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Regional Municipality of Waterloo

Waterloo Region
Regional Municipality of Waterloo
Clockwise: Kitchener City Hall, Waterloo Regional Headquarters, Grand River scene in Cambridge, aerial view of St. Jacobs, University of Waterloo Nano Centre
Official logo of Waterloo Region
"Peace, Prosperity!"
Location of Waterloo Region in Ontario
Location of Waterloo Region in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°29′35″N 80°30′04″W / 43.49306°N 80.50111°W / 43.49306; -80.50111 (Kitchener - Cambridge – Waterloo (Regional Municipality of Waterloo))[1]
 • Regional ChairKaren Redman
 • Governing BodyWaterloo Regional Council
 • MPs
 • MPPs
 • Land1,368.92 km2 (528.54 sq mi)
 • Total535,154
 • Density390.9/km2 (1,012/sq mi)
 • Tri-Cities CMACA$32.9 billion (2020)[4]
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Area code(s)(519), (226) and (548)

The Regional Municipality of Waterloo (Waterloo Region or Region of Waterloo) is a metropolitan area of Southern Ontario, Canada. It contains the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo (KWC or Tri-Cities), and the townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich. Kitchener, the largest city, is the seat of government.

The region is 1,369 square kilometres (529 sq mi) in area. The population was 587,165 at the 2021 Canada census.[5] In 2016, the Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo area was rated Canada's third-best area to find full-time employment.[6]

The region was formerly called Waterloo County, created in 1853 and dissolved in 1973. The county consisted of five townships: North Dumfries, Waterloo, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich.


Early Archaic hunters of the Bifurcate Base tradition were present in the area around 8300 years ago. They occupied the Kassel site (AiHd-71), a base camp, and the Blue Dart site (AiHd-89), which was likely a kill site; this followed typical hunter-gatherer occupation patterns.[7]: 1 

Up to the 17th century, the Attawandaron (Neutral) nation inhabited the Grand River area. European explorers admired their farming practices.

In the wake of a smallpox epidemic and European incursions, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois)[8] and the Wendat (Huron) Confederacies[9] waged war from 1642 to 1650. Invasion by the Haudenosaunee's Seneca and Mohawk nations ended Attawandaron independence.

In 1784, in recognition of Haudenosaunee support[10] during the American War of Independence and the consequent loss of its land in New York state,[10] the British government granted the Grand River valley to the Confederacy. The latter settled in the lower Grand River Valley, the present Brant County, and sold land in the upper Grand, now part of Waterloo Township, to Loyalist Colonel Richard Beasley. In 1816, William Dickson,[11] a Scottish-born land speculator, acquired 90,000 acres (360 km2) along the Grand River, in present North and South Dumfries Townships, and the city of Cambridge.

North and South Dumfries Townships

Dickson planned to divide the tract into lots to sell to Scottish settlers.[12] He and American-born miller, Absalom Shade,[13] chose the confluence of Mill Creek and the Grand River to found Shade's Mills. In 1825, the growing settlement had a post office.

Despite settlers' reluctance, Dickson renamed the settlement Galt in honour of John Galt, a Scottish novelist and Canada Company Commissioner. Galt's visit in 1827 brought wider acceptance to the name change.

Initially serving local farmers, Galt's industrial development in the late 1830s eventually earned it the nickname "The Manchester of Canada".[14] It remained the area's main town until Berlin[15] overtook it at the beginning of the 20th century.


Pre-modern era

According to the City of Waterloo, indigenous people lived in the area, including the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and the Neutral Nation.[16]

One report states that at least two "aboriginal settlements from the 1500s can now be identified near Schneider and Strasburg Creeks" in Kitchener.[17] The finds include the remains of a First Nations village, estimated to be 500 years old, discovered in 2010 in the Strasburg Creek area with "artifacts going back as far as 9,000 years".[18] In 2020, a site at Fischer-Hallman Road was found to include artifacts from a "Late Woodland Iroquois village" that was inhabited circa 1300 to 1600. Archeologists found some 35,000 objects including stone tools and a 4,000 year old arrowhead.[19]

1800 to 1820

Many of the Mennonite Germans from Pennsylvania arrived in Conestoga wagons.

Settlement of the later Waterloo Township started in 1800 (in an area that is now Kitchener) by Joseph Schoerg (later called Sherk) and Samuel Betzner Jr.[20] (brothers-in-law), Mennonites, from Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Joseph Schoerg and his wife settled on Lot No.11, B.F. Beasley Block, S.R., on the bank of the Grand River opposite Doon, and Betzner and his wife settled on the west bank of the Grand River, on a farm near an area that is now the village of Blair.[21]

As of March 2021, the homes built by these families' next generation still stand on Pioneer Tower Road, Kitchener. Built circa 1830, they are listed as historically important: the John Betzner homestead (restored)[22] and the David Schoerg farmstead (not yet restored).[23][24][25]

The Pioneer Memorial Tower, dedicated the Pennsylvania-German pioneers who arrived between 1800 and 1803

Other settlers followed, mostly from Pennsylvania, and also purchased land in Block Number 2, German Company Tract[26] from Richard Beasley who had acquired a massive territory previously owned by the Six Nations.[27]

