Manjul Pande Parvez
We have had a long stay here in Canada and have therefore managed to see not only Toronto but other cities as well. So, sometime back we decided to explore the satellite towns in and around Toronto as well. We had taken this resolve quite seriously since Ontario has so many adorable places with unique architecture, beautiful trails and parks incredible restaurants, coffee shops, and stores with local goods. Galt is one of those charming spots, located in Cambridge
One condition for venturing out of town was that we must be all set to move out in the forenoon only - in fact, the earlier the better! When my daughter insisted that we must leave the house by 10 am on a snowy wintry morning on a weekend if we wanted to see anything, we felt as if it was a great injustice to us oldies who liked to laze around late in the mornings in our cozy beds. But we did realise how right she was because whenever even occasionally we ventured out of town later in the day, we had a tough time even getting a cup of coffee since the cafés and restaurants close shop early evening, say by 3.30/4 pm, on the weekends in smaller towns. So, a trip to Galt in Cambridge got us ready to leave at 10 am.
We wanted especially to visit Galt because it was an old town established in 1816 and named after the famous Scottish Canadian novelist John Galt (not the character in Atlas Shrugged) and was the centre of Scottish settlement in Canada. It is a beautiful quaint little area of Cambridge with many historical buildings, churches, and a few shops to look around.
To reach Galt in Cambridge we covered a distance of about 150 kilometres. The drive was of course through the city but once out of the main area, it was rustic and beautiful. The roads were narrow and scenic and on reaching Galt at one end of the town, we parked next to the Grand River and the view was great. From there we decided to walk downtown taking in the sights and the people. The Galt walkway is next to the river and the sidewalks are good. Downtown Galt looked very European in its buildings, streets, and stores and very picturesque! And people there seemed to be very God-fearing and religious since within a radius of half a kilometre there were several (I counted seven) old churches almost a stone’s throw from one another!
We walked up to the old bridge on Main Street located on the Grand River and saw beautiful views of the gorgeous European architecture. It gives you a great focal point for grand views of historic churches and shops along the river’s edge. From there we walked on to a nearby park. With a gorgeous view of the Grand River, this park though small really gives a fantastic view of the town of Galt. The remnants of an old mill have been reconstructed with steps, and benches that become a stage in the summer months. There are picnic tables with umbrellas that are perfect in the warmer weather.
Now it was way past noon and we could hear the rumblings in one another’s tummies so we walked down to the Main Street in search of a good restaurant. We zeroed in on a Vietnamese place “Red Basil” which had very good ratings. It turned out to be a snug and easy-going eatery with simple decor. The staff was very friendly and helpful and the overall ambiance and food were good. They even had vegetarian options and they were forthright about some vegetarian dishes which were fried in the same oil in which fish and meat were fried. They offered me a purely vegetarian dish which was very good.
After lunch, we walked around town and were so taken up with the architecture! We loved the bridges, mills, churches, and fountains. The river was absolutely beautiful and the bridge over it was a lovely place to walk. It had a lot of cute restaurants and coffee places. Galt also houses many homeless people and shelters, de-addictions centres, and safe injection sites. A beautiful place to visit but one has to be mindful of marginal characters and drug addicts in the late hours. So, keeping that in mind we walked back to our car and headed back home with the views and images of the town long lingering in our minds. Galt had left a lot of impressions!