Cambridge is a great location in the Kitchener-Waterloo region without being located in the direct hustle-and-bustle of the twin cities.
If you’re looking for an escape from the prices of the Toronto market, or if you’re already in Cambridge and already regularly make the Toronto commute, or are about to start, this is the article for you!
Here are the best areas in Cambridge for commuting to Toronto:
From Cambridge’s Preston core, a driving commute into downtown Toronto is best accessed down McDonald-Cartier Freeway, numerically designated as Highway 401.
A trip straight to or from Toronto’s downtown core works best via the 401 highway directly, the 401 and Queen Elizabeth Way, or a slightly longer route on King’s Highway, numerically designated as Highway 403. During peak hours and depending on the route, travel time can average between one and a half to two or more hours.
Alternatives to the drive are limited as Cambridge is Ontario’s only city with a population exceeding 100,000 people to not have its own passenger rail service.
The closest stations for VIA Rail or the GO Transit system are located in nearby Kitchener and can provide a commute to Toronto through varying combinations of coach buses and commuter-rail trains, although that will extend one-way travel time upwards of three hours or more.
The closest residential access in Cambridge to the Highway 401 Junction is the Preston area. For medical needs, Preston is home to no less than five pharmacies, one of which also has a connected medical clinic.
Eight schools are located in the area, ranging from public to private and elementary to secondary to meet any level of educational need.
Preston also boasts plenty of welcoming green spaces, featuring eleven parks and four playgrounds. In that vein, it is also home to the Dumfries Conservation Area, which is a preserved zone of forests, wetlands, and walking trails that spans 75 hectares.
It is open to the public for year-round outdoor activities, from camping, fishing, swimming, or boating in the warmer months to winter activities such as ice fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Preston is also home to the Bob McMullen Linear Trail, a popular hiking destination. The stonedust trail spans just over three kilometers and offers a flat, easy trail with no inclines and is accessible to visitors of all ages and fitness levels.
138 THICKSON RD N, Whitby, L1N3R2
138 Thickson Road, Whitby, Ontario L1N3R2More
51 OAKDALE Court, Kitchener, N2P2S9
51 OAKDALE Court, Kitchener, Ontario N2P2S9More
580 BEAVER CREEK Road Unit# 266, Waterloo, N2J3Z4
580 BEAVER CREEK Road, Waterloo, Ontario N2J3Z4More
6 KRON DR, Guelph, N1G3E2
6 Kron Drive, Guelph, Ontario N1G3E2More
150 WATER Street N Unit# 1010, Cambridge, N1R0B5
150 WATER Street, Cambridge, Ontario N1R0B5More
125 MILL Street E, Elora, N0B1S0
125 MILL Street, Elora, Ontario N0B1S0More
6 KRON Drive, Guelph, N1G3E2
Guelph, Ontario N1G3E2More
10 BIRMINGHAM Drive Unit# 9, Cambridge, N1R8J8
10 BIRMINGHAM Drive, Cambridge, Ontario N1R8J8More
While Preston is the closest access to the Highway 401 Junction, the area of Galt is a slight distance from highway access.
From Galt’s center point it is an approximate 16-minute drive northbound on either Hespeler Road or Franklin Boulevard to hit the highway and begin the commute to Toronto.
Galt covers the most area as the largest section of Cambridge, encompassing the southern portion that makes up about half the city.
The area features eight schools, half of which are Ontario Public and half of which fall under the Christian or Catholic banner. While it doesn’t boast the number of pharmacies of Preston, it does have two dental care offices located on Main Street within just blocks of each other.
It also isn’t completely void of pharmaceuticals, as two of such are located near the Highland Shopping Centre. The area should appeal to those with DIY aspirations or a green thumb for lawn and yard care since Galt is home to Peavey Mart, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, and Vincent’s Lawn & Garden Equipment.
For those who are more interested in hitting the greens than having green thumbs, Savannah Golf Links is located on Galt’s south side. Savannah is a public course and touts itself as a haven for golf lovers.
For folks interested in other green space activities, they can check out the 27 hectares of Churchill Park, or Soper Park which crosses both sides of Dundas Street and has an underground pedestrian tunnel running under the street that provides access to either side.
Indoor athletics can be found at the John Dolson Centre on South Street which houses an indoor community pool. In the winter months, Galt Arena Gardens provides an ice rink.
Having opened in 1922, the facility is one of the world’s oldest functioning ice hockey arenas and is home to its share of history over the years. Famously, hockey star Gordie Howe once suited up for the Galt Red Wings team in 1944 and played in the building.
Although it is currently the oldest operating arena in Ontario, Galt Arena Gardens were most recently renovated in 1997 to keep the historical building up to standards for community use.
If those folks heading to the highway from Galt continue slightly further north on Hespeler Road, they would find the areas of Hespeler and Hespeler Village. This is our only highlighted area in Cambridge located on the north side of Highway 401 and is considered the northeastern section of the city.
For the studious, Hespeler is home to four public schools, one catholic elementary school, and one Montessori located just east of Hespeler across Townline Road. Hespeler is also home to the Forbes Park Medical Centre.
Not to be outdone by the greenery in other areas of Cambridge, Hespeler takes pride in enjoying the outdoors as well. A great spot is the civic flowerbed at Bergey Hill, which is maintained by the Hespeler Horticultural Society that has been in operation since the year 1900.
The area also contains no less than eighteen designated playgrounds and over a dozen public parks, including the unique Hespeler Woodlot area. For those looking for a little workout, the Jamieson Parkway Wetpond is a two-and-a-half-kilometer hiking area near the southeast corner of the Hespeler section.
After all that exercise, residents can relax at a dining and drinks strip located at the intersection of Guelph Ave and Queen Street, right next to Mill Pond. It includes a pizzeria, grindhouse, bar, sandwich shop, Asian-inspired comfort food restaurant, and a roadhouse with a patio.
Just over a block away is the Fashion History Museum, a unique destination housed in the original Hespeler Post Office. The post office was opened in 1929 but eventually decommissioned, and the Fashion Museum has been located in the historic building since 2015.
The space holds over ten thousand unique fashion artifacts in a three thousand square foot facility.
Cambridge was officially incorporated to form a single city back in 1973, as an amalgamation of the surrounding village communities of Preston, Galt, and Hespeler.
Today those communities maintain individual identities and each offers its share of amenities and infrastructure that caters to different walks of life, but all are in proximity of the 401 when it’s time to make that regular commute to and from the big city.
Have questions about the area? Contact us!