The cities of Waterloo, Cambridge and Kitchener comprise the Waterloo Region, an hour’s drive southwest of Toronto. Home to three universities and a variety of tourist attractions, the Waterloo Region has a population that combines cultural diversity with a penchant for entrepreneurship and education. What makes the region a smart bet for vacationers is its blend of things to see and do crafted by man and nature.
The city of Waterloo is a thriving telecom and techno-oriented base for homes and businesses, named World’s Top Intelligent Community in 2007 by Intelligent Community Forum. Visitors seeking human-made art here can check out the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, south of Silver Lake in Waterloo Park. The gallery displays contemporary ceramic, glass and enamel works, and hosts creative workshops. More than 1,600 hectares of green space give outdoor enthusiasts things to do near Waterloo all year, like skiing, hiking and horseback riding. Explore the natural beauty of Grand River Watershed and the 78-km Grand River Trail, which connects Waterloo to both Cambridge and Kitchener.
Waterloo and Kitchener also “connect” to put on an annual Oktoberfest. Paying homage to the cities’ Bavarian history, the nine-day Waterloo-Kitchener Oktoberfest is one of the largest outside of Munich and a huge tourist attraction in the Waterloo Region. Since 1969, the October party has grown steadily, adopting its own traditions and remaining distinctively community owned. Besides Oktoberfest, Kitchener draws tourists to the Kitchener Blues Festival, the country’s largest, which features internationally renowned acts in August.
There are many things to do in Kitchener for those seeking the fruits of creativity as well as nature. Art lovers can visit Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, located just north of Civic Centre Park. The gallery is the oldest and largest in the Waterloo Region, with a permanent collection of nearly 4,000 works. A trip to Kitchener Farmers’ Market has been a favourite Saturday outing in the city for the past 130 years. The market features fresh fruits, veggies and meats, as well as prepared-food vendors.
Cambridge, the region’s third city, features a farmers’ market as well; the third-oldest of its kind in the country. Cambridge Farmers’ Market has been operating at the same site since 1830 while the area has progressed. One of the fastest-growing communities in Canada, the city of Cambridge is full of opportunities for shopping and dining in one of several quaint downtown areas and features a thriving arts scene. Cambridge Centre for the Arts, north of Main Street in the civic square, features a gallery and gift shop and offers classes and special events. More art can be found in surprising places—like outdoors, along the Grand River. Hikers enjoy the Cambridge Sculpture Garden, an unusual haven that brings public art to a natural setting, where visitors can picnic and relax or attend an outdoor show.
Travellers looking for an all-inclusive destination need look no further. The Waterloo Region’s three cities offer visitors a variety of outdoor activities and cultural happenings in a modern, multicultural and interconnected environment.