The Canadian village of St. Jacobs, Ontario sits on 600 acres of land just north of the twin cities of Kitchener/Waterloo and has a population of only about 1,500, but over a million visitors roam its streets every year, with the largest attraction being the popular St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market.
With about 500 vendors to hold their interest, around 20,000 people visit the market on Thursdays and Saturdays during the summer. The market features food and craft vendors, an outdoor market square, and a peddler’s village building. It also hosts a stockyard, which visitors are welcome to attend.
Along with the market, there is a 30-store factory outlet mall and the village has about 100 interesting small shops that help keep this turn-of-the-century settlement vibrant.
The outlet mall is home to many popular brand-name stores and it has a food court as well as a candy store where candy making is done in full view of the customers.
The village is one of the most unique cultural, dining, and shopping areas in the region as it’s brimming with one-of-a-kind shops, arts and crafts, antiques, cafes, small restaurants, and tea houses. Local artisans, from blacksmiths to broom-makers, display their works and welcome visitors to watch them perform their trades.
The Meeting Place preserves the heritage that attracts many visitors to St. Jacobs. A series of multimedia displays gives visitors a glimpse into the Mennonite settlers’ history, culture, and faith. Off the mains street is the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre, the renovated 1867 schoolhouse is used for theatrical drama, music, and dance.
For visitors who’d like to stay active, the village offers several adventures such as hiking the Mill Race Footpath, canoeing, fishing, and horseback riding along the Conestogo River. There are several excellent places to dine and there is a number of specialty food shops scattered throughout the village.
A good way to explore St. Jacobs is to take a ride on a horse-drawn trolley as they run between the village and the market and provide tours of the streets and the local countryside.
St. Jacobs is a wonderful place for people of all ages to get a view of the Mennonite culture and way of life as well as doing some shopping at the market and in the village. It’s a very quaint place which is surrounded by the natural beauty of the local countryside.