In Cambridge Ontario you'll discover great Ontario antiques in a huge indoor antique mall. Animal lovers can't miss the butterfly conservatory or the nearby jungle safari...
Cambridge is a city of about 120,000 souls in Southern Ontario. Its Scottish heritage is apparent in its fine stone buildings. Easily accessible from Toronto or Niagara Falls, it makes a fine daytrip for anyone visiting or living in the region.
However, close to this peaceful historic community lies a place where wild animals roam ...
Attractions For Animal Lovers
African Lion Safari
Near Cambridge is a popular outdoor drive-through zoo. African Lion Safari houses more than 1000 animals including lions, tigers, monkeys, etc. (100 species in total). To learn more see my page: African Lion Safari Ontario.
Wings of Paradise Butterfly Conservatory
A popular attraction of Cambridge Ontario is the Wings of Paradise Butterfly Conservatory, where you'll find thousands of free-flying butterflies and a dozen species of tropical birds. This indoor tropical paradise is smaller than the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory but very charming. Since it's a bit off the beaten track, it's not as crowded with visitors, so I found it more peaceful too. A pleasant way to while away an hour, especially in the winter when the tropics are more appealing than ever! For more information: http://www.wingsofparadise.com.
For History Lovers
McDougall Cottage: A charming museum
Historic homes that have been turned into museums are often former mansions owned by the very rich – a small minority of the community. What makes the McDougall Cottage in Cambridge Ontario so special is that it's the kind of house that the more average middle-class citizen might have lived in … someone with a good job but not wealthy.
The 1858 limestone cottage rests on the banks of the Grand River. It was first occupied by the McDougalls, who came from the highlands of Scotland. Another Scottish family lived here in the early 1900s, the Bairds. It was the Bairds who added the exotic landscapes and trompe l’oeil ceilings in the dining room and study in 1901. This features makes this "ordinary house" an extraordinary one and is the reason why the building became a museum and local treasure.
The Fashion History Museum
This small, unique museum is located in the Hespeler village, one of the three former towns that make up Cambridge.The neighbourhood surrounding it is interesting as well, and in the process of re-development, with former factories and mills being transformed into offices and condos. The Speed River runs through this area, and offers a lovely spot to sit and enjoy the pleasant weather.
With its Scottish heritage, the
town is also famous for its annual Scottish festivals: Cambridge
Highland Games and the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music.
One of my favourite places to visit in Cambridge Ontario is the Southworks Antique Market. This mall covers over 30,000 square feet of space. I've been here three times and I've yet to see the whole thing!
You'll find every kind of antique imaginable here: furniture, toys, books, ephemera, advertising tins, china, silverware, sculpture, fine art, folk art, clothing, etc. It's a great place to find Ontario antiques as well as prize objects from other parts of the world.
The great thing about a mall like this is that you have such a wide variety of stuff in one central, roofed place…much easier than trekking from shop to shop all over town! On the other hand, the bad thing is that there are more than 125 dealers but you seldom see the actual dealers. Each dealer rents a booth or two and the mall is operated from one central checkout desk. If you see something that interests you, you can flag down one of the staff members but they won't necessarily be able to help you with information about the item.
The handsome stone building complex that houses the Southworks Antiques Mall began life as a foundry in 1847 and was later a factory. The complex also houses an outlet mall with stores selling shoes, jewelry, clothing, books and linens etc. There's a small café in the outlet mall section selling breakfasts and lunches. There's plenty of free parking on both sides of the mall.
By the way, if you're interested in antiques, check out my article on Antiques in Ontario: Antiques.
Right beside the antique market is the Southworks Outlet Mall.
Are you interested in other animal-themed attractions? Check out these: