Waterloo, Ontario

Waterloo is a city in Ontario, Canada. It is the smallest of three cities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (and previously in Waterloo County, Ontario), and is adjacent to the city of Kitchener.

City of Waterloo
Uptown Waterloo, looking south down King Street.

"The Tri-Town", "The 'Loo", "K–W"
Location of Waterloo in Ontario
Coordinates: 43°28′N 80°31′W
Country Canada
Province Ontario
IncorporatedMay 27, 1857
  MayorDave Jaworsky
  Governing BodyWaterloo City Council
  City CAOTim Anderson
  MPBardish Chagger (Liberal)
  MPPCatherine Fife (NDP)
  Land64.02 km2 (24.72 sq mi)
329 m (1,079 ft)
  City (lower-tier)104,986 (51st)
  Density1,520.7/km2 (3,939/sq mi)
523,894 (10th)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Forward sortation area
N2J to N2L, N2T to N2V
Area code(s)519 and 226

Kitchener and Waterloo are often jointly referred to as "Kitchener–Waterloo", "KW", or the "Twin Cities" (when the reference includes the nearby city of Cambridge, Ontario, the term "Tri-Cities" or "the Tri-City" are used). While there were several unsuccessful attempts to combine the municipalities of Kitchener and Waterloo, following the 1973 establishment of the Region of Waterloo there was less motivation to do so. At the time of the 2016 census, the population of Waterloo was 104,986.[1]


The Haldimand Proclaimation was a land grant to the Iroquois to compensate for their wartime alliance with the British during the American Revolution.[4] Block Number 2 (aka Block 2) was purchased by Richard Beasley from Joseph Brant (on behalf of the Six Nations in 1796) with a mortgage held by the Six Nations. Block 2, 94,012 acres in size, was situated in the District of Gore. To meet his mortgage obligations Beasley had to sell portions of the land to settlers.[5] This was counter to the original mortgage agreement, but subsequent changes to the agreement were made to permit land sales.

Mennonites from Pennsylvania counties Lancaster and Montgomery were the first wave of immigrants to the area.[6] In the year 1800 alone Beasley sold over 14,000 acres to Mennonite settlers.

A group of 26 Mennonites from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania pooled their resources into the German Company of Pennsylvania which was then represented by Daniel Erb and Samuel Bricker.[7] The Company purchase all the unsold land from Beasley in 1803 resulting in a discharge of the mortgage held by the Six Nations. This discharge allowed Beasley to clear his obligation with the Six Nations, and allowed the settlers to have deeds to their purchased land.[8] The payment to Beasley, in cash, arrived from Pennsylvania in kegs, carried in a wagon surrounded by armed guards.[9]

Many of the pioneers that arrived from Pennsylvania after November 1803 bought land in a 60,000 acre tract of Block 2 from the German Company of Pennsylvania. The tract included almost two-thirds of Block 2. Many of the first farms were least four hundred acres in size.[10]

The Mennonites divided the land into smaller lots; two lots owned by Abraham Erb became the central core of Waterloo. Erb, often called the founder of Waterloo, had come to the area in 1806 from Franklin County, Pennsylvania. He bought 900 acres of bush land in 1806 from the German Company and founded a sawmill (1808) and grist mill (1816); these the focal point of the area. The grist mill operated continuously for 111 years. Other early settlers of what would become Waterloo included Samuel and Elia Schneider who arrived in 1816. Until about 1820, settlements such as this were quite small.[10][11]

In 1816 the new Waterloo Township was officially incorporated while being named after Waterloo, Belgium, the site of the Battle of Waterloo (1815), which had ended the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.[12] After that war, the new township became a popular destination for German immigrants. By the 1840s, 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 to Kitchener in 1916).