The first school opened in 1802 near the village of Blair, then known as Shinglebridge; it became part of Preston, Ontario and then part of Cambridge, Ontario. The first teacher's name was Mr. Rittenhaus.[28][29]

After 1803, many Pennsylvania pioneers bought lots from the German Company, established by Mennonites from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The 60,000-acre section included most of Block 2 of the former Grand River Indian Lands acquired by Beasley and previously owned by the Six Nations Indians. Many farms were 400 or more acres in size.[30][31][32]

Most settlers before 1830 were Pennsylvania Mennonites, often called Pennsylvania Dutch (an anglicization of Deutsch) because of the German dialect they spoke from their origins in Germany and Switzerland.[33]

By the early 1800s, a corduroy road had been built along what is now King Street in Waterloo; its remains were unearthed in 2016. The road was probably built by Mennonites using technology acquired in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, between the late 1790s and 1816. The log road was buried in about 1840 and a new road built on top of it.[34][35] A historian explained that the road had been built for access to the mill but was also "one of the first roads cut through (the woods) so people could start settling the area".[36]

In 1806, Abraham Erb, from Franklin County, bought 900 acres (360 ha) from the German Company in what would be later part of the City of Waterloo.[37] The putative founder of the city, Erb built a sawmill in 1808 and a gristmill in 1816; the latter operated for 111 years and still stands in Waterloo Park.[38]

Benjamin Eby arrived from Lancaster County in 1806. The putative founder of Kitchener, he purchased a large tract in that area. The settlement, Ebytown, was on the south-east side of present-day Queen Street. Ordained a Mennonite pastor in 1809, and later a bishop, Eby oversaw the building of the first church in 1813 and the confession's subsequent growth. Many Mennonite meeting houses, or places of worship, were basic frame buildings, a structure still common among Old Order Mennonites in rural Waterloo Region.[39] Settlers often held a "bee" to help newcomers erect large buildings, a custom that persists today among traditional Mennonite communities.[30]

The restored Joseph Schneider Haus, circa 1816, was built by one of the early settlers in Berlin

In 1806, Joseph Schneider,[40] of south German stock, arrived from Lancaster County. He bought lot 17 of the German Company Tract of block 2. A farmer, he helped build what became "Schneider's Road". By 1816, he had built a sawmill.

In 1807, Pennsylvanians John and Jacob Erb, among others, purchased 45,195 acres (182.9 km2) of Block 3 (Woolwich township).

The War of 1812 interrupted immigration from the United States. The pacifist Mennonite settlers were employed in camps, hospitals and transportation.

Samuel and Elia Schneider arrived in 1816.

A network of small settlements emerged. Abram Weber settled on the corner of later King and Wilmot Streets, and David Weber by the later Grand Trunk Railway station.[30][38]

Benjamin Eby encouraged manufacturers to move to Ebytown. Jacob Hoffman arrived around 1830 to start the regions's first furniture factory.

1820 to 1852

Martins Old Order Mennonite Church

Immigration continued strongly in the 1820s, driven by a severe agricultural depression in Lancaster County.[33] John Eby, druggist and chemist, arrived from Pennsylvania about 1820 and opened a shop west of present-day Eby Street. In the same year, after clearing a farm and creating a rough road, Joseph Schneider built a frame house on the south side of the future Queen Street ; the renovated home still stands. The settlement around "Schneider's Road" became the nucleus of Berlin.[38]

In 1830, Phineas Varnum established the centre of later Berlin (Kitchener). Leasing land from Joseph Schneider, he opened a blacksmith shop on the site of the later Walper House (now the Walper Hotel[41]). A tavern and store opened there at the same time.[30] Still considered a hamlet,[31] Ebytown became Berlin in 1833.[42]

By 1830, the village of Preston was a thriving business centre under the impulse of Jacob Hespeler, a native of Württemberg. He later moved to the village of New Hope, renamed Hespeler in 1857 in recognition of his enterprise and public service. Jacob Beck, from the Grand Duchy of Baden, founded the village of Baden in Wilmot Township and started a foundry and machine shop. Jacob Beck was the father of Sir Adam Beck, founder of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario.

By 1835, many immigrants were coming to Waterloo County from Germany and the British Isles. The Germans settled in areas like New Germany in the Lower Block of Block Two. In 1835, some 70% of the population was Mennonite; by 1851, that number had declined to 26% of a much larger population.[33]

The county's first newspaper, Canada Museum und Allgemeine Zeitung, came off the press on August 27, 1835. Written mostly in German with some English articles, it was published for five years.[43]

By the 1840s, the growing German-speaking population had made the area a popular choice for German immigrants.[44] They founded communities in the south of the Mennonite area. The largest was Berlin (now Kitchener).

In 1841, the population count was 4,424. Smith's Canadian Gazetteer of 1846 states that the population of Waterloo Township, within Waterloo County, consisted primarily of Pennsylvania Mennonites and German immigrants who had brought money with them. Many spoke no English. There were now eight grist and twenty saw mills in the township. In 1846 the village of Waterloo had a population of 200, "mostly Germans". It had a grist mill, a sawmill and some tradesmen.[45] Berlin (Kitchener) had a population of about 400, also "mostly German", and more tradesmen than the village of Waterloo.[46]

After 1852

Waterloo County Jail and Governor's House, Kitchener, built 1852
Map of Waterloo County, 1883

Previously part of the United County of Waterloo, Wellington and Grey, Waterloo became a separate entity in 1853, with five townships. Galt and Berlin contended to be the county seat; one requirement was the construction of a courthouse and jail. When local merchant Joseph Gaukel donated a small portion of his land for that purpose at the corner of present current Queen and Weber streets, Berlin was selected. A courthouse and gaol were built within a few months.

