Discovering Neustadt, Ontario: A Blend of History and Rural Charm

Neustadt, Ontario is a quaint community nestled in the municipality of West Grey in Grey County, southern Ontario, Canada. Situated south of Hanover on Grey Road 10 and north of Guelph and Kitchener, Ontario, Neustadt is a rural village with deep German roots and a rich history intertwined with farming culture. In April 2000, Harrowsmith Magazine recognized Neustadt as one of Canada's ten prettiest villages, a testament to its historic 19th-century Victorian farmhouses that showcase Gothic Revival architecture.

The History of Neustadt, Ontario

Neustadt, which translates to "new town" in German, was founded in 1856 by David Winkler, a settler from Germany. Winkler purchased 400 acres from the government, laid out the town-site, dammed Meux Creek, and completed a sawmill. The following year, a flour mill and grist mill were erected near the dam. The village quickly attracted other German-speaking settlers, and Winkler became a prominent figure, opening the first post office in 1857 and later serving as a Justice of the Peace and Reeve of Normanby Township.

The village continued to grow, with John Weinert, a saddle maker from Prussia, establishing a tannery and a boot and shoe factory in 1859. The village also attracted Henry Huether, a German immigrant from Baden, Germany, who built a brewery that was later converted into a creamery. The brewery was reopened as Neustadt Springs Brewery in 1997, which currently brews ten brands of beer.

The village saw its peak of development in the early 1880s, with the opening of a modern school and several new churches, businesses, and industries. However, the closure of small businesses and industries led to a decline in the economy and population. Notably, John Diefenbaker, who would later become Prime Minister, was born here in 1895. In 2000, the Village of Neustadt agreed to form the Municipality of West Grey with the Townships of Bentinck, Glenelg, and Normanby.

Historic Sites in Neustadt, Ontario

Neustadt is home to an array of historical sites, including local fieldstone farmhouses, schools, and churches. The village is also known for its Neustadt Springs Brewery, a member of the Ontario Craft Brewers association. The brewery, first built in 1859 by Henry Huether, has won awards for their products almost every year since 1999 and is one of the three most popular tourist attractions in Grey county. Another notable attraction is the family home of the 13th Prime Minister of Canada, John Diefenbaker.

Demographics of Neustadt, Ontario

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Neustadt had a population of 546 living in 243 of its 265 total private dwellings, a change of 5.6% from its 2016 population of 517. With a land area of 2.88 km2 (1.11 sq mi), it had a population density of 189.6/km2 (491.0/sq mi) in 2021.

Community Services in Neustadt, Ontario

The municipality of West Grey Ontario and the village of Neustadt offer a wide variety of attractions and activities for tourists. The village provides many services to area residents, including a Library, roads maintenance, parks, and recreation. Visitors can explore garage sales and specialty shops selling antiques, fabrics, pottery, handmade items, primitives, and more. Popular spots include the Neustadt Springs Brewery, It’s my pleasure…Baking Sweet and Savory shop, Neustadt Lion’s Park, the historic buildings of the Neustadt Public Library, and the 150-year-old fieldstone St. Paul’s Normanby Church. The Village also hosts annual events such as the Fall fair in September, the Fall Craft Fair in November, and the Santa Claus Parade in December.