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The History of Blair


Blair, originally known as “ Shinglebridge ”, was one of the first communities to be settled inland of the Great Lakes. As with many tracts of land in the district, this one was originally inhabited by the Six Nations Indians. In 1800, settlers from the Mennonite communities of Pennsylvania moved here, built the first dam in the area, and shortly thereafter built the first sawmill. As a result of this settlement, Blair also has one of the oldest European cemeteries in the Region, est. 1804. Blair is renowned for its rare Carolinian forest and the Sheaves Tower - the most painted piece of scenery in Waterloo Region and home to one of the world’s smallest hydro generating projects. 


Historic Blair Sheave Tower, Cambridge Ontario 



Situated on Blair (Bowman) Creek, the 9.4 metre (31 ft) Sheave Tower was built by Allan Bowman in 1876 to harness water power, via a pulley and cable, for the 1846 Blair Carlisle grist mill. This gristmill stood 70 m (240 ft) across Old Mill Road. As Ontario's oldest hydroelectric generating site, Heritage Cambridge restored the tower in 1999 as a passive (non-functioning) display. This slide show presents various views of the restored tower and nature studies of Blair Creek and its wetland foliage, accompanied by composer Bill Douglas performing 'First Light', bookended with quotes about change by author Don Drews


Grand River & City Scenes

Bridge A mix of shots taken in the heart of Cambridge, Ontario. Located by the Grand River, the city has a wonderful mix of nature and architecture.  More

Speed River Millpond & Dam

Guy SmilingEarly summer views of Jacob's Landing, the Silknit dam, Hespeler millpond and Speed River, bookended with relevant water quotes. More

Riverside Park Winter's Tail

Happy Woman The largest park in Preston (Cambridge) at 102 hectares (256 acres), Riverside is situated beside an 1890 millpond on the Speed River. 


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