The first county council meeting was held in the new facility on 24 January 1853.[47][48] Both buildings figure in the Canadian Register of Historic Places.[49][50] The council included 12 members from the five townships and two villages; Dr. John Scott was appointed as the first warden (reeve). In the following years, the region's physical and social infrastructure developed to include roads, bridges, agricultural societies, markets, and schools.[51]

The electric railway connected all of the towns and cities of Waterloo County by 1911

The Grand Trunk railway reached Berlin in 1856, accelerating industrial growth. Over the next decade, comfortable homes replaced the early settlers' log cabins.[31]

House of Industry and Refuge

In 1869, the county built a large "Poorhouse" with an attached farm, the House of Industry and Refuge. It accommodated some 3,200 people before being closed down in 1951 and later demolished. Located on Frederick St. in Kitchener, behind the now Frederick Street Mall, it sought to help indigents and convicts before social welfare programmes became available. A 2009 report by the Toronto Star stated that "pauperism was considered a moral failing that could be erased through order and hard work".[52]

Electric streetcar

A new streetcar system, the Galt, Preston and Hespeler electric railway (later called the Grand River Railway) began operation in 1894, connecting Preston and Galt. In 1911, the line reached Hespeler, Berlin (Kitchener) and Waterloo; by 1916 it had been extended to Brantford/Port Dover.[53][54] The electric rail system ended passenger services in April, 1955.

German heritage

The Oktoberfest Timeteller in Waterloo

Some sources estimate that roughly 50,000 European Germans arrived in the Waterloo area from 1830 to 1860.[55] Unlike the largely German-speaking Mennonites from Pennsylvania, the later arrivals – from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and present day and Poland, France and Russia, were of other denominations. The first groups were predominantly Roman Catholic; those who arrive later were primarily Lutheran.[56]

In 1862, German-speaking groups held a Sängerfest ("Singer Festival") that attracted an estimated 10,000 people. The festival continued for several years.[57]

By 1863, Berlin's German population exceeded 2,000. the community started the Friedenfest to celebrate the German victory in the Franco-Prussian war. The event continued annual until the start of World War I.[58]

By 1871, nearly 55 percent of the population had German origins, including the Pennsylvania Mennonites and European Germans. This group greatly outnumbered the Scots (18 per cent), the English (12.6 per cent) and the Irish (8 per cent).[56] Berlin, Ontario was a bilingual town, with German being the dominant language spoken. More than one visitor commented on the necessity of speaking German in Berlin.

In 1897, the Canadians with origins in Germany raised funds to erect a large monument, with a bronze bust of Kaiser Wilhelm I, in Victoria Park. The monument would be destroyed by townspeople just after the start of World War I.[59]

By the early 1900s, northern Waterloo County – the Kitchener, Waterloo, Elmira area – exhibited a strong German culture and those of German origin made up a third of the population in 1911. Lutherans were the primary religious group. There were nearly three times as many Lutherans as Mennonites at that time. The latter primarily resided in the rural areas and small communities.[60]

Before and during World War I, there was some anti-German sentiment in Canada and some cultural sanctions on the community, particularly in Berlin, Ontario. However, by 1919 most of the population of what would become Kitchener-Waterloo and Elmira were Canadian by birth; over 95 percent had been born in Ontario.[61] Those of the Mennonite religion were pacifist, so they could not enlist, while others who were not born in Canada refused to fight against the country of their birth.[62][63] Anti-German sentiment during World War I was the primary reason for renaming Berlin Kitchener in 1916[64] to honour British Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, who had died that year when his cruiser was sunk by a German submarine.

The Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower built in 1926 commemorates the settlement by the Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch or Pennsylvania German) of the Grand River area in what later became Waterloo County.[65]

The region is still home to the largest population of Old Order Mennonites in Canada, particularly in the areas around St Jacobs and Elmira.[66]

Over time, after WW II, the anti-German sentiment faded. The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest event, with beer halls and German entertainment, and a large parade, was established in 1969 to honour the Region's German heritage.[67] The events typically attract an average of 700,000 people to the county. During the 2016 Oktoberfest parade, an estimated 150,000 people lined the streets along the route.[68]

In the year 2000, the Government of Ontario declared an annual German Pioneers Day to recognize the achievements of settlers from Germany. Each year since then, the Waterloo Region area honours the current families of several such pioneers who had settled in the area.[69]

The Waterloo region remained predominantly German-speaking until the early 20th century, and its German heritage is reflected in the region's large Lutheran community and the annual Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.

There are still traditional Mennonite communities located north of Kitchener-Waterloo. While the best known is St. Jacobs, with its very popular thrice-weekly outdoor market, the community of Linwood has attracted increased tourist volume in recent years due to its highly authentic Mennonite lifestyle.