By 1831, Waterloo had a small post office in the King and Erb Street area, operated by Daniel Snyder, some 11 years before one would open in neighbouring Berlin.[13] The Smith's Canadian Gazetteer of 1846 states that the Township of Waterloo (smaller than Waterloo County) consisted primarily of Pennsylvanian Mennonites and immigrants directly from Germany who had brought money with them. At the time, many did not speak English. There were eight grist and twenty saw mills in the township. In 1841, the population count was 4424. In 1846 the village of Waterloo had a population of 200, "mostly Germans". There was a grist mill and a sawmill and some tradesmen.[14] By comparison, Berlin (Kitchener) had a population of about 400, also "mostly German", and more tradesmen than the village of Waterloo.[15]

Berlin was chosen as the site of the seat for the County of Waterloo in 1853. By 1869, the population was 2000.[16] Waterloo was incorporated as a village in 1857 and became the Town of Waterloo in 1876 and the City of Waterloo in 1948.

In 2016, a corduroy road was unearthed in the King St. area of the business district; a second section was discovered near the Conestoga mall. 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.[17][18]


Waterloo's city centre is near the intersection of King and Erb streets. Since 1961, the centrepiece has been the Waterloo Town Square shopping centre, which underwent a thorough renovation in 2006. Much of the mall was torn down and has been 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, as Kitchener had been the dominant centre, and Waterloo was a small town on the Kitchener's north side. Waterloo surged into a significant City in the third-quarter of the 20th Century, due in large part to its role as a university city. It has also benefited with the growth of insurance companies. Waterloo has prospered with the relationship between the Tech Sector, which has blossomed, and the University of Waterloo whose technology graduates have excelled. Blackberry, formerly Research In Motion, is the best example.

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. Amidst some controversy, all were demolished between 1965 and 1969.


There are five main parks in the city:

  1. RIM Park occupies 200 hectares (490 acres) and is home to a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, including an eighteen-hole golf course, and the heritage Martin Farm House.
  2. Waterloo Park is in Uptown Waterloo, and contains historical buildings, a bandshell, animal displays, and the Lions' Lagoon water park in its 45 hectares (110 acres). A grandstand was built in 1895 to house spectators for sporting events at the park's former oval track, but it was torn down in 1953.[19] A Park Inn refreshment booth opened in June 1956, designed by a former Alderman, Charlie Voelker. It operates from May until September. The park is also known for its light displays during the Christmas holiday season, known as "Wonders of Winter".[20]
  3. Bechtel Park occupies 44 hectares (110 acres) and has many outdoor sporting facilities along with wetlands, meadows and hardwood forest. The park also includes an off-leash dog park, and adjacent city-operated cemetery. Hillside Park covers 25 hectares (62 acres) and includes two lighted ball diamonds.
  4. Lexington Park includes a ball diamond and a soccer pitch on the former site of the K-W Municipal Airport.
  5. Laurel Creek Conservation Area, at 300 hectares (740 acres), lies in the northwest of the city.


The Grand River flows southward along the city's east side. Its most significant tributary within the city is Laurel Creek, whose source lies just to the west of the city limits and its mouth just to the east, and crosses much of the city's central areas, including the University of Waterloo lands and Waterloo Park; it flows under the uptown area in a culvert. In the city's west end, the Waterloo Moraine provides over 300,000 people in the region with drinking water. Much of the gently hilly Waterloo Moraine underlies existing developed areas. Ongoing urban growth, mostly low-density residential suburbs (in accordance with requests by land developers), will cover increasing amounts of the remaining undeveloped portions of the Waterloo Moraine.

Uptown looking Northwest from the Uptown Parkade. Landmarks visible include the Marsland Centre on the extreme left and Waterloo City Hall on the extreme right.


The Climate of Waterloo is Humid continental (Köppen) (Dfb)

Climate data for Waterloo Regional Airport (1981−2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high humidex 13.4 13.0 28.0 33.7 39.6 43.2 47.7 48.3 41.2 34.5 24.4 22.1 48.3
Record high °C (°F) 14.2
Average high °C (°F) −2.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.5
Average low °C (°F) −10.3
Record low °C (°F) −31.9
Record low wind chill −40.5 −37.1 −30.2 −20.6 −8.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 −4.1 −11.9 −22.2 −31.2 −40.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 65.2
Average rainfall mm (inches) 28.7
Average snowfall cm (inches) 43.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 18.2 14.2 13.8 13.7 12.4 12.0 10.6 10.7 12.2 13.9 16.4 18.1 166.0
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 5.6 5.0 6.9 11.5 12.4 12.0 10.6 10.7 12.2 13.7 11.6 6.9 118.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 16.1 11.9 9.0 3.3 0.18 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.91 6.5 14.4 62.2
Average relative humidity (%) (at 6am) 86.4 83.4 84.8 84.4 84.7 87.0 90.1 93.6 94.3 90.6 87.6 87.1 87.8
Source: Environment Canada[21]

