Architecture in Cambridge: 10 stories you’ve never been told!


Cambridge’s architecture preserves and displays our community’s history. We love hearing and sharing the stories behind each building and how they’ve shaped Cambridge into the city it is in this 50th anniversary year.

To see (or share) more on Cambridge’s historic cityscape, search the #BuiltInCambridge hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, or upload a photo of your own! Additionally, subscribe to our news feed for more content on all things Cambridge.

Explore the stories behind some of Cambridge’s most historic buildings and structures.

Cambridge City Hall | 50 Dickson Street

The City Hall is the heart of a community, and for Cambridge, it's no different! Constructed in 1858, this historic administrative building originally served as the Town of Galt’s town hall, replacing the Dumfries Township Hall. The building’s design is a perfect example of the mid-19th Century Italianate architectural style – popularly used for Ontarian town halls built in this era.

Cambridge Farmers' Market | 40 Dickson Street

The Cambridge Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest in Canada – operating since the 1830s! Though, it wasn’t until 1887 that it made its move into this remarkable building located at 40 Dickson Street. The two-storey red-brick addition was completed in 1896. Having been in operation for over 100 years, the market was restored in 2002 to address moisture concerns – preserving the original brick façade.

Meet with vendors and discover local products. Check out the Cambridge Farmers’ Market website here.

Former Galt Post Office | 12 Water Street South

Constructed in 1887, this historic building overlooks the Grand River and once served as a post office, customs, and government services building. The Former Galt Post Office is a two-and-a-half-storey stone building designed using a mixture of Gothic, Romanesque, and Second Empire architecture styles. It was transformed and repurposed as the newest Idea Exchange location in 2018, with an exquisite blend of historic and modernized architectural features.

Visit the Idea Exchange website here to learn more about Canada’s very first bookless library.

Cambridge Main Street Bridge | Main Street

This two-span, 57.3-meter bridge extends from Melville Street to Water Street along Cambridge’s Main Street. The bridge was necessary to accommodate the influx of automobiles in the area following the First World War. Commissioned by the former City of Galt, the concrete bow string arch bridge was constructed in only four months, opening to the public in December 1931.

Cambridge Fire Hall Museum and Education Centre | 56 Dickson Street

The popular Cambridge Fire Hall Museum and Education Centre is a two-storey red-brick building constructed in 1898. Originally operating as the Galt Fire Department Hall, it served the community from 1898 until 1980. The hall was designed using a combination of Romanesque Revival and High Victorian architectural styles with Italianate touches throughout. It was repurposed as a museum and educational centre for those curious about the history of fire service in the area.

Want to learn more? Click here to visit the Cambridge Fire Hall Museum and Education Centre website for more information.

Armoury | Ainslie Street South
The Armoury was constructed in 1915 with a fortress-style appearance composed of brick and stone. The building’s exterior has a fortified design with towers and turrets to reinforce its militaristic aesthetic. The interior features a large drill hall as well as offices and other facilities. Though utilitarian by design, the Armoury is representative of the military architecture of its time.

Cambridge Arts Theatre | 47 Water Street

Situated at the corner of Water and Warnock Streets, this single-storey building was constructed in 1887. Originally operating as the First Delta Baptist Church, the church features a blend of Romanesque and Italianate architectural styles with buff brick and red-brick accents composing its exterior façade. The church was deconsecrated in 1980 and sold to the City of Cambridge in 1982. Today it hosts theatrical productions directed and performed by the Cambridge Community Players.

Are you looking to see an upcoming show? Visit the Cambridge Community Players website here for more information!

Sheave Tower | Old Mill Road
Canada’s last remaining wooden hydro generation tower is tucked away in the woods right off Old Mill Road in the former Village of Blair. Sheave Tower, a 31-foot tall red-painted wooden structure, was built by Allan Bowan in 1876 to deliver energy to the Carlisle Grist flour mill. The tower was designed with a water turbine and cable pulley system to provide approximately 15 horsepower to the mill. Sheave Tower was designated a historic landmark as an example of mechanical ingenuity in the 19th Century.
Hespeler Post Office | 74 Queen St East

In 1913, the Government of Canada purchased two plots of land in the Town of Hespeler which would be designated for a post office. The building was designed by Thomas W. Fuller, the architect behind the Old Galt Post Office and many other government buildings across Canada. The Hespeler Post Office was built in 1928 and operated until it was decommissioned and sold to a private buyer in 1993. The Fashion History Museum moved into the building in 2015 with exhibitions displaying a collection of fashion pieces from around the globe. The City of Cambridge purchased the building in 2020 and in 2022 the journey to secure a heritage designation for the Hespeler Post Office began.