In 1973, the regional municipality style of government was imposed on the county by the provincial government. The cities of Galt, Kitchener, and Waterloo were previously independent single tier municipalities prior to joining the newly formed regional municipality. In that major reorganization, the fifteen towns and townships of the county were reduced to just seven in the new Region of Waterloo. The new city of Cambridge was created through the amalgamation of the City of Galt, the towns of Preston and Hespeler, the Village of Blair, and various parcels of township land. One township vanished when the former Waterloo Township was divided among Woolwich Township and the three cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge. The settlement of Bridgeport was annexed to the city of Kitchener. The settlement of Erbsville was annexed to the city of Waterloo. The former county government was given broader powers as a regional municipality.

Regardless of the resistance, the amalgamation proceeded and became effective 1 January 1973, creating the Region of Waterloo, with Jack A. Young appointed by the provincial government as the first Regional Chair. The region took over many services, including police, waste management, recreation, planning, roads and social services.[70]

Further municipal amalgamation began discussions in the 1990s, with little progress. In late 2005, Kitchener's city council voted to visit the subject again, with the possibility of reducing the seven constituent municipalities into one or more cities. A new proposal in 2010 would study only the merger of Kitchener and Waterloo, with a public referendum on whether the idea should be looked into. Kitchener residents voted 2–1 in favour of studying the merger while Waterloo residents voted 2–1 against. Waterloo city council voted against the study.[71]


Region of Waterloo Headquarters in Kitchener

The region's governing body is the 16 member Waterloo Regional Council. The council consists of the Regional Chair, the mayors of the seven cities and townships, and eight additional councillors – four from Kitchener and two each from Cambridge and Waterloo.

Beginning in 1978, the Regional Chair was appointed for a 2-year term by the councillors, who were elected by the citizens of Waterloo Region. James E. (Jim) Gray was appointed in 1978. In 1982, the Chair's term was extended to 3 years and Jim Gray was appointed for his third term. He retired in 1985. Ken Seiling held the position of Regional Chair from 1985[72] to 2018, when he declined to run again for the seat. His successor is Karen Redman.

Beginning with the 1997 election, the citizens of Waterloo Region have directly elected the chair. Of the nine regional municipalities in Ontario, Waterloo Region and the Regional Municipality of Halton are the only ones that allow for direct election of the chair.


Census Subdivision Population (2021 census)[73]
City of Kitchener 256,885
City of Cambridge 138,479
City of Waterloo 121,436
Township of Woolwich 26,999
Township of Wilmot 21,429
Township of Wellesley 11,318
Township of North Dumfries 10,619

Within the townships are many communities. Some were once independent and had their own reeves and councils but lost this status in amalgamation. These communities include: Ayr, Baden, Bloomingdale, Breslau, Conestogo, Doon, Elmira, Freeport, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Maryhill, New Dundee, New Hamburg, Petersberg, Roseville, St. Agatha, St. Clements, St. Jacobs, Wellesley, West Montrose, and Winterbourne.


As a census division in the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo had a population of 587,165 living in 222,426 of its 233,253 total private dwellings, a change of 9.7% from its 2016 population of 535,154. With a land area of 1,370.07 km2 (528.99 sq mi), it had a population density of 428.6/km2 (1,110.0/sq mi) in 2021.[74]

Canada census – Regional Municipality of Waterloo community profile
Population587,165 (9.7% from 2016)535,154 (5.5% from 2011)507,096 (6.1% from 2006)
Land area1,370.07 km2 (528.99 sq mi)1,368.92 km2 (528.54 sq mi)1,368.94 km2 (528.55 sq mi)
Population density428.6/km2 (1,110/sq mi)390.9/km2 (1,012/sq mi)370.4/km2 (959/sq mi)
Median age38.0 (M: 36.4, F: 39.2)38.5 (M: 37.4, F: 39.6)37.7 (M: 36.6, F: 38.7)
Private dwellings233,253 (total)  203,830 (total)  202,121 (total) 
Median household income$77,530
References: 2021[75] 2016[76] 2011[77] earlier[78][79]

Historic populations:[79]

  • Population in 2016: 535,154
  • Population in 2011: 507,096
  • Population in 2006: 478,121
  • Population in 2001: 438,515
  • Population in 1996: 405,435

Immigrants accounted for 22.6% of the region's total population according to the 2016 Canadian Census,[80] while visible minorities accounted for 19.0% of the region's total population.[81]


Waterloo Region's top 15 mother tongue languages[82]
Mother Tongue Languages Population Percentage
English 467,460 80.29%
Punjabi 8,130 1.40%
Mandarin 7,635 1.31%
Arabic 6,290 1.08%
Spanish 5,835 1.0%
High German 5,010 0.86%
Portuguese 4,645 0.80%
Serbo-Croatian 4,550 0.78%
Urdu 3,760 0.65%
Gujarati 3,755 0.64%
Persian 3,020 0.52%
Hindi 2,620 0.45%
Vietnamese 2,570 0.44%
Romanian 2,400 0.41%
Polish 2,120 0.36%


