What to See & Do in Kitchener-Waterloo?
This community (which includes Guelph and Cambridge and several smaller towns close-by, is in the heart of Ontario farming country, and has a concentration of ethnic Germans, who get excited about Oktoberfest each fall. It is also a major university town, center of high-tech manufacturing, and general industry.
Kitchener-Waterloo is located in the heartland of Southern Ontario, also called Canada’s Technology Triangle is comprised of the urban centres of Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener, and Waterloo. Kitchener is located less than one hour from Toronto, Canada’s largest city, and a couple of hours from the American Cities of Detroit and Buffalo via Highway 401. The area comprises a consumer market of over 524,000 people and is positioned to serve a population of 120 million people within a day’s drive of the region Also within a 500 mile radius of Kitchener are more than 60% of Canada’s population, and 40% of the U.S. population.
The city began as a 600,000 acre reserve for Indians loyal to the King in the War of 1812. They sold a block of land, which was then subdivided. The first settlers were German-speaking Mennonites from Pennsylvania who like the farmland. Later in the 1800s more Germans came, who were primarily tradesmen and merchants. The new town was called Berlin.
In 1916, during the First World War, the city renamed itself Kitchener for the famous British General. The community is home to several universities including the University of Waterloo , University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College. Since 1984, the region’s economy grew nearly twice as fast as the province overall.
Kitchener-Waterloo Regional Parks and Conservation Areas
Belwood Lake Conservation Area
8282 Wellington County Rd. 18, RR #4
Fergus, ON N1M 2W5
This 12 km long lake lies behind the 1942 Shand Dam, the first dam in Canada built solely for water control purposes. Visitors can stand on the top deck of the dam, and see the vista of the Grand River valley below or take a stairway along the face of the dam to walk down to its base. The flow from the dam is used to generate hydroelectricity and the lake is popular for boating, fishing and water-skiing. There is a small spring-fed quarry, to cool off on hot summer days.
4969 Haldimand Rd. 20
Mailing: 9 Haldimand Trail
Dunnville, ON N1A 2W3
This 190-hectare conservation area offers camping, boating and day-use recreation along the Grand River and Lake Erie. It includes a mix of Carolinian forest, reforested farmland, and open space, and has three boat launches into the Grand River. See one of Canada’s biggest fish ladders, which allows lake fish to migrate past the Dunnville Dam to spawn upstream. Frolic in one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in Ontario, with a capacity of 1,000 people and features a diving board. Open the last Friday in April to the Sunday following Thanksgiving
6580 Wellington County Rd. 11, RR #2
Wallenstein, ON N0B 2S0
Located on a Y-shaped lake, each arm stretching six kilometres, above a huge concrete flood control dam. The lake is surrounded by large forests, making this multi-recreational use park popular for camping, power boating, sailing, water skiing, canoeing and fishing. Open year round, but camping, with fishing and boating from late April to the Sunday following Thanksgiving
7400 Wellington County Rd. 21, Box 356
Elora, ON N0B 1S0
The Elora Gorge is one of the most beautiful and spectacular natural area in the Grand River valley. The Grand River rushes through the gorge, which has 22-metre (70 feet) high cliffs. Riverside trails (with safety barriers) and scenic overlooks provide hikers with stunning views of the water far below where kayakers and tubers make their way through the rapids. The Conservation Area has a cascade waterfall, “Hole in the Rock”, numerous small caves, and the waterfall at the Tooth Of Time is visible from the Elora Mill Country Inn & Restaurant. Exercise caution along the edge of the gorge. Season: End of April to the Sunday following Thanksgiving
319 Wellington County Rd. 18, Box 356
Elora, ON N0B 1S0
The centre of attraction at this Conservation Area is the long-popular “old swimming hole” in a former limestone quarry encircled by sheer cliffs up to 12 metres (40 feet) high. Elora Quarry became a conservation area in 1976, but it was a popular swimming area long before that. This 79 acre (32 hectare) day-use conservation area is tree covered. Season: day use area only, from mid-June until Labour Day.
East Luther Sideroad 21/22, RR 2
Grand Valley, ON L0N 1G0
This reservoir is at the headwaters of the Grand River watershed, and restores and maintains different habitats for flora and fauna. It is jointly owned and managed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Grand River Conservation Authority. Luther Marsh is open year round, dawn to dusk. Day-users self-register at the main entrance.
161 Fall Street
Rockwood, ON N0B 2K0
See towering limestone cliffs, caves and glacial potholes (one of the world’s largest) from hiking trails on both sides of the Eramosa River, or in a rented canoe. 65,000 visitors a year come during the season from late April to the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
Shade’s Mills Conservation Area
450 Avenue Road
Cambridge, ON N1R 5S4
Shade’s Mills, a day-use area along Mill Creek ,which some call the best-kept secret in Cambridge. Favourite quatic activities in this include swimming, sport fishing and canoeing in the 36-hectare (90 acre) reservoir behind Shade’s Mills dam. There are also 14 km of hiking trails through a mature hardwood forest that winds along Mill Creek, and there is cross country skiing and ice fishing during the winter.