New Hamburg – A Heritage Community
New Hamburg is a town that celebrates its heritage – and a community where visitors can rediscover the rural roots of Ontario.
The town, founded around 1834, grew up on the banks of the Nith River, which winds its way through the community, and New Hamburg continues to enjoy riverfront parklands at every twist and turn of the Nith.
In the heart of the downtown – a Heritage Conservation District with many interesting, original buildings – the Heritage Water Wheel turns on the far bank of the river. This is the largest operating water wheel in North America; it is a symbol of the importance of the Nith River, and of the water-powered mills which were the first industries in pioneer New Hamburg. One mill continues as a viable business in the Heritage Conservation District.
The Heritage Water Wheel is the centrepiece of a three-park riverfront system where visitors stroll, picnic, watch and feed white and black swans, and enjoy the oversize mural that adorns the wall of the fire hall, directly opposite the water wheel.
The riverfront is home to New Hamburg’s giant Canada Day celebration; visitors are welcome to participate in the festivities that run all day and into the evening, including games, sports, entertainment, concerts, demonstrations, our popular Rubber Duck Race, a Cruise Night featuring classic cars, a beer tent, lots of food and, finally, a giant fireworks display. Admission to the afternoon activities is free.
New Hamburg loves community festivals. The town hosts about 40,000 visitors the last Saturday of May, for the Mennonite Relief Sale, a day-long celebration including a giant Quilt Auction, traditional foods, craft sales and many other activities. Relief Sale visitors leave satisfied with their purchases and perhaps even happier, because their involvement means hundreds of thousands of dollars which go to the relief and development work of the Mennonite Central Committee.
In mid-August, the Heritage core is alive with entertainment, food booths, classic cars and bargains as Sidewalk Sale Days bring a carnival atmosphere to the community, and the retailers of New Hamburg take it to the streets.
Thousands more come to town for the annual Santa Claus Parade, which winds through the downtown area on the first weekend of December. This is a truly homegrown parade, with dozens of floats and other features produced by local businesses and organizations. Many people come from the larger cities around to enjoy the genuine small-town feeling of the New Hamburg Santa Claus Parade.
But visitors need not wait until there is a special event. New Hamburg has become known for hospitality and customer service. The town welcomes guests – a tourist information centre is open at 121 Huron Street in the downtown area, eateries ranging from country pubs and family dining to fine French cuisine are popular sports, and there is a thriving bed and breakfast industry.
Shopping options include giftware (there are a number of excellent gift shops), clothing stores, and the range of fine stores and services that you would expect in a town of 7,000 people.
Visitors – especially those from larger, urban centres – are always pleasantly surprised to discover that there is plenty of free parking throughout New Hamburg.
New Hamburg is only minutes from the Stratford-Shakespearean Festival, Kitchener-Waterloo (home of Oktoberfest and Farmers’ Markets), St. Jacobs, and Castle Kilbride, the grand Victorian Home, now named a National Historic Site, in Baden.
You’ll enjoy New Hamburg, where we celebrate our heritage, and where we eagerly invite our guests to join in the celebration.
For more information, contact the New Hamburg Board of Trade, 121 Huron Street, New Hamburg, Ontario, N3A 1K1 or visit our Tourist Information Centre, 121 Huron Street, New Hamburg (between the library and the fire hall).