Explore the Fashion History Museum located in the old Hespeler Post Office for fashion exhibitions and pieces collected from past and present.

Hespeler Town Hall | 11 Tannery Street East

This two-storey Beaux Arts style building was designed by Evans and Fulford and constructed by the Grill Brothers in 1914. The brown-brick styling of this building was a popular aesthetic for commercial and public centres in the early 1900s. Today, the building operates as the Hespeler Heritage Centre. The centre aims to promote and preserve the history of the community.

Visit the Hespeler Heritage Centre website here to learn more about the community’s history.

A Breath of Fresh Air in Cambridge

Get out and explore 365 hectares of parkland, over 50km of natural and urban trails, and much more in Cambridge.


With over 365 hectares of dedicated parkland surrounding our community, we couldn’t possibly explain what makes each of Cambridge’s parks unique. Instead, here is a quick overview of three popular parks across the City:

Riverside Park
This 252-acre park in Preston is the largest across all of Cambridge! The iconic Riverside Park Gates – built in 1922 to honour those who served in the First World War – welcome you to this amenity-filled greenspace. Riverside Park is home to bookable sports fields, picnic areas, and dedicated BMX and skateboard parks.

Churchill Park

Located in southern Cambridge, this 67-acre park offers a range of outdoor amenities and houses the Duncan McIntosh Arena at its centre. Churchill Park features a fully-accessible playground, several ball diamonds and soccer fields, bookable picnic areas, and its very own skateboard park.
Soper Park

Surrounding both sides of Dundas Street with a pedestrian tunnel connecting the North and South sides, Soper Park is home to the Cambridge Tennis Club, two gardens, and a selection of outdoor facilities. The park features a 9-hole disc golf course, two baseball diamonds, and bookable picnic areas. The park is undergoing a redevelopment plan to replace the decommissioned Kinsman Pool with new, community-enhancing amenities.

Visit the City of Cambridge Parks & Recreation page to find other parks and park rules and regulations. View the three best rated parks in Cambridge.


With 50km of natural and urban trails to walk, jog, run, or bike, Cambridge invites you to take the scenic route and discover the beauty of its natural landscapes or the historical architecture of our built environment.

Living Levee Trail (2.1km)

If you’re on the hunt for a quick urban stroll, this is the trail for you. The Living Levee Trail is an entirely urban trail located in Downtown Galt along the Grand River. Open year-round, the path is perfect for running and walking while taking in the majesty of Cambridge’s architecture.

Mill Run Trail (6.5km)

When you’re looking to break from the city, make your way up north to the Mill Run Trail. This natural trail follows the 1896 Galt, Preston, Hespeler Electric Railway Line, starting in Preston and finishing in Hespeler. The Mill Run Trail is open year-round whether you want to run, walk, cycle, or even birdwatch.
Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail (18km)
This trail has you covered if you’re yearning for a long trek. The Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail is an extra-long, 18km path connecting the City of Cambridge to the Town of Paris. The all-season trail stretches along the Grand River, making it perfect for hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Visit the City of Cambridge Trails List page for additional trail details, closures, and rules and etiquette information.


Cambridge is home to three unique and sprawling conservation areas open for you to discover and admire. The Grand River Conservation Authority owns and manages each of these areas.

Chilligo Conservation Area
At the north end of Hespeler and along the Mill Run Trail, you’ll find the Chilligo Conservation Area. This 121-acre nature preserve features a mix of forests, marshlands, and meadows, making it an ideal spot for hikers and cyclists to explore.

Dumfries Conservation Area

In 1970, P.R. Hilborn generously donated this land to the Province of Ontario – the land was then transferred to the Grand River Conservation Authority. The Dumfries Conservation Area is a 185-acre natural space filled with varying forests, wetlands, and trails to discover. The area is also home to the Dumfries Kite Festival, which has been hosted annually for the past 25 years!

Shade's Mills Conservation Area

This day-use conservation area has so much to offer for any outdoor fanatic. Shade’s Mills Conservation Area boasts 12km of trails winding through its breathtaking hardwood forests along Mill Creek. Its 80-acre reservoir is perfect for paddling, swimming, or fishing in the summer or ice fishing in the winter.

Visit the Grand River Conservation Authority website for additional information to plan your visit to each area.

 We’re always excited to see Cambridge residents get out and explore our region’s natural beauty. We’d like to thank our City staff and the Grand River Conservation Authority for all their efforts to maintain our parks and nature conservatories.

 We always love to see stories and photos of the City’s landscapes and environments. Use the #BuiltInCambridge hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to share your pics and tell your stories.