|| Waterloo ||

The City of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada is the smallest of the three cities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, and is adjacent to the larger city of Kitchener.Kitchener and Waterloo are often jointly referred to as Kitchener-Waterloo (K-W), or the twin cities, although they have separate municipal governments. There have been several attempts to amalgamate the two cities (sometimes with the city of Cambridge as well), but none has been successful.

The reported population for the city can vary widely depending on how temporary residents at Waterloo's two universities are counted. At the time of the 2001 census [1], Waterloo had a population of 86,543. That number doesn't include post-secondary students who are temporary residents. The city's total population at the end of 2005 -- with over 20,000 non-resident post-secondary students included -- was 113,100.

Area residents pronounce Waterloo with the stress on the last syllable (water-LOO).
The Intelligent Communities Forum named Waterloo one of the world's Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2006.


The land on which Waterloo would later be built was part of a parcel of 675,000 acres assigned in 1784 to the Iroquois alliance that made up the League of Six Nations.

Almost immediately -- and with much controversy -- the native groups began to sell some of this land. Between 1796 and 1798, 93,000 acres were sold through a Crown Grant to Richard Beasley, with the Six Nations Indians continuing to hold the mortgage on the lands.

The first wave of immigrants to the area were Mennonites from Pennsylvania. They bought deeds to land parcels from Beasley and began moving into the area in 1804. The following year, a group of 26 Mennonites pooled resources to purchase all of the unsold land from Beasley and discharge the mortgage held by the Six Nations Indians.

The Mennonites divided the land into smaller lots, and two lots initially owned by Abraham Erb would become the central core of Waterloo. Erb is often called the founder of Waterloo, as it was his sawmill (1808) and grist mill (1816) that became the focal point of the area.

In 1816 the new township was named Waterloo after the site of the battle in the previous year which had ended the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.

After that war, the area became a popular destination for German immigrants. By the 1840s, the German settlers had overtaken the Mennonites as the dominant segment of the population. Many Germans settled in the small hamlet to the southeast of Waterloo. In their honour, the village was named Berlin in 1833 (renamed Kitchener in 1916). Berlin was chosen as the site of the seat for the County of Waterloo in 1853.

Waterloo was incorporated as a village in 1857 and became the Town of Waterloo in 1876 and the City of Waterloo in 1948.


Waterloo city council consists of five councillors, each representing a ward, and a mayor. The number of wards will expand from five to seven in the November 2006 elections. The current mayor of Waterloo is Herb Epp, who was elected in November 2003.

The City is responsible for fire protection, libraries, parks and recreation and secondary streets, Many municipal services are provided through the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (often referred to as Waterloo Region or the Region of Waterloo), which consists of the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge, and the townships of Woolwich, Wilmot, Wellesley, and North Dumfries. Regional responsibilities include social welfare, community health, and policing through the Waterloo Regional Police Service.

Past and present city councils have been committed to providing for the explosive population growth that is coming with the local economic boom. Rapidly developing subdivisions are often described by their critics as urban sprawl that threatens environmentally sensitive areas and valuable agricultural land.

Federally and provincially, the entire city of Waterloo is contained within the Kitchener-Waterloo electoral district.


Waterloo's city centre is located near the intersection of King and Erb streets. Since 1961, the centrepiece had been the Waterloo Town Square shopping centre, which is (as of 2006) undergoing a thorough renovation. Much of the mall has been torn down and is being replaced by buildings that emphasize street-facing storefronts.

Residents refer to the Waterloo city centre as "uptown" (often capitalized), while "downtown" is reserved for the Kitchener city centre. The uptown/downtown distinction stems from the fact that Waterloo's city centre is at higher elevation than that of Kitchener.[citation needed] Parades march from Waterloo downhill to Kitchener as it is easier for participants, and particularly draft animals, to march downhill rather than uphill.

Historically, the city centre was once along Albert Street, near the Marsland Centre and the Waterloo Public Library. The town hall, fire hall, and farmers market were located there. All were demolished between 1965 and 1969.

There are five main parks in the city. RIM Park occupies 500 acres (2 kmē) and is home to a wide variety of indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, including an eighteen-hole golf course, and the heritage Martin Farm House. Waterloo Park is in uptown Waterloo, and contains historical buildings, a bandshell, animal displays, and the Lions Lagoon water park in its 111 acres (0.45 kmē). Bechtel Park occupies 109 acres (0.44 kmē) and has many outdoor sporting facilities along with wetlands, meadows and hardwood forest. The park also includes a very large off-leash dog park. Hillside Park covers 62 acres (0.25 kmē) and includes two lighted ball diamonds. Lexington Park includes a ball diamond and a soccer pitch on the former site of the K-W Municipal Airport. The 725-acre (3 kmē) Laurel Creek Conservation Area lies in the northwest of the city.

The Grand River, which is popular with canoeists, flows southward along the east side of the city.

In the west end of the city, the Waterloo Moraine provides over 300,000 people in the region with drinking water. This is the largest region dependent on ground source water in North America.


Waterloo has a service-oriented economy with healthy insurance and high-tech sectors as well as two major universities. The city's largest employers are Sun Life Financial/Clarica, University of Waterloo, Manulife Financial, Research In Motion, and Wilfrid Laurier University.

The city is part of Canada's Technology Triangle (CTT), a joint economic development initiative of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo that markets the region internationally. Despite its name, CTT does not focus exclusively on promoting technology industries, but on all aspects of economic development.

Waterloo has a strong technology sector with hundreds of high-tech firms. The dominant technology company in the city is Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, which has its headquarters in the city and owns several office buildings near the University of Waterloo main campus.

