Spring means that it’s “Time-for-a-Beer-on-the-Patio-Season.” And surely, as the sun gets warmer over the next several weeks, it’s getting to be a very good time to think about finding cold beer in Waterloo Region.
Hespeler Village, part of the City of Cambridge, is often bypassed, but stop awhile and you might be surprised. It is the only place in the world named Hespeler. One of the oldest settlements in Waterloo Region, the land was deeded to the First Nations by the British Crown in 1784. In 1831, Pennsylvanian Mennonites settled the community, first called Bergeytown, then New Hope. In 1833, Jacob Hespeler, originally from Germany, built a Grist Mill and several other businesses, which, with the arrival of the railway, started this small village on the road to prosperity. The village was renamed Hespeler in his honour.
In the early 20th century, it became a centre for the textile industry in Canada, producing uniforms for the Women’s forces during WWII. Renowned as a hockey town, several local players became NHL stars. The town was also known for the manufacturing of wood products including hockey sticks used by several NHL players. Wayne Gretzky now owns the Hespeler brand name because he always used a Hespeler stick.
After a period of decline in the 1980’s and ‘90’s, Hespeler Village has recently undergone a major renovation with a quaint main street and specialty shops, and is poised to become a destination of note once again.