Hespeler is the smallest of three historic towns, also including Galt and Preston, that make up the larger city of Cambridge, Ontario, which currently has a population of about 140 000 people as of late 2022.
Cambridge was formed in 1973, and is itself part of three cities, the others being Kitchener and Waterloo, which make up the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, also known as Waterloo Region. Waterloo Region is the 10th largest urban municipality in all of Canada, and somewhere near the top when it comes to gainful employment.
The city of Cambridge was settled long ago on native land that was purchased from wealthy settlers, basing the settlements (Galt, Hespeler, Preston, Blair, Puslinch, and Brant) around the confluence of the Speed and Grand Rivers, which actually connect in Preston, at a place called Linear Park.
Hespeler is a 90 000 square foot tract of land that was established in 1798 by Mennonites who bought it from Six Nation Indians, whereby a town built along the Speed River, which was financed by local businessmen, financiers, and settlers, with the result being the quiet, scenic little town you see today.
With a historic downtown area that still possesses some old stone remnants of its previous incarnations when Hespeler was known as both New Hope and Bergeytown, there are definitely new developments cropping up in Hespeler, as some of the outskirts of the town have yet to be fully developed.
At the same time, Hespeler has an area which is close to the highway and near its local high school, Jacob Hespeler High School (named after the man who helped industrialize the town), which features a lot of commercial establishments, which dot the route that follows Holiday Inn drive on past Franklin Boulevard, to Jamieson Parkway, all the way to Townline Road.
This, you might say, is the commercial district of Hespeler, while across the highway, are even more shops and big box stores.
This area lining the 401 highway is where most of the stores are that most people would recognize and generally patronize, in contrast with the more home grown locally owned and operated establishments located in “Hespeler Village”, which is what the downtown core is called.
If you want that down home charm, Hespeler Village has no shortage of that. It is always buzzing with action and it’s where you’d want to go to sit and socialize at a cafe, or grab some ice cream and take a walk by the river on a sunny summer day.
Is Hespeler a Good Place to Live?
Hespeler has that small town quality that some people love, with a population of roughly 9300 people keeping things rather quiet, but it’s not exactly what you’d call small town living, nor is it big city living. It’s basically a mix of the two.
If you know Ontario at all, you know that there are some very small towns that really have not a whole lot going on in terms of expansion, or commerce. Many smaller Ontario towns are farming communities, and not exactly structured to be expanding beacons of urban sprawl.
Hespeler, while being the smallest part of Cambridge and, by most standards, a rather quaint historic little town where film crews often like to shoot television programs from time to time, still has some active modern commerce happening, and is actually relatively busy most days.
That said, it is far from what you’d call a farming town, but it is, however, surrounded by farmland if you venture out past its borders. Just minutes from Hespeler’s downtown are many farms, which you can drive past or visit, dependingly, on a nice day.
So, what we’re saying is that Hespeler is neither a quiet farming community, or a full blown futuristic metropolis, but it has a little bit of both of those things going on. This raises the question: who lives in Hespeler, and what type of people typically move there?
It would be fair to say that those who move to Hespeler are perhaps not fans of big city life, or just want a town that has a history and is more contained overall.
Even though Hespeler has a very active community, if you’re craving more action than Hespeler itself can offer you, don’t forget that it sits between many other larger towns, so it has the appeal of the relatively quiet town that some of the people in the bigger towns like to visit, or would rather live in, than the big towns themselves.
It’s just not as much of a concrete jungle as some of the other nearby cities like Toronto, and also, Hespeler is sort of tucked away off the highway.
Another reason people love Hespeler is because it’s a commuter’s paradise. A lot of people who live in Hespeler will commute, whether it be to Toronto, Galt, Guelph, or Kitchener-Waterloo. If you’re investing in property in Hespeler, it does that advantage of being extremely central to several other large locations, and it’s a little more off the beaten path, which might be an advantage as it hasn’t been completely overrun by people moving to the area.
At certain times of day, Hespeler streets are filled with mostly commuters, as the major roadways were built for that express purpose; which is to take people to the 401, or take people to Guelph, or to head west to London, or to zip up to Kitchener or Waterloo.
So, is it a good place to live? We’d say that generally, those that like the atmosphere of Hespeler, generally stay there for a long time. It has enough small scenic adventures you can go on, whether it be cycling, walks by the river, fishing, kayaking, shopping, or taking day trips. While it doesn’t have everything one might desire if you’re used to the big city, to some, it’s a beautiful place to call home.
What Else To Consider?
Here are a few more things to consider if you’re thinking of moving to Hespeler, in point form:
- There isn’t a lot of sudden population growth in Hespeler, although the population of the town has been growing slowly and steadily over the years, heading towards 10 000
- The town has always been economically stable
- There is a butterfly sanctuary just 5 minutes out of town, which is a cool tourist destination that people like to visit
- Every year, Hespeler has a downtown street festival in the summer (Hespeler Village Music Festival), and sometimes in the winter, too
- In terms of transportation, Cambridge Transit runs through Hespeler, and so those wishing to go between Galt, Preston, and Hespler, can do so easily
- As mentioned, Hespeler is very scenic, with river trails one can walk or ride a bike on, that connects to Preston if you follow it in that direction (it takes about 30 minutes to bike along the trail to Preston)
- Many retirees enjoy the pace of Hespeler, and there are accommodations for the elderly at places like Saint Luke’s
- There are several doctor’s offices and dental clinics in Hespeler
Thanks for reading, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about Hespeler!