Notable Waterloo-based high-tech companies include:

Descartes Systems Group
Northern Digital Inc. (NDI)
Open Text Corporation
Research In Motion (RIM)
SlipStream Data

Many other high-tech companies, with headquarters elsewhere, take advantage of the high concentration of high tech employees in the Waterloo area, and have research and development centres here. Sybase, Google, Oracle, Adobe, McAfee, and Agfa are among the large, international technology companies with development offices in Waterloo.

Before it became known for high-tech, Waterloo was often called "the Hartford of Canada" because of the many insurance companies based in the area. Manulife, Sun Life Financial and Economical continue to have a significant presence in the city.

Breweries and distilleries had been a significant industry in the Waterloo area until 1993 when a Labatt-owned brewery was shut down. Now the only major brewery is the Brick Brewing Company. Waterloo was the original home of distiller Seagram, which closed its Waterloo plant in 1992.



The Conestoga Parkway and Highway 8 connect Waterloo with Kitchener, Cambridge, Highway 7, and Highway 401.

Public transport

Public transport throughout Waterloo Region is provided by Grand River Transit, created by a merger of Kitchener Transit (which served Waterloo) and Cambridge Transit in January 2000. GRT operates a number of bus routes in Waterloo, with many running into Kitchener. In September 2005 an express bus route called iXpress was added that runs from downtown Cambridge through Kitchener to north Waterloo. Regional council has supported the construction of a light rail system to connect Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge. As of 2006, a study is underway to recommend a form of rapid transit, with light rail, monorails, rapid buses, and subways all under consideration.


Waterloo no longer has any regularly-scheduled passenger rail service. VIA Rail trains between Sarnia and Toronto stop at the nearby Kitchener railway station southeast of uptown Waterloo at the corner of Victoria Street and Weber Street. The station is accessible by local buses via Kitchener's downtown Charles Street transport centre.

There are no GO Transit railway stations within easy reach of Waterloo. The nearest is Milton station. City councillors and public petitions have called for the extension of GO trains to the Region of Waterloo, but at present GO does not plan to go beyond already-announced bus links.


The closest airport to Waterloo is the Region of Waterloo International Airport in nearby Breslau, but while it is a thriving general-aviation field, it is not heavily-served by scheduled airlines. Most air travellers use either Toronto Pearson International Airport or John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. There are no permanent public transport links from Waterloo to any of these airports


Many locals are of ethnic German descent. There is also a strong Mennonite presence, thanks to the region's history. The universities and colleges attract a large number of individuals from elsewhere in Canada and the world at large, giving the city a cosmopolitan ethnic makeup.


From the 2001 census data (which excludes post-secondary students temporarily residing in Waterloo)

White: 74,460 or 86.6%
South Asian: 3,695 or 4.3%
Chinese: 2,970 or 3.4%
Black: 1,395 or 1.6%
Hispanics: 630 or 0.7%
Other: 2,910 or 3.3%


From the 2001 census data (which excludes post-secondary students temporarily residing in Waterloo)[4]

Protestant: 37,090 or 43.1%
Catholic: 23,975 or 27.8%
No Affiliation: 15,100 or 17.5%
Other Christian: 3,875 or 4.5%
Muslim: 2,425 or 2.8%
Hindu: 1,385 or 1.6%
Sikh: 785 or 0.9%
Buddhist: 595 or 0.7%
Jewish: 410 or 0.5%
Other: 435 or 0.5%

Sites of interest

In Waterloo:

RIM Park
Waterloo Park
Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex
Laurel Creek Conservation Area
University of Waterloo
Wilfrid Laurier University
Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Centre for International Governance Innovation


St. Jacobs
Waterloo Regional Children's Museum
Doon Heritage Crossroads
Joseph Schneider Haus
Woodside National Historic Site
Wings Of Paradise
African Lion Safari

Events & festivals

Ice Dogs Festival - February
Waterloo County & Area Quilt Festival - May
Uptown Country Festival - June
Canada Day Fireworks, Columbia Lake Fields - July 1
Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival - July
Waterloo Busker Carnival - August
Royal Medieval Faire - September
Oktoberfest Parade - October
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest: the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany - October
Santa Claus Parade - November
Wonders Of Winter (festival of lights) - December


The main campuses of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are located in Waterloo. Kitchener-based Conestoga College also has a Waterloo campus, located at the former University Heights Secondary School on University Avenue near Weber Street. Conestoga purchased the building in January 2006 for nearly $6 million from the Waterloo Region District School Board. It is double the size of its previous Waterloo campus on King Street, which was sold and demolished after the University Heights building was acquired.

There are four high schools based in Waterloo. Three are operated by the Waterloo Region District School Board: Bluevale Collegiate Institute (east), Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School (west), and Waterloo Collegiate Institute (central), and one by the Waterloo Catholic District School Board: St. David Catholic Secondary School. Public schools are managed regionally, and many Waterloo residents attend schools outside of the city boundary.

Health care

The hospitals serving Waterloo are all located in Kitchener. There is Grand River Hospital, which includes the K-W and Freeport health centres (formerly independent hospitals that amalgamated in April 1995), and St. Mary's General Hospital.


The daily newspaper serving Waterloo is The Record, which covers all of Waterloo Region. The Waterloo Chronicle is a weekly newspaper focused solely on the city of Waterloo. Both papers are owned by Toronto-based Torstar and are operated independently of each other.

The area's only TV station is CKCO-TV, which has called itself CTV Southwestern Ontario since 2005. It is located just across the Waterloo border in Kitchener and is owned by Toronto's Bell Globemedia.

Radio stations based in Waterloo are: CKWR-FM 98.5, a not-for-profit community licensed station, CKMS-FM 100.3, the campus radio station at the University of Waterloo, KoolFM (CFCA-FM 105.3) and Oldies 1090 (CKKW (AM)), which are both owned by Toronto's CHUM Limited.