Panethnic groups in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (2001−2021)
2021[83] 2016[84] 2011[85] 2006[86] 2001[87]
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
European[a] 410,365 70.83% 418,335 79.33% 415,700 83.2% 406,470 85.89% 386,355 89.05%
South Asian 55,380 9.56% 26,720 5.07% 21,170 4.24% 16,415 3.47% 11,355 2.62%
African 26,590 4.59% 15,135 2.87% 10,535 2.11% 9,510 2.01% 7,390 1.7%
East Asian[b] 21,635 3.73% 19,195 3.64% 14,255 2.85% 11,575 2.45% 7,565 1.74%
Middle Eastern[c] 17,000 2.93% 11,450 2.17% 8,815 1.76% 5,900 1.25% 3,565 0.82%
Southeast Asian[d] 16,525 2.85% 11,815 2.24% 10,285 2.06% 8,080 1.71% 6,585 1.52%
Latin American 12,810 2.21% 9,145 1.73% 8,200 1.64% 6,910 1.46% 4,870 1.12%
Indigenous 9,960 1.72% 8,985 1.7% 6,825 1.37% 4,810 1.02% 3,340 0.77%
Other[e] 9,135 1.58% 6,575 1.25% 3,820 0.76% 3,595 0.76% 2,860 0.66%
Total responses 579,380 98.67% 527,340 98.54% 499,615 98.52% 473,260 98.98% 433,875 98.94%
Total population 587,165 100% 535,154 100% 507,096 100% 478,121 100% 438,515 100%
Note: Totals greater than 100% due to multiple origin responses


Wilfrid Laurier University is the smaller of the two universities in Waterloo

Waterloo Region is home to the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College. For a list of all elementary and secondary schools in the area, see the List of Waterloo Region, Ontario schools.

Crime rate

The national average for the crime severity index was 78.10 per 100,000 people in 2022, while the rate was slightly higher for Waterloo Region at 79.12 per 100,000 people.[88] By comparison, the rate for Ontario was 58.47 per 100,000 people, and nearby cities Guelph and London were 60.56 and 73.98 respectively. By comparison, "Canada's most dangerous place", North Battleford, Saskatchewan, had an index of 353 in 2016.[89]

An updated report by Maclean's in 2019 ranked the Region as the 49th most dangerous community in Canada, with robbery approximately as prevalent as the Canadian average of 60 incidents per 100,000 people. The region has a homicide rate of 0.89 per 100,000, below the Canadian average of 1.68 per 100,000.[90]

Real estate

As of October, 2023, the average (mean) selling price of a detached home sold on the Multiple Listing System of Waterloo Region was $890,591 (in Canadian dollars), an increase of 1.1 per cent compared to October 2022.[91] The average selling price for an apartment style condominium was $476,166, an decrease of 2.6 per cent from October 2022. These prices are significantly less than prices in Toronto, where the average selling price for a detached home in the 416 area code was $1,718,440 in October 2023, and the average selling price for an apartment style condominium was $729,160.[92]


University of Waterloo is noted for its cooperative education programs, which allow the students to integrate their education with applicable work experiences.

Waterloo Region is also experiencing significant commercial growth. The presence of two universities, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, acts as a catalyst for high-tech growth and innovation. The region is known for its high concentration of tech companies, such as BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion), OpenText, Kik, and Maplesoft. As such, it has often been referred to as "Canada's Silicon Valley".[93][94]

Canada's top three fastest growing tech companies are located in the Region: Kitchener's ApplyBoard, Intellijoint Surgical, and Waterloo's Auvik Networks. The list also includes Kitchener's, and Vidyard.[95]

Major employers in the region


Over time, many services have come to be delegated to the jurisdiction of the municipal government. These include police, emergency medical services, waste management, licensing enforcement, recycling, and the public transit system. The main administration of these services is run from Kitchener, however many service offices may be found in different parts of the Region. For example, from a geographically central location in north Cambridge, maintenance operations and the police headquarters are able to manage operations and provide services to the entire service area.

Health care

St. Mary's General Hospital

Hospital services in the region are provided by Grand River Hospital which includes a Freeport Campus and St. Mary's General Hospital, both located in Kitchener, as well as Cambridge Memorial Hospital.[98] All three were highly ranked for safety in a national comparison study in 2017–2018, particularly the two located in Kitchener, but all would benefit from reduced wait times.[99] Long-term care beds are provided at numerous facilities,[100] including the Village of Winston Park in Kitchener and Saint Luke's Place in Cambridge which were promised additional funding by the province in 2018 for expansion.[101]

Grand River Hospital has a capacity of 574-beds; the Freeport location was merged into it in April 1995.[102] That secondary campus provides complex continuing care, rehabilitation, longer-term specialized mental health and other services.[103] The King St. location is also the home of the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre which opened in 2003.[104] St. Mary's General Hospital is a 150-bed adult acute-care facility and includes the Regional Cardiac Care Centre with two cardiovascular operating rooms, an eight-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit and 45 inpatient beds.[105] [106] As of late 2018, Cambridge Memorial had 143 beds but was in the midst of a major expansion. The general contractor went into receivership in late 2018 and that stalled the process; the new section was not expected to be completed until approximately 2021. The expansion will eventually add 54 new beds and double the size of the Emergency department.[107]

Family doctors are often in short supply, and a source of great concern among residents. Recruiting efforts over the previous 15 years certainly achieved some success as of September 2018, but needed to be continued.[108]

Announced January 2006, as a new School of Medicine, the Waterloo Regional Campus of McMaster University was completed in 2009. In 2018, the campus included "a complete on-site clinical skills laboratory with 4 skills rooms and 2 observation rooms, classrooms with video-conferencing capabilities and a state-of-the-art anatomy lab that was built in 2013 with a high definition video system", according to the university. Its Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine building includes the Centre for Family Medicine and the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science.[109]


The Conestoga Parkway in Kitchener-Waterloo
Ion light rail vehicle in service

Public transportation is provided by Grand River Transit, which is an amalgamation of the former Cambridge Transit and Kitchener Transit systems, the latter of which had also served the City of Waterloo for many decades.

