New Hamburg, Ontario

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New Hamburg
Unincorporated community
Peel Street in New Hamburg
Peel Street in New Hamburg
Coordinates: 43°22′44″N 80°42′39″W / 43.37889°N 80.71083°W / 43.37889; -80.71083
Regional municipalityWaterloo
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)519 and 226
NTS Map040P07

New Hamburg is a community of approximately 7,930 (2011 stats) in Wilmot Township. Founded in 1854 it is a rural township of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Ontario. It is bordered by Baden to the east and Perth County to the west, and close to the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Stratford.

The Nith River winds through town and flows through the downtown core, which is home to a 50-foot waterwheel built in 1990.[1]

The weekly newspaper serving the community is the New Hamburg Independent. The downtown has been designated a Heritage Conservation District.[2]


Located on the Nith River just over 20 kilometers from Berlin (now Kitchener) this settlement was in an area with rich soil. The settlement was laid out in 1832 and was settled primarily by Germans, both Mennonites and others, direct from Germany.[3][4] A historical plaque honours Josiah Cushman, an Amish Mennonite from Germany. Likely to have been the first settler, Cushman arrived in the early 1830s. He dammed Smith's Creek and built a sawmill that helped attract others.[5] The first name of the community was Cassel and then Hamburgh;[6] by 1840, the name was changed to New Hamburg.[2]

William Scott, (known as Lord Campfield in Scotland), arrived in 1838, after Cushman's death. He renamed Smith's Creek the Nith River, built a new dam and constructed a new lumber sawmill. The mill continued to plane lumber until 1902 when it burned down; the replacement building was a feed mill, later known as B-W Feed and Seed. That entity still exists, now as a sales outlet for feed.[7] Now considered to be the founder of New Hamburg, William Scott's career included work as a Justice of the Peace, Community School Commissioner, New Hamburg’s first Postmaster, Wilmot Town Councillor, Reeve and the Lt. Colonel of the 5th Battalion of the Waterloo Infantry.[8]

The New Hamburg post office was established by William Scott in 1851. At that time, the population was 500 and there was a pottery, a carriage works and a foundry. The Grand Trunk Railroad reached the area in 1856 and helped the village to establish milling and farm machinery manufacturing. By 1858, the population was 1,000; the settlement included many mills and factories, several general stores, and eight taverns.[6]

New Hamburg was incorporated as a Village in 1857, with a population of about 1100 and then as a Town in 1966.[3] The river was an excellent source of power for two wool factories and two flour mills in 1864. There was also a foundry that manufactured agricultural implements. Several large companies made carriages, buggies and wagons. By that time there were three churches and a school with 100 students.[4] In 1869 the population was 1,400.[9]

Neighbouring communities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Notable Landmarks[edit]

  • New Hamburg is home to the largest working wooden waterwheel in North America.
  • New Hamburg hosts the largest Mopar Festival in Canada (in July or August).

Notable businesses[edit]


  1. ^ Miller Cressman, Scott (October 7, 2015). "New Hamburg's iconic waterwheel celebrates 25 years". New Hamburg Independent. Metroland Media Group Ltd. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "History of Wilmot Township". Township of Wilmot. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "The Founding of New Hamburg". Alan L. Brown. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  4. ^ a b County of Waterloo Gazetteer and General Business Directory, For 1864 (PDF). Mitchell & Co. 1864. p. 163.
  5. ^ "Flash from the Past: Wilmot Township mills in the spotlight". Waterloo Region Record. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b "History of Wilmot Township". Waterloo Region Museum. March 1997. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  7. ^ "Flash from the Past: Wilmot Township mills in the spotlight". Waterloo Region Record. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Local "history addict" sleuths story of town's founder". New Hamburg Independent. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ McEvoy, Henry. The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory. p. 333. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  10. ^ "Howie Meeker proud of Order of Canada honour". The Record. Dec 30, 2010. Retrieved Sep 21, 2013.

Coordinates: 43°22′44″N 80°42′39″W / 43.37889°N 80.71083°W / 43.37889; -80.71083