Waterloo has a humid continental climate of the warm summer subtype (Dfb under the Köppen climate classification); this means that there are large seasonal differences, usually very warm to hot (and humid) summers and cold (to very cold) winters. Compared to the rest of Canada, it has moderate weather. Winter temperatures generally last from the middle of December until the middle of March, while summer temperatures generally occur between the middle of May to close to the end of September. Temperatures can exceed 30℃ (86℉) several times a year. Waterloo has approximately 140 frost-free days per year.


Census Population
1841 200
1871 1,594
1881 2,066
1891 2,941
1901 3,537
1911 4,359
1921 5,883
1931 8,095
1941 8,968
1951 11,991
1961 21,366
1971 36,677
1981 49,428
1991 71,181
2001 86,543
2006 97,475
2011 98,780
2016 104,986

Many locals are of ethnic German descent. There is also a strong Mennonite presence. The universities and colleges along with its thriving technology and electronics presence attract a large number of individuals from elsewhere in Canada and the world.

The population according to the 2016 Canadian Census is 104,986[22] (Sources other than the census may indicate higher numbers due to treatment of the student population.)

According to the Canada 2011 Census,[23] the population of Waterloo was 98,780, a 1.3% increase from 2006. The population density was 1,542.9 people per square km. The median age was 37.6 years old, lower than the national median age at 40.6 years old. There are 42,984 private dwellings with an occupancy rate of 87.3%.

Canada 2016 Census[24] Population % of Total
Visible minority group South Asian 6,650 6.4%
Chinese 9,565 9.3%
Black 1,990 1.9%
Filipino 545 0.5%
Latin American 1,405 1.4%
Arab 1,870 1.8%
Southeast Asian 1,185 1.1%
West Asian 1,150 1.1%
Korean 1,170 1.1%
Japanese 225 0.2%
Visible Minority n.i.e 610 0.6%
Multiple Visible Minorities 905 0.9%
Total visible minority population 27,265 26.4%
Aboriginal group First Nations 1,595 1.5%
Métis 655 0.6%
Inuit 25 0.0%
Total Aboriginal population 2,205 2.1%
White 73,920 71.5%
Total - 25% sample data 103,390 100%

The most common ethnic origins in Waterloo according to the 2016 Census are German (23.3%), English (23.1%), Canadian (21.2%), Scottish (18.3%), Irish (17.4%), Chinese (9.9%), French (8.4%), Dutch (5.0%), Polish (5.0%) and East Indian (4.7%).[25]

From the 2001 census data, excluding post-secondary students temporarily residing in Waterloo, residents are predominately Chrisitan, with 43.1% affiliated with Protestantism and 27.8% affiliated with Catholicism. No affiliation is the third largest group with 17.5% of the population. Other religion minorities include 2.8% Muslim, and 1.6% Hindu.[26]


According to the 2016 Canadian Census, The City of Waterloo has a median household income (after tax) of $72239. This is significantly higher than the national median of $61348. The unemployment rate in Waterloo (6.9%) is lower than the national rate of 7.7%. The median value of a dwelling in Waterloo ($399997) is higher than the national median of $341556.[27]

Waterloo has a strong knowledge- and service-based economy with significant insurance and high-tech sectors as well as two universities.[28] The city's largest employers are Sun Life Financial, the University of Waterloo, Manulife Financial, BlackBerry, Sandvine and Wilfrid Laurier University.[29]

The city is also home to three well-known think tanks – the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, an advanced centre for the study of foundational, theoretical physics and award-winning educational outreach in science; the Institute for Quantum Computing, based at the University of Waterloo, which carries out innovative research in computer, engineering, mathematical and physical sciences; and the Centre for International Governance Innovation, an independent, nonpartisan think tank that addresses international governance challenges.