In June 2011, regional council approved the plan for a light rail transit (LRT) line from Conestoga Mall in north Waterloo to Fairview Park Mall in south Kitchener, with rapid buses through to Cambridge.[110] In Stage 1, the Ion rapid transit system runs between Waterloo and Kitchener, passing through the downtown/uptown areas. This phase opened in 2019.

Until light rail transit is extended to the downtown Galt area of Cambridge from Kitchener in Stage 2, the rapid transit link will use specially branded buses between Fairview Park Mall and the Ainslie Street Transit Terminal. Other stops for this Ion bus are at Hespeler Road at the Delta, Can-Amera, Cambridge Centre, Pinebush, and Sportsworld. The rapid transit bus uses bus-only priority traffic signals at Pinebush, Sportsworld, and other places to minimize slowdowns at times of heavy traffic.

Construction on the light rail system began in August 2014, and the Stage 1 service was expected to begin in late 2017.[111] In 2016, however, the start date was changed to early 2018 because of delays in the manufacture and delivery of the vehicles by Bombardier Transportation. By March 2017 a single sample-only train car had arrived.[112] All trams were eventually delivered by December 2018 and the service started operating on June 21, 2019.[113]

By late February 2017, plans for the Stage 2 (Cambridge section) of the Ion rail service were in the very early stage with public consultations just getting started.[114][115] (At least one journalist has pointed out the similarity between this plan and the electric Grand River Railway of the early 1900s.)[116] As the original plan to share the CP Rail line had become unworkable since the original route had been planned, a new route between Kitchener and Preston was proposed.[117] Multiple options for the new Stage 2 route were researched and presented to the public, with Regional Council approving the final route and preliminary design on April 22, 2020,[118] and starting the required environmental assessment later in December.[119]

Waterloo Region was the home of the first carsharing organization in Ontario in 1998. Community CarShare Cooperative (previously known as Grand River CarShare) provides access to vehicles on a self-serve, pay-per-use basis. Cars are located in many neighbourhoods around the Region. It is meant to complement other sustainable modes of transportation such as public transit, biking, and carpooling, or act as a transition out of owning a vehicle. Community CarShare has 27 vehicles stationed in the Region of Waterloo.

The region also owns and operates the Region of Waterloo International Airport, near Breslau. The airport is the 20th busiest in Canada as of December 2010[120] and underwent a major expansion in 2003. GO Transit and Via Rail provide rail services to the region on the Kitchener line.


Notable people

See also


  • "Economic Profile". Doing Business in the Region of Waterloo. Regional Municipality of Waterloo. Archived from the original on 20 August 2006. Retrieved 24 April 2006.


