Pros and Cons Living in Cambridge Ontario

According to Wikipedia, ‘Cambridge Ontario is located at the confluence of the Grand and Speed rivers.’ Confluence conjures up an image of a pretty town on the water and with a population of 136,810, that is exactly what Cambridge is. (2019 census)

The weather systems are described as a humid continental climate, winters moderately cold with an occasional freeze, and the temperatures in Summer climbing to the high 20s Celsius. This makes the climate favorable for growing produce between mid-May and October, if you are planning a vegetable garden it will be an ideal ‘window’ of five months free of frost.

History of Cambridge

Cambridge was a planned community and settled by William Dickson, a wealthy immigrant from Scotland, in 1816. The center of the community was planned for where the two rivers met. Dickson sold small lots of land to other settlers from Scotland. In the early years, the area was primarily used for agriculture until 1840 when Industry was attracted to the area. This was a good initiative as the town soon became the largest in the area, powered by the Grand River. There were three large woolen mills, a malt factory, a large soap and candles works, and many others. Stone buildings in the town area were springing up quickly as the new immigrants became affluent from their industries. They already had a weekly newspaper and the post office received mail on a daily basis. In the old days, the area and Post Office were named Galt ( after John Galt of the Canada Company) and had water-power that allowed milling. The milling in turn allowed for a cloth factory, and a brewery, and two distillers. By 1879 the railway reached Galt, increasing export opportunities, and in 1883 this was taken over by Canadian Pacific Railway. After that time the town went from strength to strength.

Pros and Cons of Living in Cambridge

Cambridge, as it is known today, was formed in 1973 with the amalgamation of four small towns, that have made it a city of many attributes.

Advantages

  • Visit the Fashion History Museum, opened in 2004, and now has over 10,000 garments and accessories dating back to the late 1600s.
  • Great hiking trails, over 20 kilometers of woodland and riverside trails for you and your family to explore.
  • Go swimming or canoeing and indulge in watersports like ice-fishing all year-round.
  • Take the children to see the Butterflies in the Cambridge Conservatory, kids love bugs!
  • Cambridge is also an Art Hub with three separate galleries. Two of the galleries focus on contemporary art ( Queens Square and Preston gallery). While Riverside gallery focus is on architecture and design.
  • Have a picnic in Riverside Park which has some custom-built picnic shelters.
  • Shop at the farmers market, this has been a weekly event from June to September, since 1837.
  • While walking along the banks of the Grand river visit the Sculpture Garden that features local and national artists, and hosts art shows.
  • Go to the theatre, there are several long-established theatre companies.
  • There are 8 golf clubs, that makes Cambridge a perfect place for the golfer. If you want to join the Galt Country Club it dates back to 1906.
  • Walkthrough town and look at the historic stone cottages, including McDougall Cottage dating back to 1858 a restored laborers cottage which allows you to see how life was back then. It also teaches you about the Scottish culture of that era.
  • Visit the former Galt Post Office a magnificent heritage building of a rather Gothic Revival look, beautifully built.
  • Attend the Cambridge Arts Festival. The Christmas in Cambridge series is extremely popular.
  • Go to a 5-star restaurant, Langdon Hall a famous restaurant and Hotel with Spa. built-in 1898.

There is so much to do for such a small town, and it is easy to get around making it very livable, but a great thing in its favor is the median house price at just $457,000 making it very affordable for families, and some indications show that prices are falling. The area provides many single-detached homes and some older terrace houses.

Many people say that the city is underrated, as it has such a great location. It sits on both sides of Highway 401, and is 90 km to Toronto. Many residents commute to work in nearby cities, like London. Cambridge is a growing Business Center providing work for those who live there and many major stores have relocated to Cambridge.

Disadvantages

  • The railway line crosses the town, making a dangerous crossing for traffic.
  • High level of sexual assault crimes, avoid walking alone at night.
  • A Safe Injecting Room has caused controversy.
  • If you are a single woman between 20-24, women outnumber men by about 6,500. You may need to move to meet eligible men.

Local Government

The City was created following amalgamations of four areas in 1973 and it consists of a Mayor and eight Counsellors. The City of Cambridge is also represented on the Waterloo Regional Council. The city is responsible for Transport and Community Services and Social Services and Health Care.

Schools

There are a number of Primary and Secondary Schools in Cambridge, so there is a range of schools that your child could attend depending on whether you want a Private school or the Public system. There is also a Theological College in Cambridge.

Cambridge is a city that caters to children and there is a Kids Country Club Respite ( for special needs children), and many other places where children can undertake activities and will encourage your child to be outdoors.

Early Learning Centers include a Montessori Education center for 18 months up, established in the 1970s, MindChamps Preschool Center that offers both physical and intellectual education to help prepare your child for a lifetime of learning. Cambridge boasts three particularly good preschools, so there is plenty to choose from to give your child a good holistic start.

Transport in Cambridge

Cambridge is a town located in the Waterloo Region of Ontario. It is 82 -90 km from Toronto which can be reached by train, bus, or car.

The bus from Toronto Pearson Airport ( the Shuttle) connects with Cambridge, it can also be reached by train. The train boasts all connections, all time and all prices. However, you will need a car to get around town.

Who Lives in Cambridge

Cambridge is a thriving metropolitan city with many shopping malls and a choice of restaurants for fine dining. Stroll around the town and admire the historic Limestone buildings, and enjoy the lovely parks and scenery a great place to relax and spend a weekend if you are planning to move there.

The largest demographic group in Cambridge is in the 45-49 age group, and this would indicate families. The median age is 41, and the Real Estate prices indicate that it would is a very attractive place for families to live. With growing industrial and store relocations to the area, property prices should grow as the population increases. There should also be continuing employment opportunities available. The city encourages filming of movie and TV programs, and the filmmakers come to the city for the unique old buildings, many European in style. The proximity to Toronto is also an attraction to the filmmakers and recently 15 film projects were completed in about three weeks, the river is another strong attraction. Seeing Cambridge on the screen is a source of great community pride for the locals.

Health Care Services Cambridge

Hospital services are provided by the city, The Cambridge Memorial Hospital a small hospital opened in 1890, a new one was opened in 1953 and later expanded upon providing many services, emergency department, mental health, birthing suite, and other. Another new patient care wing was completed in late 2019 run by trained medical staff.

Real Estate in Cambridge

If you are moving to Cambridge the good news is that you should be able to get a great house at a good price. There are lots of lovely homes, both new and period houses starting from around 400.000 up. Do your research and contact a few different agents before you make a choice. Some come with acreage, but it may be handier for you to be near the city center. I have found a selection of bungalows from $200.000 which is a really low price for nearly new homes. There is even a site for Tiny Homes, so buy a big block and you will have room for a Tiny Home Granny flat for Your Mother or Father to come and live in when they are old and need to be near family.

Conclusion

Cambridge is such a lovely town full of great opportunities for those on a budget just starting their married life. What could be better than to live in a town of such natural beauty with a rich culture, and so many great outdoor activities? Work opportunities appear to be plentiful in many areas including Health, Education, Manufacturing, and Tourism. When you want to go for a holiday you are only about 90 km from a major International Airport which just brings the rest of the world so much closer.

 

Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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