Imagine a place where you can glimpse into the future through the cutting edge of Technology or back in time as a horse-drawn buggy clops by. Imagine the excitement of big-city life with world-renowned festivals and attractions, and yet being close enough to escape into the stillness of the surrounding countryside. With a population of over half a million, Waterloo Region is made up of 3 vibrant cities: Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, and 4 pastoral townships: North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich. Each and every one of these locations offer its own unique charm and character with boutique shops, farmers' markets, a variety of restaurants and thriving public squares.
Take a moment and choose the excitement of bustling urban centers with unique restaurants and microbreweries to sample, or the slower pace and old-world charm of the surrounding countryside. No matter what your mood, Waterloo Region has it for you to explore. Building on a strong heritage of connecting communities and bringing family and friends together, Waterloo Region has an astonishing array of festivals and events throughout the year.
Take part in the intoxicating atmosphere of the Blues Festival, the oom pah pa of the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest - the largest celebration of Bavarian heritage outside of Germany - or settle into the old world way of rural splendor with Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.
Plunge into adventure at exciting local attractions including Bingeman's Big Splash waterpark and the exotic world of animals at the African Lion Safari, or take a quiet stroll amongst thousands of free-flying butterflies in the lush tropical gardens of the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. No visit to the Region would be complete without experiencing the wonder of the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market - the largest year-round market in Canada. With hundreds of vendors, some Old Order Mennonite, the market comes alive with the sounds, scents and colors of the rural landscape.
Cambridge Farmers' Market
Cambridge has a rich cultural history reflected in the picturesque limestone buildings lining the Grand and Speed Rivers. It offers live theater, museums and Canada's longest continually operating farmers' market, The Cambridge Farmers' Market, which has been in operation circa 1830 making it one of the oldest markets in the country. There are vendors who sell fresh meats, fresh baked goods, cheese, cold cuts and sausage, European breads, baked goods, fresh poultry, maple syrup and honey, farm fresh eggs, ethnic foods, as well as homemade crafts and one of a kind items.
In an era when treasured landmarks are often sacrificed in the name of progress, Castle Kilbride stands as a monument to our heritage and traditions, and the commitment that the people of Wilmot Township have made to preserve their heritage. It was built in Baden in 1877 by James Livingston and named after his birthplace in Scotland. Seen from the road, it dominates its surroundings with its clean Italianate design capped by a towering belvedere. Its attractive external appearance, however, is overshadowed by its amazing interior décor, which in its own right classifies it as artistry of international significance.
Waterloo Region Museum and Doon Heritage Village
Waterloo Region Museum is the largest community museum in Ontario which tells the story of Waterloo Region and showcases local and travelling exhibits from around the World. Waterloo Region Museum is open daily and is the entrance to Doon Heritage Village. Doon Heritage Village is open seasonally from May to December and is a picturesque 60 acre living history village that shows visitors what life was like in Waterloo Region in 1914. The village comes to life with knowledgeable interpreters dressed in authentic 1914 clothing and features historic buildings, farm animals and fun activities the whole family will enjoy.
Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory
Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is situated on a 117 acre site which includes the environmental sensitive Kossuth Bog, the 25,000 square foot facility includes a 10,800 square foot indoor tropical garden featuring 1000's of free flying butterflies from all over the World, over 100 different varieties of tropical plants, waterfalls, streams, reflecting pools, tropical finches, Chinese painted quail and red-eared slider turtles.
African Lion Safari
Go "On Safari" and Get closer than you ever imagined to over 1000 exotic birds and animals that roam free as you set on a trek along 9 km of safari trail in your own vehicle or aboard a Safari Tour Bus. Enjoy nature tours, bird, animal performances, and pet's corner.
Canoeing the Grand
Enjoy canoe, kayak, tubing, cycling, and hiking trip service on the Grand River and its trails from Elora Gorge Park to Cambridge, from April to November. More than 10 different trips are available from 1 hour to 3 days (Camp 'n' Canoe) in duration. Paddle from Elora Gorge to Cambridge and all points in between.
Elmira is the largest community within the Township of Woolwich in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo and is located 15 kilometers (9 miles) to the north of the city of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.
St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway
St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway is an O scale (1/4"=1') model railway depicting Southern Ontario in the late 1950's. Hand built models of both our major railways, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, run on their separate rights of way. Watch freight trains being made up in terminal yards, and then switched along their routes. See lighted passenger cars, with full interior detailing, recreate the era of the great passenger trains, as they depart major urban terminals and then pass suburban stations and small rural depots. Models of both late steam locomotives and first generation diesels, authentically detailed for specific prototypes, provide the power. The trains run through a completely scenic countryside, passing fields, rivers, towns, a large city, even part of the Niagara Escarpment. You may recognize many of the industries and structures, which are based on real ones in the area.
St. Jacobs Country
St. Jacobs was settled in 1820 and officially named in 1852. St. Jacobs was first known as "Jakobstettel" which means "Jacob's Village" or "James's Village". It is renowned for Canada's largest year around Farmers Market and the charming Village of St Jacobs, and is also home to a population of approx. 4,000 Old Order Mennonites who farm the surrounding countryside.
Waterloo Central Railway
The Waterloo Central Railway operates historic trains between Waterloo and St. Jacobs via the Farmers Market. The trains run from April to December and feature numerous special events.