  1. ^ Statistic includes all persons that did not make up part of a visible minority or an indigenous identity.
  2. ^ Statistic includes total responses of "Chinese", "Korean", and "Japanese" under visible minority section on census.
  3. ^ Statistic includes total responses of "West Asian" and "Arab" under visible minority section on census.
  4. ^ Statistic includes total responses of "Filipino" and "Southeast Asian" under visible minority section on census.
  5. ^ Statistic includes total responses of "Visible minority, n.i.e." and "Multiple visible minorities" under visible minority section on census.
  1. ^ "Regional Municipality of Waterloo". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada.
  2. ^ "Regional Municipality of Waterloo (Code 3530) Census Profile". 2011 census. Government of Canada - Statistics Canada. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  3. ^ Outhit, Jeff (8 February 2017). "Waterloo Region growing but not as fast, census shows". Record. Kitchener. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0468-01 Gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices, by census metropolitan area (CMA) (x 1,000,000)". Statistics Canada.
  5. ^ "Waterloo, Regional municipality (RM) Ontario [Census division]". Statistics Canada. 9 February 2022. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  6. ^ "Canada's best cities for full-time jobs". 14 January 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  7. ^ Lennox, Paul A. (1993). "The Kassel and Blue Dart Sites: Two Components of the Early Archaic, Bifurcate Base Projectile Point Tradition, Waterloo County, Ontario" (PDF). Ontario Archaeology. 56. Ontario Archaeological Society: 1–31.
  8. ^ designthinking. "Home". Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  9. ^ Belshaw, John Douglas (13 April 2015), "5.6 Belief and Culture: The Wendat Experience", Canadian History: Pre-Confederation, BCcampus, retrieved 7 March 2021
  10. ^ a b "The Six Nations Confederacy During the American Revolution - Fort Stanwix National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)".
  11. ^ "Biography – DICKSON, WILLIAM – Volume VII (1836-1850) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography". Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Regional History – History of Waterloo County". Region of Waterloo. Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Absalom Shade b. 1792 , Wyoming Co., Pennsylvania d. 15 Mar 1862 Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada: Waterloo Region Generations". Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Mill Creek Galt | History". Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  15. ^ "City Archives Historical Information-Evolution of Galt".
  16. ^ "Waterloo's history". 8 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Remembering Our Underlying Aboriginal Heritage". Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  18. ^ "Archeological Find Unearthed in Kitchener". 22 October 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
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  20. ^ "Joseph (Schoerg) Sherk and Samuel D. Betzner". Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Schoerg farmstead: first permanent European settlement Two families from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, bought land along the Grand River from ]Beasley, establishing the first permanent European settlement in inland Upper Canada, which later became Waterloo County" (PDF). Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Kitchener council allows heritage homeowner to build a detached garage". 28 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  23. ^ "Empty for years, home to one of Waterloo Region's earliest Mennonite settlers gets makeover". 30 March 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  24. ^ "Betzner Farmstead 437, Pioneer Tower Road, City of Kitchener, Ontario, N2P, Canada". Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  25. ^ "Schoerg Homestead 381, Pioneer Tower Road, City of Kitchener, Ontario, N2P, Canada". Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Map of Block Number 2, German Company Tract, Waterloo Township, Ontario, 1805". Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  27. ^ "Schoerg farmstead: first permanent European settlement Two families from Franklin County, Pennsylvania, bought land along the Grand River from m Beasley, establishing the first permanent European settlement in inland Upper Canada" (PDF). Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  28. ^ A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and Other Townships of the County. éditeur non identifié. 1895. p. 25.
  29. ^ "The History of Blair, originally known as Shinglebridge". Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  30. ^ a b c d "History" (PDF). Waterloo Historical Society 1930 Annual Meeting. Waterloo Historical Society. 1930. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  31. ^ a b c "Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario History – To Confederation".
  32. ^ "Waterloo Township". Waterloo Region Museum Research. Region of Waterloo. 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2017. To correct the situation, a formal agreement was arranged between Brant and Beasley. This arrangement allowed Beasley to sell the bulk of Block Two in order to cover his mortgage obligations completely, while giving the Mennonite buyers legal title to land they had previously purchased. Beasley sold a 60,000 acre tract of land to the German Company of Pennsylvania represented by Daniel Erb and Samuel Bricker in November 1803. Beasley's sale to the German Company not only cleared him of a mortgage debt, but left him with 10,000 acres of Block Two land which he continued to sell into the 1830s.
  33. ^ a b c "Waterloo Township". Waterloo Region Museum Research. Region of Waterloo. 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  34. ^ Jackson, James (26 September 2018). "University of Waterloo researchers hoping to borrow corduroy road samples". Waterloo Region Record. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  35. ^ Jackson, James (10 May 2018). "Corduroy road gives a glimpse into Waterloo's past". Waterloo Region Record. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  36. ^ Csanady, Ashley (20 May 2016). "'It looked like a giant rib cage in the ground': The centuries-old origins of Silicon Valley north laid bare by LRT build". Canada's Historic Places. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  37. ^ A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and Other Townships of the County. éditeur non identifié. 1895. p. 86.
  38. ^ a b c "Historical Plaques of Waterloo County". Archived from the original on 12 March 2017.
  39. ^ "Mennonites – An Insider's Guide to Waterloo Region – Page 2".
  40. ^ "Biography – SCHNEIDER, JOSEPH – Volume VII (1836–1850) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography".
  41. ^ "Walper Hotel". Archived from the original on 7 May 2023. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  42. ^ "Berlin, Ontario until 1916". Rye & Ginger. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  43. ^ Breithaupt, William Henry (1927). "History of Waterloo County". In Middleton, Jesse Edgar; Landon, Fred (eds.). Province of Ontario – A History 1615 to 1927. Toronto: Dominion Publishing Company. p. 991.
  44. ^ "Historic Place Names of Waterloo County – Waterloo Township". Region of Waterloo. Archived from the original on 20 January 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  47. ^ mills, rych (14 July 2017). "Flash from the Past: Seven meetings that decided Waterloo County". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  48. ^ "Waterloo County Jail and Governor's House". Canada's Historic Places. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  49. ^ "Waterloo County Jail and Governor's House". Historic Places. Parks Canada. 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  50. ^ "Discovering the Region" (PDF). Doors Open, Region of Waterloo. Region of Waterloo. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 August 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  51. ^ "Waterloo County, Plaque 36". Historical Plaques of Waterloo County. Wayne Cook. 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  52. ^ Tyler, Tracey (3 January 2009). "When 'poorhouse' wasn't only an expression". Toronto Star. Toronto. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  53. ^ "CAMBRIDGE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON WATERLOO REGION'S LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT". Waterloo Region. Waterloo Region. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  54. ^ Mills, Rych (10 January 2017). "Flash From the Past: Preston Car and Coach goes up in smoke". Record. Kitchener. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  55. ^ "German Canadians". The Canadian Encyclopedia. The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  56. ^ a b "Full text of Waterloo County to 1972 : an annotated bibliography of regional history".
