Cambridge, Ontario, is a new city with a rich history. It was formed in January 1973 from the amalgamation of the city of Galt, the towns of Hespeler and Preston, and parts of Waterloo and North Dumfries townships. Residents still use these old city names to describe where they live.
Discover more stories from our city's past with our great local history resources.
Here are a few of our titles
Browse our books and movies on these topics
Get to know your city with these historical walking and driving tours of local neighbourhoods, books and movies about Cambridge events and institutions, and even Mayor Doug Craig's Christmas book.
Waterloo County History
Read about our area's Mennonite heritage, German pioneers or marvelous architecture.
View our collection of local historical documents
Local newspapers dating back to 1849, census, church records, and more are available on microfilm on the second floor of the Queen's Square Library.
Cambridge Landmarks Map
Built using Google Maps, this tool is a great way to find information on heritage sites in Cambridge. Click on a landmark icon to open a scanned newspaper article about the landmark. The articles are from "Landmarks," a regular feature by Ray Martin that ran in the Cambridge Times during the 1990s and 2000s. Information for the feature was provided by the Cambridge Archives and the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.
Search for newspaper articles from the Dumfries Reformer (from 1849), the Galt Reporter (1857 to 1899) and the Cambridge Reporter (1981 to 2003). You can also search for articles and photos about Cambridge landmarks.
Cambridge Archives - Online Research Portal
The Cambridge Archives provides online access to records dating back over 200 years, including digital images, census records, select marriage licences and obituaries, vital statistics, veterans, meetings and agendas, reports, by-laws and other important data from the history of Galt, Hespeler, Preston and Blair. You can also find the Cambridge Reporter newspaper, scanned from 1990 to 2001.
Historical Evolution of Cambridge
Read how Galt, Hespeler, Preston, and Blair came together to form Cambridge.
Cambridge Heritage Properties Register
This register identifies properties that the city has an interest in conserving because of architectural and/or historic significance. It consists of buildings designated under the Ontario Heritage Act as well as those identified as a property of interest by the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.
Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people who once called Waterloo Region their home. Search by name, event, business, building, organization, and place.
Old Ontario Postcards and Digital Archive
Search for "Cambridge Ont" to find rare historical pictures, maps, manuscripts, ephemera, and digitized books from Toronto Public Library's Special Collections.
Canadian County Atlas Digital Project
Explore the Ontario County Atlases, published between 1875 and 1881, through this project from the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the library at McGill University. Includes a searchable database of property owners’ names appearing on the township maps.
Cambridge Heritage Conservation Districts
The Ontario Heritage Act allows the City of Cambridge to designate areas with cultural heritage value as Heritage Conservation Districts. The City of Cambridge currently has three Heritage Conservation Districts: Blair Village, Dickson Hill and Main Street. The detailed plans for each district contain histories and pictures of historic buildings.
The Portuguese in Cambridge [PDF]
This paper explores the development and significance of the Portuguese community in Cambridge. The author, Karen Dearlove, is a Cambridge native with an interest in the history of her hometown. She holds a PhD in history from McMaster University, is active in local history communities, and is currently Curator at Chiefswood National Historic Site.
Newfoundlanders in Cambridge [PDF]
This paper explores how Cambridge became home to a significant population of expatriate Newfoundlanders. The author, Karen Dearlove, is a Cambridge native with an interest in the history of her hometown. She holds a PhD in history from McMaster University, is active in local history communities, and is currently Curator at Chiefswood National Historic Site.
Share your memories with these two Facebook groups: Memories of old Galt, Preston or Hespeler and Preston, Ontario. Post pictures, ask questions of people who have lived our city's history or just enjoy the conversation.
Golden Years series
This series of articles features profiles of our city's senior citizens.
Cambridge Archives Local History Resources
The Archives houses most of the local history resources for our area. They are located at
46 Dickson Street, 2nd Floor Cambridge, ON
Open 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday
Waterloo Historical Society
The WHS documents and fosters recognition of the region's unique heritage and encourages heritage preservation. Contact the society at
Grace Schmidt Room, Kitchener Public Library
85 Queen Street North, Kitchener, ON
519.743.0271, ext. 252
More Archives in the Region
Find a wealth of local history sites and resources in the Region of Waterloo.