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Cambridge (Ontario)

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Cambridge [1] is one of the cities that forms a tightly-integrated metro area, along with Kitchener and Waterloo, within the larger Region of Waterloo in Southwestern Ontario. Cambridge was created in 1973 by the merger of the city of Galt, the towns of Preston and Hespeler, and the village of Blair. The four communities still maintain their individual identities to a certain extent.

Get in

By car

Highway 401, Ontario's main east-west highway, runs through Cambridge, and there are five exits in or adjacent to Cambridge:

  • Exit 275 (Fountain Street), west of Blair
  • Exit 278 (Shantz Hill Road), northwest of Preston
  • Exit 282 (Hespeler Road/former Highway 24), south of Hespeler and north of Galt
  • Exit 284 (Franklin Street), south of Hespeler
  • Exit 286 (Townline Road), southeast of Hespeler

If arriving from the southeast (Hamilton and beyond), take Highway 8, which becomes Dundas Street in Cambridge.

If arriving from the south (Brantford), take Highway 24, which becomes Water Street in Cambridge.

By bus

Greyhound Bus Lines[2] provides bus service to Cambridge from London and Toronto. The bus stops on Industrial Road, near Preston.

Coach Canada[3] provides bus service between Cambridge and Hamilton. The bus stops at the Ainslie Street terminal in Galt. The one-way fare from Hamilton to Cambridge is $11.80.

If arriving by bus from Kitchener or Waterloo, take Grand River Transit[4], the public transit authority in the Region of Waterloo. The iXpress, a limited-stop express bus, travels between Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo, stopping in Cambridge at the Bridgecam Power Centre near Hespeler, the Cambridge Centre on Hespeler Road, and at the Ainslie Street terminal in Galt.

By train

Cambridge does not have passenger rail service. Nearby cities served by VIA Rail[5] are Kitchener, Guelph, and Brantford.

Get around

Travelling by car is probably the fastest way around the city.

Grand River Transit[6] bus system is ideal for getting practically anywhere in Cambridge, with routes that extend towards Kitchener and Waterloo. The fare is currently $2.50 per ride.

It is also possible to get to many points of interest by walking. Most hotels are near malls and major shopping centers. There are also several reasonably priced car rental services in the city and in Kitchener nearby. Walking is probably most convenient within one of the three communities; it's a bit of a long walk between Galt and Preston and Hespeler.

See

Cambridge is an essentially residential city. There are several areas of interest on Hespeler Road.

  • Wings of Paradise Butterfly Conservatory, 2500 Kossuth Rd., 519-653-1234, [7]. Tu-Su 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Contains a tropical garden containing a large number of butterflies, as well as a large insect collection. Nice gift shop too. $9.50 (seniors and teens $8.50, children $5).


Do

  • Cambridge Arts Theatre, 47 Water St. S. (Galt). Features Theatre Cambridge, which features live theatre in the summer, as well as the Galt Little Theatre, a volunteer troupe.


Buy

  • Cambridge Centre, 355 Hespeler Rd., +1 519-624-9415, [8]. M–Sa 9:30 AM–9:00 PM, Su 11:00 AM–5:00 PM. Largest mall in Cambridge, with over 140 stores. Home of the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame.
  • Cambridge Farmers' Market, 40 Dickson Street (corner of Anslie), [9]. Saturday 6:00 am–1:00 pm, Wednesdays 10:00 am–5:00 pm (mid-June to mid-September). The Cambridge Farmers' Market, which has operated at this location since 1837, features farm-fresh fruits and vegetables from the surrounding countryside, fresh meat, baked goods, and other food. The German heritage of the area is well-represented in the foods to be found here. If you find the farmers' market in nearby St. Jacobs a little too touristy for your tastes, you'll enjoy this one. Named one of the top ten farmers' markets in Canada by Best Health Magazine.
  • Green Spot Antiques - TwoJJs Miniatures, 49 Cedar St. (between Grand & St. Andrews), +1 519-623-4050, [10]. Wed thru Mondays 10-6. A great source for antiques, salvage chic, and architectural artifacts, they also restore antiques in their large workshop. All in the antique 1800's Cedar Hill Dairy building.
  • Southworks Outlet Mall, 64 Grand Avenue South, +1 519-740-0380, [11]. Monday to Wednesday 9:30 am–6:00 pm, Thursday to Friday 9:30 am–9:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am–6:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am–5:00 pm. Outlet mall with Canada's largest antique mall (30,000 square feet), all housed in an 1800s metalworking factory.
  • Cambridge Flea Market, 261 Hespeler Rd. (4 km south of Hwy. 401 exit #282), 519-623-0540. Sa-Su 10 AM–5 PM. Southern Ontario's largest indoor flea market has around 30 different vendors. Open year-round.


Eat

  • Blackshop Restaurant & Lounge, 595 Hespeler Road, 519-621-4180, [12]. Casual European fine dining.
  • Eagle Restaurant, 1390 Eagle St, 519-650-0013, [13]. The perfect family diner! Quality food is prepared using fresh ingredients, and the menu choice extensive!
  • Red Basil, 61 Main St, 519-622-0888, [14]. Vietnamese cuisine is at last attracting a broad audience it deserves. Enjoy!

Drink

Sleep

There are a large number of chain hotels near the 401/Hespeler Road interchange. More unique places to sleep in Cambridge can also be found, however.

  • Langdon Hall, 1 Langdon Dr. (in Blair), 519-740-2100 (, fax: 519-740-8161), [15]. A luxurious country inn in an old estate toward the northwest side of Cambridge. Surprisingly luxurious, considering it's neither in the middle of nowhere (you can hear the 401) nor in a big city. Excellent food, though quite expensive. Around $200/night.
  • Best Western Cambridge, 730 Hespeler Rd., 519-622-1180.
  • Holiday Inn Cambridge, 200 Holiday Inn Dr., 519-658-4601.


Get out

  • rare Charitable Research Reserve[16], a 913-acre natural area in North Dumfries Township, abutting Cambridge.
  • African Lion Safari, near Rockton
  • Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail. This 19-kilometre trail follows a former railway between Cambridge and Paris. The scenery is beautiful as the trail runs near the Grand River for much of its length. Makes for a nice bicycle ride.




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