St. Jacobs, Ontario

St. Jacobs
Saint Jacobs
Unincorporated community

St. Jacobs farmers' market.
St. Jacobs

Location of St. Jacobs within Ontario

Coordinates: 43°32′5″N 80°33′14″W / 43.53472°N 80.55389°W / 43.53472; -80.55389
Country Canada
Province Ontario
Regional municipality Waterloo
Township Woolwich
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Forward sortation area N0B 2N0
Area code(s) 519 and 226
NTS Map 040P10

The community of St. Jacobs is located in southwest Ontario, just north of Waterloo in Woolwich Township, Waterloo Region. It is a popular location for tourism,[1] due to its Mennonite heritage and retail focus. The Conestogo River, which powered the village's original gristmill, runs through the village. St. Jacobs has a growing population of 1,891 people.

Downtown St. Jacobs
Village of St. Jacobs


St. Jacobs was settled in 1820 and officially named in 1852. St. Jacobs was first known as "Jakobstettel" which means "Jacob's Village" or "James's Village".[2] The St. was added to the name simply to make it sound more pleasing and the pluralization was in honour of the combined efforts of Jacob C. Snider (1791–1865) and his son, Jacob C. Snider, Jr. (1822–1857), founders of the village. The younger Jacob lost his life in the Desjardins Canal train disaster at age 35.

St. Jacobs' development as a thriving business community throughout the 1800s with such businesses as a felt factory, tannery, glue factory, flour mill, saw mill, and furniture factory. The village served the needs of surrounding pioneer farm settlements. Situated on Arthur Road, St. Jacobs boasted four hotels by 1852. One being Benjamin's whose building still stands today as a home for new refuges. Benjamin's was first named the Farmers Inn and was for many years, also known as the Dominion Hotel.

Tourism and business

The village is a commercial centre where over 100 retailers, attractions, and restaurants cater to the interests of visitors in Woolwich.[3]

St. Jacobs features dozens of artisans in historic buildings, such as the Country Mill, Village Silos, Mill Shed, and the Old Factory. Visitors may watch artisans make pottery, quilts, designer clothes, jewellery, glass vases, woven wall hangings tiffany lamps, stained glass doors, miniature doll houses and more. There are also two blacksmith shops to visit. The two-kilometre millrace lures nature lovers to stroll along the Conestogo River, under tall trees, along a narrow path. The Visitor Centre is a Mennonite interpretation centre located downtown St. Jacobs, providing information and education on the Mennonite people in the community.

Home Hardware building

St. Jacobs is also the headquarters of Home Hardware. This national chain of over 1000 independent hardware retail stores located across Canada was founded in the village in 1963.

St. Jacobs is home to the Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society's (SOLRS) Restoration Shop. SOLRS operates the seasonal Waterloo Central Railway serving Waterloo, the St. Jacobs Farmer's Market and the village.

Three kilometres south of the town centre is the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market, another popular tourist draw.

St. Jacobs Farmer's Market

Fresh farm products are sold from across the area, plus many vendors have discount clothing, toys, candy, and other wares. A factory outlet mall is located adjacent to the market site. The market, town and surrounding countryside are marketed as St Jacobs Country. Hundreds of food and craft vendors bring Ontario's farm-fresh produce, meat, cheese, baking and more.

St. Jacobs Farmer's Market

The main market building was a two-floor post-and-beam structure with foods on the first level and home decor and crafts. The main building of the market burnt down on September 2, 2013. The market is still operational and is open during regular business hours. The main building will be rebuilt in the near future. A large tent is planned to be erected to house vendors affected by the fire.[4]

A temporary structure was erected on the site beginning in mid-October 2013.[15] Metal legs were placed along the perimeter of the concrete foundation, an engineered steel roof frame was installed by crane, and a weatherproof textile cover stretched over it.[11][5][15] The 15,600 square feet (1,450 m2) dome-shaped structure was built on the same foundation as the original structure and opened on 12 December 2013.[16][17] Of the 60 vendors from the original building, 49 returned to the temporary structure; displaced food vendors moved into the Pedlar's Village.[11][17]

Construction of a permanent 34,000 square feet (3,200 m2) structure to replace the destroyed building was completed in 2015.[4] The new building houses a peak of 400 vendors during high season.[4]

The outdoor market changes with the seasons and, when in full swing, is a mix of local growers, Old Order Mennonite farmers, quality flea market wares, edibles, bedding plants, buskers, and a petting farm.

Trails and recreation

Millrace Trail, St. Jacobs, ON

The Millrace Footpath, a recreational trail that forms part of the Trans Canada Trail, runs along the Conestogo River from the Village of St. Jacobs to dam further up the river. The trail offers many scenic views of the river and of the millrace constructed in the 1860s that used to power the village's gristmill. The trail has a length of 2.5 km and can be used year-round. The village also has an arena and community centre, as well as a newly renovated library built in 1934, thanks to a private donation from Miss Lola Snider. There are also numerous parks and green spaces.

Famous natives


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Coordinates: 43°32′05″N 80°33′14″W / 43.53472°N 80.55389°W / 43.53472; -80.55389

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