Kitchener and Waterloo are considered “twin cities” which are often referred to jointly as “Kitchener-Waterloo” (K-W), although they have separate municipal governments. Including Cambridge, the three cities are known as “the Tri-Cities”. All are part of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, which was created in 1973, when it replaced Waterloo County, which had been created in 1853.
In 1784, the land that Kitchener was built upon was an area given to the Six Nations by the British as a gift for their allegiance during the American Revolution; 240,000 hectares of land to be exact. From 1796 and 1798, the Six Nations sold 38,000 hectares of this land to a Loyalist by the name of Colonel Richard Beasley. The portion of land that Beasley had purchased was remote, but it was of great interest to German Mennonite farming families from Pennsylvania. They wanted to live in an area that would allow them to practice their beliefs without persecution. Eventually, the Mennonites purchased all of Beasley’s unsold land creating 160 farm tracts. While those from Pennsylvania were the most numerous until about 1840, a few Germans from Europe began arriving in as 1819, including Fredrick Gaukel, a hotel keeper, being one of the firsts. Other German-speaking immigrants from Europe arrived during the 1830s to 1850s, bringing with them their language, religion and cultural traditions. The German community became industrial and political leaders, and created a German-Canadian society unlike any other found in Canada at the time.
Kitchener’s economic heritage is rooted in manufacturing. Industrial artifacts are in public places throughout the city as a celebration of its manufacturing history. Kitchener’s economy has diversified to include new high-value economic clusters. In addition to Kitchener’s internationally recognized finance and insurance and manufacturing clusters, digital media and health science clusters are emerging within the city.
Kitchener’s cultural highlights include CAFKA, The Open Ears Festival, IMPACT theatre festival, the Multicultural Festival, the Kitchener Blues Festival and Kids Park, many of which are free to the public. Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest celebration is an annual nine-day event that started in 1969. Based on the original German Oktoberfest, it is billed as Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival.
Kitchener’s oldest and most important outdoor park is Victoria Park, in the heart of downtown Kitchener. Numerous events and festivities are held in this park. Kitchener has an extensive and safe community trail system. The trails, which are controlled and run by the city, are hundreds of kilometres in length. Due to Kitchener’s close proximity to the Grand River, several community trails and paths border the river’s shores. This convenient access to the Grand River has drawn nature-seeking tourists to the city. In 2011, a bike park at the newly constructed McLennan Park, in the city’s south end, was hailed as one of the best city-run bike parks in Southern Ontario by BMX and mountain biking enthusiasts.
Other useful Links
Tourism – http://www.explorewaterlooregion.com/
Waterloo News – https://www.therecord.com/
Kitchener Public Library – http://www.kpl.org/
Kitchener Utilities – http://www.kitchenerutilities.ca/en/index.asp
City of Waterloo – http://www.waterloo.ca/en/living/utilities.asp
Kitchener Natural Gas – http://www.kitchenerutilities.ca/en/programsservices/Natural-gas.asp
Union Gas – https://www.uniongas.com/
Waterloo Region District School Board – https://www.wrdsb.ca/
Waterloo Catholic District School Board – https://www.wcdsb.ca/
Rockway Mennonite Collegiate – https://rockway.ca/
Sunshine Montessori School – http://smsschool.ca/
Blyth Academy Waterloo – https://blytheducation.com
Scholars’ Hall – http://www.scholarshall.com/
Colleges and Universities
University of Waterloo – https://uwaterloo.ca/
Renison University College – https://uwaterloo.ca/renison/
Wilfred Laurier University – https://www.wlu.ca/
National Academy of Health & Business – https://www.nahb.ca/
To find a doctor – College of Physicians and Surgeons Ontario www.cpso.on.ca
Health Care Connect
Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
Region of Waterloo Public Health – http://chd.region.waterloo.on.ca/en/index.asp
Hospitals & Clinics
Grand River Hospital – http://www.grhosp.on.ca/
St. Mary’s General Hospital – http://www.smgh.ca/
Markham Stouffville Hospital – http://mshf.on.ca
Cambridge Memorial Hospital – https://www.cmh.org/
K-W Walk in Clinic – http://www.waterloowalkinclinic.com/
KW Urgent Care – http://www.kwurgentcare.ca/
Onyx Urgent Care – http://onyxurgentcare.com/