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.[28] The dominant technology company in the city is BlackBerry, makers of the BlackBerry, which has its headquarters in the city and owns several office buildings near the University of Waterloo's main campus.

Notable Waterloo-based high-tech companies include:

Many other high-tech companies, with headquarters elsewhere, take advantage of the concentration of high-tech employees in the Waterloo area, and have research and development centres there. Shopify, SAP, Google, Oracle, Intel, McAfee, NCR Corporation, Electronic Arts and Agfa are among the large, international technology companies with development offices in Waterloo.

Before it became known for technology, Waterloo was sometimes[30] referred to as "the Hartford of Canada" because of the many insurance companies based in the area.[6] Manulife, Sun Life Financial, Equitable Life of Canada and Economical Insurance have a large 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. The Brick Brewing Company operated in Waterloo, but is now based in Kitchener. Waterloo was the original home of distiller Seagram (also home town of many descendants of J.P. Seagram), which closed its Waterloo plant in 1992. Of the remaining Seagram buildings, one became home of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), while others were converted into condominiums.

The city encourages location filming of movies and TV series and many have taken advantage of Waterloo locations. Recent titles include Downsizing (released in 2017), The Demolisher (2015) and Degrassi: The Next Generation (2015).[31]

Largest employers in the city of Waterloo

The largest employers in the city of Waterloo are:[32]

Arts and culture

Events and festivals

  • Winterloo (previously called the Ice Dogs Festival) – February
  • GO! Music Festival – March
  • Waterloo County & Area Quilt Festival – May
  • Uptown Country Festival – June
  • Canada Day Fireworks, Columbia Lake Fields – July 1
  • Waterloo Jazz Festival – July
  • Afro Festival- July
  • Serbian Food Festival - July
  • Waterloo Busker Carnival: Canada's premier busker carnival - August
  • Serbian Days – St. George and Holy Trinity Orthodox Church of KW
  • CAFKA: International Biennale of Contemporary Art – September
  • KW Flying Dutchmen Scale Rally Model Airplane Show - September
  • Royal Medieval Faire – September
  • Expressions of Social Justice Festival – September
  • Oktoberfest Parade – October
  • Kitchener–Waterloo Oktoberfest: the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany – October
  • Santa Claus Parade – November
  • World Religions Conference : the largest multi-faith event of its kind in Canada featuring the world's major religions – October–November
  • Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema – November
  • Wonders of Winter (festival of lights) – December
  • Cinematheque Waterloo – Year round
  • International Olympiad in Informatics(IOI)
  • Tour De Waterloo - June

LGBT culture

The Kitchener-Waterloo region is home to tri-Pride[36] and the Rainbow Reels Queer and Trans Film Festival.[37] Unlike most LGBT pride events, tri-Pride does not currently organize a parade, but instead is centred on an afternoon music festival on the final weekend.


Waterloo is home to several notable tourist attractions and areas of interest. These include:

Other nearby attractions include:


There are two lawn bowling clubs serving Waterloo: Heritage Greens LBC and Kitchener LBC, which both function as part of District 7 of the Ontario Lawn Bowling Association. Both clubs offer programs for all ages.

There are three sports teams and two university varsity teams.

Both play at Ontario University Athletics of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.


Waterloo City Council consists of seven councillors, each representing a ward, and a mayor. The number of wards expanded from five to seven in the November 2006 elections. The current mayor of Waterloo is Dave Jaworsky, who was elected in October 2014.[38] The current Waterloo City Council is constituted as follows:

  • Ward 1 (Southwest): Sandra Hanmer
  • Ward 2 (Northwest): Royce Bodaly
  • Ward 3 (Lakeshore): Angela Vieth
  • Ward 4 (Northeast): Diane Freeman
  • Ward 5 (Southeast): Jen Vasic
  • Ward 6 (Central-Columbia): Jeff Henry
  • Ward 7 (Uptown): Tenille Bonoguore

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.

