Settlement of Waterloo South (Pre 1900)

While Waterloo North was largely shaped by an ethnically German population, Waterloo South, comprised of the small towns of Hespeler, Preston, and Ayr, as well as the larger town of Galt (present day Cambridge), present a different story. The small towns of Hespeler and Preston share a similar story to that of Waterloo North, comprised primarily of German Lutherans. Galt and Ayr are unique, as they reflect Anglo-Celtic ethnic and religious dominance.

In 1816, the Honourable William Dickson, a Scottish politician from Dumfries, Scotland, sealed the fate of the district. Dickson established the settlement of Shade’s Mills, and portioned out his 90,000 acres of land primarily to lowland Scots. Soon after, Dickson renamed the settlement Galt, named after Scottish novelist John Galt. Dickson advertised immigration to Galt, Ontario in Scottish newspapers and primarily attracted Scots from the lowlands of Roxboroughshire and Selkirkshire. Dickson’s efforts solidified British dominance in Waterloo South by 1911.


(City of Cambridge. “The Evolution of Galt.” Accessed April 15, 2014.)