Galt was a thriving city when in 1973, along with the towns of Hespeler and Preston, it amalgamated with the city of Cambridge. The founder of Galt, William Dickson was one of three brothers brought from Dumfries in Scotland to Niagara by Robert Hamilton, their cousin.
Together with Absalom Shade, they had built a gristmill by 1819 and named the new community Dumfries Mill. Later on the village would become known as Shades Mills and eventually Galt, named in honour of John Galt, founder of Guelph and Goderich and instrumental in the formation of the Canada Company.
This company was set up as a means of implementing settlement into the area. Galt devised a plan where he would raise capital, and buy all available land in Upper Canada from the Crown. Then the company would settle people on the land, and use the money they got from the settlers to pay off the claimants. Any profits would go back to the company. The company eventually was to buy more than two million acres of land including the Huron Tract, an area of land between the present Kitchener and Lake Huron, and containing Goderich and Stratford.