Waterloo was part of Waterloo County, Ontario until 1973 when a restructuring created 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. The Region handles many services, including paramedic services, policing, waste management, recreation, planning, roads and social services.[39]

In federal politics, the city of Waterloo is entirely within the electoral district of the same name. In provincial politics, the city is within the Kitchener–Waterloo electoral district.

The Waterloo Award

The Waterloo Award, established in 1997, is the highest civic honour a person can receive from the City of Waterloo.[40]




The Conestoga Parkway, numbered as Highway 85 within Waterloo, connects Waterloo with Kitchener, Highway 7/8 (the continuation of the Conestoga Parkway), Ontario Highway 8, Highway 401 and Cambridge south of Highway 401.

Waterloo shares several of its north-south arterial roads with neighbouring Kitchener. They include (from east to west) Bridge Street, Weber Street, King Street, Westmount Road, Fischer-Hallman Road, and Ira Needles Boulevard. Regina Street (between Weber and King Streets) and Albert Street (between King Street and Westmount Road) are north-south collector roads entirely within Waterloo.

The city's east-west thoroughfares are almost entirely within city limits, with the exception of Union Street, which has a small section in Kitchener, and Bridgeport Road which has its eastern end in the Bridgeport area of Kitchener. Waterloo's major east-west arterial roads are (from south to north) Union Street, Erb Street, Bridgeport Road, University Avenue, Columbia Street, and Northfield Drive.

There are numerous bicycle pathways. The Iron Horse Trail, which originates in Kitchener, enters Uptown Waterloo and links with the Laurel Trail that extends into the northern part of the city.

As of early 2017, construction of Phase 1 of the Region of Waterloo's light rail project was about 90 per cent complete[41] although other major road reconstruction projects scheduled for 2017 and 2018 will bring new detours.

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 for runs from downtown Cambridge to Fairview Park Mall in south Kitchener to Conestoga Mall in north Waterloo. The ION light rail system is currently under construction and will supplement and integrate with the bus network upon completion.

Light rapid transit

The Galt, Preston and Hespeler electric railway (later called the Grand River Railway) began to operate in 1894 connecting Preston and Galt. In 1911, the line reached Hespeler, Kitchener (then called Berlin) and Waterloo; by 1916 it had been extended to Brantford/Port Dover.[42][43] The electric rail system ended passenger services in April, 1955, leaving the city and region with no local rail services for more than 60 years.

In June 2011, Waterloo Region council confirmed approval of the plan for a light rail transit line between Conestoga Mall in north Waterloo and Fairview Park Mall in south Kitchener, with rapid buses through to the "downtown Galt" area of Cambridge.[44] In this Stage 1, the Ion rapid transit train will run through the downtown/uptown areas of Kitchener and Waterloo.

Construction on the light rail system began in August 2014 and the Stage 1 service was expected to begin in 2017. Most of the rails had been installed by the end of 2016; the maintenance facility and all underground utility work had been completed.[45] The start date of service was postponed to early 2018, however, because of delays in the manufacture and delivery of the vehicles by Bombardier Transportation. As of 24 February 2017, only a single sample of a train car had arrived for testing.[46]

Until light rail transit is extended to the "downtown Galt" area of Cambridge from Kitchener in Stage 2, rapid transit will be provided by bus; adapted iXpress buses will run between Fairview Park Mall and the Ainslie Street Transit Terminal.[47][48] In late February 2017, plans for the Stage 2 (Cambridge section) of the Ion rail service were still in the very early stage; public consultations were just getting started at the time.[49][50]


Waterloo is not currently served by 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 transit terminal. A tourist train that previously ran out of Waterloo Station was moved to depart from St. Jacobs Farmers' Market when construction began on the ION Light Rail line.

The nearest GO Transit railway station is Kitchener GO Station, as the Kitchener Line (formerly the Georgetown Line) has extended to Kitchener on December 19, 2011. In addition, Waterloo is served by GO buses which stop at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, with destinations of Square One City Centre Terminal, Milton GO Station, and York University.

