2019 Gardener-in-Residence: Family Programs and Events

Join us for an exciting season of gardening programs and events for all ages with Brubacher House 2019 Gardener-in-Residence, Emily Cho! 

Emily Cho is a therapeutic horticulture practitioner. She incorporates visual arts, culinary arts, nature-play, and gardening into her plant-based activities. Her work strives to build stronger human-nature connections to elevate physical and mental health, and social and cognitive wellbeing.

Click below for program details and registration. Participants must register and pay online in advance for each workshop that they wish to attend:

Garden Explorers | Ages 0-4

Calling all explorers! We need some daring friends to explore the smells, sights, feelings, and tastes of our garden. Get messy and giggly under the warm summer sun. For families with children in early development, babies, toddlers, and/or pre-schoolers who enjoy sensory play.

  • Friday, July 19, 10:00-11:00 AM - July Colour Carnival!
  • Friday, August 16, 10:00-11:00 AM - August Summer Wind Down

Garden Heroes | Ages 5-10

Calling all heroes! The world is in dire need. A devastating event has destroyed all of the world’s farms. With only one year’s supply of food left in storage, we desperately need your help to feed our community. Collect badges through completing different challenges. For youth ages 5-10 years and their guardians. Learn the basics of vegetable gardening in a game setting.

  • Thursday, July 18, 2:00-4:00 PM - Part 1: Building from the Ground Up!
  • Thursday, August 15, 2:00-4:00 PM - Part 2: Growing Infinitely!

Botanical Art Workshops | Adults

Express yourself through creating beautiful and unique botanical art projects! A series of workshops for adults and/or families.

  • Saturday, July 20, 1:00-3:00 PM - Crowns of Pride
  • Saturday, August 17, 1:00-3:00 PM - Succulent Planters
  • Saturday, September 21, 1:00-3:00 PM - Garden Dye

HistoryBrubacher House

The Brubacher House was built in 1850 in a style typical of Pennsylvania German architecture. In this beautiful setting on the side of a gentle hill, Magdalena and John E. Brubacher raised fourteen children. Farming continued on the land until 1965 when the property was purchased as part of the University of Waterloo.

The University of Waterloo proposed to preserve and restore one of the original farm homes on the campus in recognition of the Pennsylvania German culture which was represented on the farmlands it purchased, and as a reminder that the total 1,000 acres of the university campus was once owned by Mennonites and devoted to agriculture.

Rebuilding Brubacher House

Before restoration could take place, the house was gutted by fire. However, plans for restoration continued with involvement and planning by the University of Waterloo and the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, Conrad Grebel University College and the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation. Under the direction of Simeon Martin, a master Mennonite craftsman, and with the assistance of many Mennonite farmers, the house interior was rebuilt to reflect a Pennsylvania German Mennonite home of the 1850-90 period. The furnishings are an authentic reflection of the time period, many of them having been collected from area Mennonite families.

Today the beautifully preserved home has become a landmark overlooking Columbia Lake and the University of Waterloo playing fields. The strong simple architectural lines of a past era contrast the modern lines of buildings on campus.

Why visit Brubacher House:

  • An old photograph of the Brubacher House with MennonitesBecome acquainted with the Pennsylvania German heritage of Waterloo County.
  • Learn first hand from knowledgeable tour guides about the life of a Pennsylvania German Mennonite family during the mid-nineteenth century.
  • See an authentic depiction of a Pennsylvania German farm home in Waterloo County during the 1850-90 period.
  • Watch a DVD depicting the history of Mennonites in Waterloo County.

Visit us!

Open Hours:

Wednesday - Saturday: 2:00 - 5:00 PM
May 1 - October 31

Tours are also available by appointment at other times throughout the year. A special welcome to tour groups, families, school classes, community and church groups.

Maximum group size: 40-50 people
Length of tour: one hour

Event space rental: $30/half-day, $50/full-day


By donation.


Brubacher House is on the University of Waterloo's North Campus. Turn north from Columbia Street at Hagey Boulevard. Turn left at first roundabout onto Frank Tompa Drive and follow road to the parking lot at the very end of the road.

Contact us

Brubacher House
c/o University of Waterloo, North Campus
Waterloo, ON
N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-886-3855
Email: bhouse@uwaterloo.ca

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brubacherhouse/

Operated by Conrad Grebel University College and the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario. Owned by the University of Waterloo.

Events @ Brubacher House

Museum Gallery Tour