The history of North Dumfries is closely tied to that of the old City of Galt, now part of the City of Cambridge, Ontario. Galt was founded on the east bank of the Grand River by Absalom Shade on behalf of William Dickson of Niagara (Dickson was originally from Dumfries in Scotland). This new Town was located in the heart of Dumfries Township in the Gore District.
What is now North Dumfries originally formed the north half of Dumfries Township, hence the current name. With the introduction of the county system in the mid-nineteenth century, Dumfries was split between the new Waterloo and Brant Counties. The remaining southern half of the old Dumfries Township is now South Dumfries in Brant County. At about the same time Dumfries Township was divided, the City of Galt was extracted from it as an autonomous municipality within the new Waterloo County. Though the two municipalities (Galt and North Dumfries) were now technically separated from one another, their histories are tightly interwoven as the township nearly envelopes what was then Galt.