10 Fun Things To Do In St Jacobs | Historical Tours, Markets & Hidden Gems

things to do in st jacobs

While it is quite small, there is lots to see in St Jacobs Village, Ontario. This quaint village is in the township of Woolwich, just outside the city of Waterloo.

You might know other places in the Waterloo region like Cambridge and Kitchener, but those hardly compare to St. Jacobs’ small-town charm. The village is a mix of past and modern-day life and has many stories to tell.

If you’re wondering what to do in St. Jacobs, or things to do in St Jacobs then keep reading to discover the best gems in the village.

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St. Jacobs Tourism Highlights

St Jacobs is a village steeped in rich history. While you’re there, jump back in time and learn everything there is to know about it. Pop over to St. Jacobs Country Tourism Center and pick up a brochure to help you plan your route for your St. Jacobs things-to-do and see list.

Bag a Bargain

At St. Jacobs’ many markets, it’s out with the old and in with the new (to you). You cannot miss the farmers, flea, and antique markets in this Waterloo village.

St Jacobs Farmers’ and Flea Market is Canada’s biggest year-round farmers’ & flea market. Here, you’ll find some good treats, crafts, and fun little knick-knacks every Thursday and Saturday.

Stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables from the local Mennonite farmers or sample some meats, cheeses and maple syrup. You can also pick up some fresh ready-to-eat meals like falafels, sushi to keep up your energy levels. At the flea market, pick up some vintage clothing items and accessories.

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Antiques. With over 100 trade booths, you’re bound to find something suited to your taste. Hunt for great finds like estate jewellery, vintage furniture, records, or collectables.

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Go Down Memory Train On Board The Waterloo Central Railway

Waterloo Central Railway has been running since the 1800s. While we don’t need locomotives today as much as in the 19th century, this historic railway still makes for a fun ride. The railway offers rides through St. Jacobs attractions, including the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market.

Board the train at the stop by St. Jacob’s Market and take a round trip to Elmira and back.

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Aberfoyle Model Railway

Another railway you should check out is Aberfoyle Model Railway in St. Jacobs’ downtown area, although you might not be able to fit in the carriage. This model railway depicts Southern Ontario in the late 1950s and is made to the O scale (¼”= 12″).

See a detailed aerial look with realistic freight trams as it rides through the miniature countryside, the Niagara Escarpment, and more.

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Watch a Show At The St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre

St. Jacobs loves the arts and has not one but two theatres. The St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre offers a lively cabaret-style approach to classical theatre. It is quaint and has a table seating only 100 guests, so arrive early.

The St. Jacobs Country Playhouse is much bigger and displays traditional Mennonite architecture. The red and green theatre is in the heart of the Market District and has a peaceful courtyard. It gives you the option of pre-ordering your drinks to skip the line and head straight to the live show.

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Grab a bite at Jacob’s Grill

With all the things to do in St. Jacobs you’ll definitely need food. Grab a bite at Jacob’s Grill dining room for a tasty meal paired with their carefully selected wines and local craft beers. For something sweeter, sip on their seasonal cocktails in their Big Tent. Their menu has filling meals like burgers and pizzas with a few gluten-free options.

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or Stone Crock Bakery

Stone Crock Bakery produces family-recipe-approved baked goods. Buy freshly baked bread or sink your teeth into a delicious ‘monster’ cookie. There’s also a Stone Crock restaurant if you need something more filling.

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Down a Brew at Block Three Brewing

Block Three Brewing Co. is a local brewery in the area established in 2013. They focus on small-batch artisanal beers that exhibit their craftsmanship.

Visit their tasting rooms to taste and see how they create their beers. They dabble in all kinds of brews and also sell coffee from the ECO Cafe. Enjoy your drinks on one of their two outdoor patios.

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After your tastings, purchase your favourite brews at their bottle shop to enjoy at home. 

If you’re in the area around October, take a short drive to attend the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. It’s one of the biggest Oktoberfests in North- America.

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The Mennonite Story

Learn about the local Mennonite community of St. Jacobs at  The Mennonite Story Museum. It hopes to share the religious group’s history, faith and culture with the world.  

Since opening its doors in 1979, guests have had the opportunity to take guided tours of the countryside and meet the Mennonite people. The museum also has virtual displays, short videos and film presentations of the community’s history and culture. 

The museum and tours are open from 13:00 to 17:00 every Monday to Saturday. It is open on Sundays as well from 14:00 to 17:00.

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Things to Do in St Jacobs

Get Swept Away at Hamel Brooms

Hamel Brooms is a must-see in St. Jacobs. This broom shop is the last corn-broom manufacturer left in Canada.

A trip to a broom manufacturer might not be the first on many people’s lists, but it is an exciting look into what goes into the daily craft we often take for granted.

They’re not all about brooms and bristles. Pick up a few garden or home decor pieces while you’re there. You can find real cast irons, stained glass, and gifts there to spruce up your home.

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Take a Hike along Health Valley Trail

Health Valley Trail runs along the Conestogo River and runs from St. Jacobs to Waterloo. It’s 2.4 kilometres long and suitable for all hikers.

Feel the burn in your legs and the crunch under your feet as you walk through the mixed terrain trail. It is well-maintained and great for hiking, running, and cycling. You can even go cross-country skiing and snowmobiling here for fun winter activities in Ontario

Walk a bit further to Waterloo Region to find the secret Wise Old Oak. The fantastically carved tree looks like a forest elder from a fantasy movie.

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Things To Do In St Jacobs, Ontario

While St. Jacobs may have started as a small town, today, it has an extensive list of activities steeped in the village’s history. 

Take a trip back in time at the railway station and miniature museum. See the local religious community at the Mennonite museum or take a hike to the Old Oak Tree.

Whether you visit the present or the past, St. Jacobs will welcome you with open arms and an excellent theatrical show.

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Places Near St. Jacobs, Ontario

Take a Drive to The Kissing Bridge

For those willing to head slightly out of the city, a trip to West Montrose Covered Bridge (Kissing Bridge) is one of the best things to do in Waterloo’s region. Located in Woolwich, Ontario’s last remaining covered bridge spans 198 feet across the Grand River. 

West Montrose Covered Bridge was built in 1881; the picturesque bridge has seen many travellers over more than 100 years. It received its nickname Kissing Bridge because the early horse and buggy drivers would often sneak in a kiss when riding through the covered bridge.

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Visit Elmira

It’s only a short 10-minute drive to Elmira, the largest municipality within the Woolwich Township of Waterloo Region, right on its northern border with Wellington County. You’ll find the country’s largest concentration of Old Order Mennonites at St Jacob’s and Elmira.

Elmira is home to the acclaimed Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, renowned as the planet’s premier event celebrating maple syrup. Since its launch in 1965, tens of thousands of visitors have attended this beloved family-friendly occasion, featuring exciting attractions such as sugar bush tours, a bustling outdoor mall offering an array of local food and crafts, a craft show, the Mayor’s Maple Syrup Contest, and of course, pancakes topped with genuine maple syrup.

The Guinness Book of World Records listed the event as the world’s largest single-day maple syrup festival in 2000, making it noteworthy.

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  1. You definitely left out quite a few gems!! Like stopping by My Pop-Up Shop – a place for small biz pop-up and retail area with local small biz items —-and grabbing candy from Fudgesakes and a very cool clothing co that donates back to metal health initiatives with every purchase made – Fog off clothing co!

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