  57. ^ "Waterloo Region 1911". Waterloo Region WWI. University of Waterloo. 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  58. ^ "Friedensfest (1871)". Waterloo Region WWI. University of Waterloo. 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  59. ^ "Waterloo County, Plaque 24". Historical Plaques of Waterloo County. Wayne Cook. 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  60. ^ "Waterloo Region Pre-1914". Waterloo Region WWI. University of Waterloo. 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  61. ^ "Waterloo Region 1911". Waterloo Region WWI. University of Waterloo. 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  62. ^ "Mennonites and conscription – Wartime Canada".
  63. ^ D'Amato, Louisa (28 June 2014). "First World War ripped away Canada's 'age of innocence'". Kitchener Post, Waterloo Region Record. Kitchener. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  64. ^ "Kitchener mayor notes 100th year of name change".
  65. ^ " –".
  66. ^ "Old Order Mennonites". 31 March 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  67. ^ "Oktoberfest - Welcome". Archived from the original on 5 April 2014.
  68. ^ Baker, Jennifer K. (16 October 2016). "Oktoberfest 2016 comes to a close". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  69. ^ "Oktoberfest - Events". Archived from the original on 15 October 2015.
  70. ^ "Get to Know Us During Local Government Week". Waterloo Region. Waterloo Region. 10 October 2012. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  71. ^ "Kitchener meets its Waterloo". 28 July 2011.
  72. ^ "Meet Ken Seiling". Region of Waterloo. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2017.
  73. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data". Statistics Canada. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  74. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada and census divisions". Statistics Canada. 9 February 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  75. ^ "2021 Community Profiles". 2021 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. 4 February 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  76. ^ "2016 Community Profiles". 2016 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  77. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". 2011 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  78. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". 2006 Canadian Census. Statistics Canada. 20 August 2019.
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  84. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (27 October 2021). "Census Profile, 2016 Census". Retrieved 25 February 2023.
  85. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (27 November 2015). "NHS Profile". Retrieved 25 February 2023.
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  88. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (13 April 2021). "Table 35-10-0026-01 Crime severity index and weighted clearance rates, Canada, provinces, territories and Census Metropolitan Areas". Archived from the original on 19 November 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  89. ^ "Canada's Most Dangerous Places 2018: Explore the data". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  90. ^ "Canada's Most Dangerous Places 2019". Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  91. ^ WRAR (3 November 2023). "Home Sales Picked up in October but Still Subdued". Waterloo Region Association of REALTORS®. Archived from the original on 19 November 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  92. ^ "TRREB - Market Watch". Archived from the original on 19 November 2023. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  93. ^ "Canada's Silicon Valley". Bay Street Bull. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015.
  94. ^ Henry, Zoë (2 November 2015). "Why Waterloo, Ontario, Is the Silicon Valley of Canada". Inc.
  95. ^ "Waterloo Region firms top list of fastest-growing tech companies". Kitchener Post. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  96. ^ " Blog Post – Largest Employers in Waterloo and Kitchener". A list of the top 20 employers in Waterloo Region. Ranking and figures are for the number of employment positions each company has located in Waterloo Region, not global employment numbers
  97. ^ "25,500 in region are out of work; Downturn feels familiar". Research In Motion's local workforce has grown to more than 8,000 from 450 in early 2000
  98. ^ "Hospitals". Region of Waterloo. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  99. ^ "Waterloo Region hospitals rank well on readmissions, but wait times need work". Waterloo Region Record. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018. Area hospitals ranked well in patient readmissions, but wait times need improving.
  100. ^ "Long-Term Care Homes - Kitchener–Waterloo–Wellesley–Wilmot–Woolwich". Health Line. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  101. ^ "Kitchener, Cambridge get extra 148 long-term care beds". Waterloo Region Record. 5 October 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018. The Village of Winston Park in Kitchener will get 97 beds, and Saint Luke's Place in Cambridge will get 51.
  102. ^ "About GRH". GRH. 15 November 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  103. ^ "Freeport Campus: 3570 King Street East, Kitchener". GRH. 15 November 2017. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  104. ^ "Grand River Regional Cancer Centre celebrates 15 years of advanced cancer care this fall". GRH. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  105. ^ "Regional Cardiac Care Centre". SMGH. 15 September 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  106. ^ "About Us". SMGH. 15 September 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  107. ^ "Banks take control of Cambridge hospital project". Waterloo Region Record. 29 December 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018. BMO, as a lender and funder, called a performance bond to ensure there is funding to get the work done. Zurich Insurance is Bondfield's insurer.
  108. ^ "Doctor recruitment an ongoing issue in Waterloo Region". Waterloo Region Record. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018. Although recruitment efforts over the past 15 years or so have brought many new physicians to the area, many residents are without a family doctor.
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  113. ^ "Region settling with Bombardier for $2.2M, free Ion train". 21 August 2020.
  114. ^ Sharkey, Jackie (8 February 2017). "There's still wiggle room in the Region of Waterloo's LRT plans for Cambridge". CBC. CBC. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
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  116. ^ "Cambridge and its Influence on Waterloo Region's Light Rail Transit". Waterloo Region. Waterloo Region. 19 January 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017. the first electric line running up Water and King Streets from Galt to the Mineral Springs Hotel across the Speed River in Preston ... Next, the train line extended north of Kitchener and a spur line ran into Hespeler.
  117. ^ "LRT Cambridge proposed route announced".
  118. ^ "Council approves preliminary design for Stage 2 ION".
  119. ^ "Region begins environmental assessment for Cambridge LRT". 10 December 2020.
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  121. ^ "Honoured Member: Father David Bauer". Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
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  123. ^ "Rev William David Bauer". Region of Waterloo. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
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Regional Municipality of Waterloo
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