A visit to Cambridge came to mind because of the new title just given by Queen Elizabeth II to William and Kate. They are now referred to as the
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They're scheduled to visit four Canadian provinces and one territory but Cambridge isn't on their itinerary. Therefore, I decided to fill in for them and look around.
Cambridge with a population 130,000, was created in 1973 with the amalgamation of the City of Galt, and towns of Preston and Hespeler and hamlet of Blair.
Being originally from Newfoundland, I knew that
the original Galt was a haven for transplanted Newfy's. (Yes, it's okay for those born in Newfoundland to call other Newfoundlanders Newfy's.) To re-forage for a taste of the island, I hunted out Stoyles Fish and Chips where they sell Newfoundland products. Dick Stoyles, who started the business 44 years ago, advised: "Byes we make the best fish and chips off the island." Three regulars originally from Bell island, Newfoundland heartily agreed. Laura Whitelaw and her two sisters visit the store often, to have the fish and chips and purchase Newfoundland products like Purity Hard Bread Biscuits. Memories of my mom's renowned Fish and Brews made from the hard tack biscuits and warm homemade bread smothered in butter flooded my mind. I still smell the glorious aromas.
Before I left, I made arrangements to visit the Cambridge Toyota Plant to take advantage of their free one-hour tours of the plant. Joanne (a Newfy) and information councilor at the Chamber of Commerce Gateway Centre, connected me to the plant Information Centre where I spoke with Jeanette (yet another Newfy). She explained that you must make arrangements through the information centre at least a week before you arrive. The free narrated tours operate only on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 9:30, 12:00 and 2:00 pm. This tour on a motorized tram carries you through the welding and assembly parts of the 3 million square foot (40 football fields) plant. I was amazed at the cleanliness and order inside the plant. Here are a few things I learned:
The first Toyota Corolla came off the line on November 30, 1988. It's displayed in the lobby and the inside still has that new car smell.
This plant produces all of the Toyota Matrix, Corollas, and Lexus Rx 350's built in North America.
There is a big emphasis on quality control and 10-15 cars are picked randomly off the line daily to undergo rigorous testing to make sure they meet Toyota standards.
Toyota vehicles are built as customers orders come in and then shipped out immediately to these customers (no large parking lots here with new cars taking up space).
It takes about 17-20 hours to build a Matrix or Corolla out of 2,000 parts provided by 500 suppliers. About 1,400 vehicles are manufactured daily.
The plant has about 4,500 well paid employees.
The company practices the Just In Time philosophy and no parts can stand on the line for more than 4 hours. This saves warehouse space and costs. The Toyota Motor Corporation was started in 1937 has 64 facilities world-wide. It's the largest manufacturer of automobiles by sales in the world. It is privately owned by the Toyoda (correct spelling) family.
This tour was the highlight of my trip.
If you arrive in Cambridge on a Saturday or Wednesday morning visit their
Farmer's Market beside the new City Hall. It's still in its original 1830's building and Best Health magazine rates it as one of the best 10 markets in the country. Cambridge has several historic bridges and churches. Check out the Main Street Bridge near the lovely old former
Galt Public Library (1903-1969) that crosses the
Okay Wills and Kate; now that I have checked out your new Canadian "kingdom" how about changing your itinerary to visit your lovely city?
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, The Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.