Playing Tourist in Galt, ON

Downtown Galt, Ontario is full of beautiful historic stone architecture and hidden pieces of design. I had the opportunity the other day to walk around with my camera and take some photos and now I’m sharing them with you. But first, here’s some background information about Galt, as found here:

“Galt was a thriving city when in 1973, along with the towns of Hespeler and Preston, it amalgamated with the city of Cambridge. The founder of Galt, William Dickson was one of three brothers brought from Dumfries in Scotland to Niagara by Robert Hamilton, their cousin.

Together with Absalom Shade, they had built a gristmill by 1819 and named the new community Dumfries Mill. Later on the village would become known as Shades Mills and eventually Galt, named in honour of John Galt, founder of Guelph and Goderich and instrumental in the formation of the Canada Company.

This company was set up as a means of implementing settlement into the area […] The company eventually was to buy more than two million acres of land including the Huron Tract, an area of land between the present Kitchener and Lake Huron, and containing Goderich and Stratford.”

What I love about downtown Galt is its dual nature–it is simultaneously gritty and gentlemanly. I would hesitate to walk the streets alone at night in some areas but during the day it is breathtaking. I’ve driven through Galt on a regular basis since I was little, but I found so many new and fascinating details when I parked my car and toured on foot.

The original Galt Carnegie Library, opened in 1903.

Galt is known for its stone buildings. On my drive to school I pass a lot of quarries and gravel pits, indicating the amount of natural stone resources in the area. Some fine examples of Galt’s stone architecture are the churches found on the west side of the river.

The Main Street bridge shown below is an example of bowstring bridge design. It bears the honour of having been listed as one of the “prestigious provincial bridges” by the Ontario Ministry of Culture and was also designated as a heritage site by the City of Cambridge in 1982 (source). Fun fact: it has been featured in at least one episode of CBC’s original series Murdoch Mysteries, along with several other stone structures in the area.

The Main Street Bridge in Galt, ON.
View from the Main Street Bridge looking at the east side of the Grand River.

Here are some of the other stunning structures I found on my wanderings:

I also kept my eyes peeled for interesting signs and ads. These are only a few of the interesting designs to be found:

If I still haven’t convinced you to check out downtown Galt, then let me tell you about Reid Candy and Nut Shop. They have been a staple in Galt since 1971 and their chocolates are phenomenal. I received a box of Reid chocolates for my birthday last year and let me tell you, these people know how to make delicious food. If you’re a stationery fanatic like me, I would also recommend checking out Phidon Pens on Dickson Street across from the new City Hall for an extensive selection of notebooks and fountain pens and top-notch service.


Thanks for checking out my views of downtown Galt! If I missed any important spots, leave me a comment below and I will make a point of going there.

Till next time!


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