its founding purpose is to promote local artists and bring art to the community.

There is always an artist on the premises during open hours who is available to discuss techniques and methods or perhaps demonstrate their skills. You can even attend one of the gallery’s workshops. Artists working from the UpTown Gallery may choose to express themselves in mosaic, glass, jewelry, photography and fiber art as well as painting and sculpture. These pieces of art can be purchased with prices ranging from gift-worthy to investment-quality.

Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery

The Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (or KWAG) is one of the premier non-profit public galleries in Ontario. This public treasure is dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, research and exhibition of the visual arts. Inspiring creativity and appreciation for the visual arts is its “business.”

Over 4000 works of art reside in KWAG’s permanent collection. Oftentimes, exhibits draw from this deep well of works. KWAG is invested in educating people about art and connecting the community to artists and their work. It offers a ton of programs for all ages including kids’ classes and camps, adult classes and gallery tours, and a wonderful complement of programs designed to aid educators.

KWAG is also on the cutting edge of technology thanks to a sponsorship from Google in 2012 after which time a virtual Interactive Space was launched. The intent is to connect people and ideas through art in a whole new way. Virtual tours give every person with Internet connectivity access to art and the inspiration it brings. Art lovers with physical limitations or those who are far away can still enjoy the works on display using technology. It is an amazing use of the tools of the day to introduce art directly into homes.

Cambridge Galleries

A gallery crawling trip into nearby Cambridge, the third member of Tri-Cities alongside Kitchener and Waterloo, will undoubtedly lead you to the display space of the Cambridge Galleries. With display rooms in Preston, Queen’s Square and Design at Riverside, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the inspiration of local and national artists.

There’s more to Cambridge Galleries than just enjoying other’s works. You can learn and create here too. Studio courses and lectures are offered as well as concerts and film screenings. As part of the Cambridge Public Library System, it’s a gem for all Tri-City residents.



Waterloo Region may not be an immensely large urban center but we are lacking nothing when it comes to art. Our galleries and museums will be providing inspiration for generations to come.



The Perfect Blend: Living in Cambridge Ontario

CAMBRIDGE: A Modern City with a Small Town Feel

CAMBRIDGE: A Modern City with a Small Town Feel

Few places can boast that they “have it all” but Cambridge, Ontario sure comes close. Blending the best of urban life with the quaint and quiet rural lifestyle, it’s a small town atmosphere with just a touch of big city style. Walking trails and green spaces sit comfortably next to a fun city center while historic architecture pairs well with affordable housing. This blended family of townships will make you feel right at home.

Cambridge was born from the merger of a city (Galt), two towns (Hespeler and Preston), and the village of Blair. In 1973, these locales set aside their rivalries and joined forces to form what is now the City of Cambridge. Each area has retained its own identity within the larger composite city creating a diverse, eclectic and interesting community. Most residents will tell outsiders that Cambridge is their home but amongst themselves, they’ll identify with their original community (e.g. “I love living in Hespeler”). Each community has its own history that has been carefully recorded in the Cambridge City Archives, has its own center core and unique attitude.

The History of Galt, Hespeler, Preston, and Blair

The City of Galt

Galt was once the largest township in this area. Kitchener eventually overtook it in the early part of the 20th century but until then it served the surrounding farming communities well for a very long time. The land now home to Galt was once given to the people of the Six Nations. Six Nations set aside reserve lands and plots for sale at which time the Honorable William Dickson, who was also a developer, purchased 90,000 acres along the Grand River.

Dickson decided to name the post office and thus the community after John Galt, a Scottish novelist and the Commissioner of the Canada Company. Residents weren’t sold on the name until Mr. Galt paid them a visit personally. Somehow the name caught on well after that! The Old Post Office, built in 1886, still stands in Galt. It has been classified as a National Historic Site and a beautiful example of the architecture of the 1800s. Designed by famed architect Thomas Fuller, it incorporates elements of Romanesque, Gothic and Second Empire styles. More recently an impressive budget of $12 million has been allocated to restore The Old Post Office.

Today, Galt is a thriving community known for its stunning Victorian homes and streets lined with maple trees.

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The Old Post Office in Galt, Built 1886                                         (PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Strong)

The Town of Hespeler

Richard Beasley purchased the land now under the community of Hespeler from the Six Nations people, led by Joseph Brant. The land that Beasley and his partners had for sale attracted the attention of a group of Mennonite farmers in Pennsylvania, USA. These farmers were looking for good farmland and the freedom to practice their religion, so Hespeler seemed like a haven to them.

The first settlers, Michael and Susanna Bergey, lent the town its original name, Bergeytown. This was soon replaced with the more melodic moniker New Hope. Jacob Hespeler brought his own hopes to New Hope and it later took his name. Jacob built an industrial complex that was integral to the long-term growth and economic strength the town enjoys even to this day.

The Town of Preston

Beasley and his Mennonite customers also gave birth to the town of Preston. John Erb and his wife settled on the Speed River and built a sawmill. A gristmill followed and while the sawmill has long since faded into history, the gristmill is now the oldest continuously operating industrial site in the region.

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Industrialized Preston Ontario                                                                                                                         PHOTO CREDIT: These Are Only Words/Flickr

The mills were collectively called Cambridge Mills and this industrial center attracted talented people and encouraged the growth of a settlement. Since the Mennonite farmers spoke primarily German, many German immigrants were drawn to Preston. Newly arrived tradesmen and artisans set up shops and businesses in this growing community.

