The area that would one day become the City of Galt was originally sold to the Honourable William Dickson from the Six Nations in 1816. Mr. Dickson’s hope was to attract fellow Scottish settlers to the area, and with Absalom Shade, began the settlement of Shade’s Mills.
In 1825, when the settlement built it’s own post office, Dickson decided to rename the settlement Galt in honour of John Galt, a Scottish novelist and the Commissioner of the Canada Company.
Galt was the largest town in this area of Ontario until it was overtaken by Berlin (now Kitchener) in the early 1900’s.
In the late 1960’s, the government of Ontario first proposed the amalgamation of Galt with nearby Hespeler, Preston, and Blair. The proposal wasn’t popular with any of the communities involved, but went through anyway on January 1, 1973, when the City of Cambridge was incorporated.
East Galt is one of Cambridge’s oldest residential neighbourhoods. It is made up mostly of older single detached homes with a few older semi-detached homes and houses that have been converted into multiple apartments.
Typically, the streets in this neighbourhood are lined with mature trees. Since many of the houses were built before people had cars, if the property has a garage it is usually detached from the house. Also, since most of the neighbourhood developed before cars, many of the streets are shorter and narrower than in newer neighbourhoods. This kept the streets more walkable for the early residents, and makes for a pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood to this day.
Many of the well-maintained homes date from the Victorian era in the late 1800s and the early Edwardian era in the early 1900s. There are many architectural styles found in the neighbourhood, including:
• High Victorian Gothic
• High Victorian Italianate
• High Victorian
• High Victorian Cottage
• High Victorian Georgian
• Georgian Italianate
• Georgian Cottage
• Ontario Cottages
• Gothic Revivals
• Queen Anne
• Second Empire
• Romanesque Revival
• French Chateau
In a survey conducted for a Heritage Character Evaluation report published in 2012, residents were asked “Why did you choose to live in this neighbourhood?” The number one answer, with 44% of responses, was the “visually appealing older homes”. Location and affordability were the second and third answers. When asked “What is it that makes you stay in this area?” the top reason, with 26% of the responses, was location. The next two highest responses were “visually appealing older homes” and “safe” (safety).
East Galt is a charming, picturesque place to live. According to the folks who live there, it is a great location that they feel safe in, and they appreciate and want to protect the heritage of the area