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Waterloo Travel Guide

Waterloo is a university and high-tech city in Ontario with a reputation for being a smart and intelligent community. It is part of the three cities that make up the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. Among the members of this municipality, Waterloo is actually the smallest, smaller than Kitchener and Cambridge, and has a population of only about 100,000 that fluctuates depending on whether or not university students are included in the count.

The first settlers in the area were Mennonites from Pennsylvania. They bought up land from the Iroquois and divided them into smaller lots. In the early 1800s, the town became a popular destination for German immigrants, and they soon outnumbered the Mennonites. Today, half of the population of Waterloo are of German descent.

The heart of Waterloo is the intersection of Erb and King street at the Waterloo Town Square, which features a shopping centre and storefronts along the streets. Any shopping in Waterloo should be done in this area.

Waterloo is also famous for its Farmers’ Markets. There are two held in the city: the County Market, which, like the Kitchener market in Kitchener, is open on Saturdays throughout the year, and on Wednesday mornings from June to early October, and the Stock­yard Farmers' Market, which is open on Thursday and Saturday mornings throughout the year.

Those with a healthy interest in alcohol may be interested to know that in Waterloo the old Seagram distillery barrel warehouse at 57 Erb Street West now houses the Seagram Museum. The museum is devoted to the history and processes in­volved in wine and spirits production, which are explained in displays and films. Also in Waterloo, just off King Street are the pleasant campuses of the Universities of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier. The Univer­sity of Waterloo has an art gallery, the Earth Sciences Museum, and the Museum of Games, and there are changing displays of various kinds at the Concourse Gallery in Laurier.

There are five main parks in Waterloo that provide settings for leisure and recreation. The Waterloo Park is located uptown and features a few historical buildings, animal displays, and the Lions Lagoon water park, which covers over 110 acres of land. In the Christmas holiday season, this park is lit up with colorful lights.

For outdoor sports, the Bechtel, Hillside, and Lexington Parks are the way to go. These parks provide outdoor sports facilities like soccer pitches and baseball diamonds. If you are into golf, check out the RIM Park. It not only features the heritage Martin Farm House, but also an 18-hole golf course.

Kayakers, canoeists, and rowers should visit the Grand River, which flows just south along the Waterloo’s east side.

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