Word of the town’s mineral springs (or “stinky water” as the locals called it at the time) was industriously spread by some enterprising businessmen and doctors. People in poor health of various types made the trek to this small town seeking the purported curative effects of the water’s high sulfur content. Despite the influx of travelers, it wasn’t until a railway connected Preston to the surrounding towns that it truly began to flourish.

The Village of Blair

Mennonites were once again responsible for the genesis of what started off as the little village of Blair. Samuel Betzner was the first resident but perhaps not the most notable or influential. That honour would go to the Bowman and the Betchel families.

Allan Bowman built the Sheaves Tower on Bowman Creek to supply the flourmill with a boost of power. This earned it the nickname “Power Tower.” This is an early example of the type of technology that was behind the mechanical transfer of power, and set the village of Blair apart from Galt and Hespeler.

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The Sheaves Tower in the Village of Blair
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Krouskie

Linking the unique communities of Galt, Hespeler, and Blair was an important part of making them into a single, unified township. Since they each started as a particular settlement, they each have their own center. The communities have grown together and most of the spaces between have filled in. Commuting from one area to the other is an important part of daily life for the residents.

The communities that make up the City of Cambridge come together for its many festivals and fairs that populate the calendar. Cultures, food and art are celebrated throughout the year. Residents of Cambridge share a love of the outdoors and support many parks and recreation areas. All of this comes at a surprisingly affordable price. Homes in smaller cities like Cambridge, Ontario are far less expensive than the same square footage in a big city. Fewer bidding wars mean faster closings, too.

Cambridge is the perfect combination of old and new, big and small. The communities of Cambridge really are considered to be the perfect blend.

If you are looking to buy a home in Cambridge, let us show you around. Call The Mark Maurer Team at 310-SOLD or contact us here.



Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge


Where is the best place to live in Waterloo Region?

Life Satisfaction of Residents in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge

Waterloo Region is known internationally for it’s leading-edge technology and advanced manufacturing industries, innovative educational institutions, vibrant agricultural communities, and the historically-significant Grand River. Waterloo region has earned its reputation as a forward-thinking community and as an attractive area to work, live, and play. Yet how do residents in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge rate their Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life? The results listed in this article are based on data from 340,000 individual responses in the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and the General Social Survey (GSS)*. This includes specific economic and social factors that contribute to life satisfaction and quality of life. Canada has been measuring Life Satisfaction for more than 30 years and was the first country to measure and collect data on life satisfaction.

Survey Results for Waterloo Region

CCHS and GSS respondents were asked: Using a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means “Very dissatisfied” and 10 means “Very satisfied,” how do you feel about your life as a whole right now? On average, residents of Waterloo Region participating in these studies rated their life satisfaction at 8 out of 10. Most impressively, 38% percent of Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge respondents reported their life satisfaction as a 9 or 10! Only 15% of these survey participants ranked their life satisfaction as a “6 or less.”

 Contributors to Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life

A report produced by The Region of Waterloo states that at the individual-level there are characteristics that are shown to be correlated with Life Satisfaction. These include age, employment status, and health status. On a community-level, the design of our neighbourhoods and their safety are factors that contribute to Quality of Life.

Community Demographics

With regards to age, the majority of Waterloo Region’s population is fairly young – between the ages of 20 – 59, which means we have a significant number of residents in the workforce. In a two-year Quality of Life study conducted in Cambridge through Wilfrid Laurier University, Master’s student Annette A. Penney found that community residents reported that the number one contributor to Quality of Life was “family and friends.” The most recent census indicates that across Waterloo Region there are more married families than non-married families, further enhancing our perceived life satisfaction.

Community Safety and Neighbourhood Design

Although safety is not a variable that was measured in either the CCHS or the GSS, it is a factor that is considered to be a contributor to Quality of Life. Both violent and non-violent crimes have been on a downward trend here and across Canada for a number of years, however, our crime rates are below those of major Canadian communities. According to Statistics Canada, police-reported crime data that has been collected on non-violent crimes show that in the past 10 years the crime rate has been decreasing in Waterloo Region.

The design of neighbourhoods and physical characteristics of communities also contributes to Quality of Life in Waterloo Region. This includes: the location of buildings; road/street/sidewalk conditions; allocation of bike lanes; availability and placement of houses; and accessibility to neighbourhood parks. In Waterloo Region in 2014 the region spent more than $100 million in road construction ensuring that the condition of our streets and sidewalks is kept up-to-date and new roadways and bridges are developed to keep up with the pace of increasing traffic. The Rapid Transit system connecting Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge and the Light Rail Transit system between Kitchener and Waterloo also helps to transport residents between destinations in our region. There are literally hundreds of neighbourhood and public parks for families in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge.

Employment Status and Income of Residents

In a Quality of Life study in Cambridge, community residents reported that “income” was the second most important contributing factor to their quality of life. We can assert that this would be the same for all residents of Waterloo Region. Our median family incomes are higher than in many communities across Ontario.

To summarize, residents of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge report a high level of Life Satisfaction and this region rates moderately high on community characteristics that contribute to improved levels of Quality of Life. Indeed, Waterloo Region IS a great place to live, work, and play! If you plan to move to our area and would like more information on what our cities have to offer, click here for About Kitchener, About Waterloo, and About Cambridge. Also feel free to peruse our category of blog posts about Living in Kitchener-Waterloo.


*Data for this article were taken from the five cycles of the GSS fielded from 2009 to 2013 and the four cycles of the CCHS fielded from 2009 to 2012 inclusive.