In May 2007, city council gave approval for a non-profit tourist train to run between Waterloo Station[51] and St. Jacobs, reviving the route of the Waterloo-St. Jacobs Railway from the late 1990s. In 2015, the railway lost regular running rights south of Northfield Drive to make way for the Ion rapid transit project. All Market Train service now departs from the St. Jacobs Farmers Market. The Waterloo Central Railway are run on trains at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm from April to November. The Waterloo Station continues to operate as a Visitor & Heritage Information Centre[51] and is at 10 Father David Bauer Drive.

Intercity transport

In addition to GO bus services mentioned above, Coach Canada offers service from the Charles St. Terminal in Kitchener to McMaster University and Hamilton, Ontario, with various stops, including Sheffield, Rockton and Dundas in between.[52] Greyhound buses to Toronto Bus Terminal also service Waterloo at a stop on the University of Waterloo campus, with some trips operating via Guelph.


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 travelers use Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport or John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. WestJet has scheduled daily non-stop service to Calgary from Waterloo International Airport using Boeing 737-700 aircraft in winter season and larger Boeing 737-800 aircraft in spring and summer season. They started service out of Region of Waterloo International Airport on May 14, 2007, for the summer season and then decided to fly year-round due to strong passenger demand. During the winter months Sunwing Airlines offers service to Dominican Republic. Recent upgrades to the runways, approach lighting and terminal building have permitted larger aircraft to use this airport. Airlines that no longer serve the airport include Trillium and Bearskin (to Ottawa), Mesaba (Northwest Airlines' feeder to Detroit), American Airlines (to Chicago) and Sky Service (to sun destinations).

Health care

Hospital services in the region are provided by Grand River Hospital which includes a Freeport Campus and St. Mary's General Hospital, both in Kitchener, as well as Cambridge Memorial Hospital.[53] All three were highly ranked for safety in a national comparison study in 2017-2018, particularly the two in Kitchener, but all would benefit from reduced wait times.[54] Long-term care beds are provided at numerous facilities.[55]

Grand River Hospital has a capacity of 574-beds; the Freeport location was merged into it in April 1995.[56] That secondary campus provides complex continuing care, rehabilitation, longer-term specialized mental health and other services.[57] The King St. location is also the home of the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre which opened in 2003.[58] 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.[59][60] As of late 2018, Cambridge Memorial had 143 beds but was in the midst of a major expansion expected to be completed in 2021.[61]

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.[62]

Announced January 2006, as a new School of Medicine, the Waterloo Regional Campus of McMaster University was completed in 2009. In 2018, the Waterloo 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.[63]


The Intelligent Community Forum named Waterloo the Top Intelligent Community of 2007.[64]


Until the 1960s, with a few minor exceptions, Waterloo students would attend high school in Berlin/Kitchener. In 1914, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary added a high school department, named the College School, primarily to provide secondary education for prospective seminary students. The College School was discontinued in 1929. Between 1940 and 1950, due to overcrowding in Kitchener–Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School, some grade nine classes were housed in Elizabeth Ziegler Public School.

Starting in the 1960s, several high schools opened in Waterloo. In 1958 it was announced that Waterloo would have its own secondary school. A $1,247,268 school was built on a 20-acre (81,000 m2) site on Hazel Street. Waterloo Collegiate Institute opened on September 6, 1960. In 1968, Laurel Vocational School (later University Heights Secondary School) opened, and in 1972 Waterloo's third public high school, Bluevale Collegiate Institute, opened. In 1965, St. David Senior School, which served grades 7–10, opened in the north of the city. St. David was turned into a high school in 1985 and was renamed St. David Catholic Secondary School. University Heights Secondary School closed in 2004 and Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School opened that same year.

As of 2007, there were five 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). two are operated by the Waterloo Catholic District School Board: St. David Catholic Secondary School and Resurrection Catholic Secondary School.


The main campuses of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are in Waterloo. This includes the many associated universities and colleges, including St. Jerome's University, St. Paul's University College, Conrad Grebel University College, Renison University College and the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Kitchener-based Conestoga College also has a Waterloo campus, 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 after the University Heights building was acquired.



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