|Kitchener-Waterloo: Statisical Summary|
|Population (City):||Kitchener 204 668 (2006c); 190 399 (2001c)|
|Waterloo 97 475 (2006c); 86 543 (2001c)|
|Population (CMA):||451 235 (2006c); 414 284 (2001c)|
|Rate of Increase (City):||Kitchener 7.5% (2001-2006); 6.7% (1996-2001)*|
|Waterloo 12.6% (2001-2006); 11.0% (1996-2001)*|
|Rate of Increase (CMA):||8.9% (2001-2006); 8.2% (1996-2001)*|
|Rank in Canada (by CMA in 2006):||Eleventh|
|Year of Incorporation (City):||Kitchener 1912|
|Land Area:||(City) Kitchener 136.89 km2, Waterloo 64.10 km2; (CMA) 827.07 km2|
|Elevation:||Kitchener 320 m; Waterloo 317 m|
|Average Daily Temperature July:||19.8ºC|
|Average Daily Temperature January:||-7.1ºC|
|Yearly Precipitation:||907.9 mm|
|*Based on 2001 boundaries|
Kitchener and Waterloo were originally part of a tract of over 243 000 ha set aside by the British Crown in 1784 as a reserve for the Six Nations. In 1798 this land was subdivided and sold, Block 2 becoming the future Waterloo Township (1816). Purchased first by speculators, then in 1805 by Pennsylvania MENNONITES, it was the nucleus of a large GERMAN-speaking settlement, swelled by the 19th-century exodus from Germany of skilled craftsmen, artisans and tradesmen as well as farmers and agricultural labourers. Both communities were incorporated as villages in the 1850s, Kitchener being known then as Berlin. (It was renamed for Field Marshall Lord Horatio H. Kitchener in 1916.)
Early development of the communities was determined primarily by the entrepreneurial skills and cohesive nature of the German community. At the beginning of the 20th century, 70% of the inhabitants of Berlin and Waterloo were of Germanic origin. Economic growth was aided by Berlin's location on the GRAND TRUNK RAILWAY. An effective system of municipal support, "bonusing" for industrial growth, led by prominent German-Canadian families, and a business ethic related to the "Made-In-Berlin" label on its manufactured goods, aided Berlin's and later Kitchener's industrial pre-eminence in the area. Waterloo became the centre of the insurance industry and since 1911, of post-secondary education.
Only after 1900 did external investment and branch-plant industries, particularly in rubber and automotive parts, begin to affect Kitchener and Waterloo. The transmission of inexpensive NIAGARA FALLS hydroelectric power to Berlin in 1910 - the first inland Ontario community to be able to have access to this new source of power - reinforced the industrial growth of the communities.
Direct access to Highway 401, the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, in 1960 had a major impact, creating new industrial parks near the highway. The location of 2 major universities in Waterloo (UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO and WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY) and of Conestoga College in Kitchener, also attracted businesses interested in computer-related high technology.
Pragmatism rather than aesthetics determined the location of both city cores, built on swampy terrain not suitable for agriculture for the Mennonite pioneers. The first urban settlements were located along the Great Road (later Highway 8) from DUNDAS, although the orientation of industries along the route of the railway also imposed a separate, discordant street pattern on Kitchener, but much less so in Waterloo. The urban boundaries encroached only slowly on the existing farmlands, with no large annexations until the post-war population explosion in the 1950s, and since then the demand for land has been insatiable.
In the 1890s the communities took advantage of new legislation to create large centrally located parks - Waterloo Park (1890) and Kitchener's Victoria Park (1896) - and these have remained prominent in the lives of both cities. Meandering down the eastern side of the cities is the Grand River. Recognition of its historical and ecological attributes has led to the river's designation as a CANADIAN HERITAGE RIVER.
Early housing, almost entirely of brick, was built in a local Germanic vernacular style. Since the early 20th century housing styles have conformed to national stereotypes: bungalows, ranch style, Gothic and Tudor with recent attempts to recreate a Victorian ambience amidst ever-expanding new sub-divisions. Strenuous efforts have been made to halt the erosion of the cities' central business core districts, with Waterloo being much more successful than Kitchener, but the battle is ongoing. The demolition of Kitchener's historic city hall (1974) led to a renewed interest in historic architecture and historic walking tours have become a popular pastime. The opening of Kitchener's award-winning "new" city hall in 1993 has successfully focused attention on its city centre.
The prevalent German language and culture of Kitchener and Waterloo at the turn of the century made the cities unique in Ontario. German immigration had been insignificant since the 1870s, and by 1941 less than half the population saw itself as German. In the aftermath of World War II, Kitchener and its citizens led the nation in first welcoming new German refugees who fled or were expelled from eastern Europe (Romania, Yugoslavia, Poland and the USSR). It has since retained its place as one of the centres in Canada most likely to receive refugees, aided by its vibrant local economy.
By the 1970s the cities were once more extolling their German identity through an annual Oktoberfest, which has become a national tourist attraction. As many as 600 000 attend the week-long celebration, while the Oktoberfest parade is broadcast on national television.
Other ethnic groups - POLES, GREEKS, PORTUGUESE, ITALIANS, CHINESE, WEST INDIANS , Serbs and Croatians and British, among many others - have created a new population mixture making the 2 cities, like the nation, truly multicultural.
Economy and Labour
The original economic development of Kitchener and Waterloo was built around the business and artisanal skills of its German population. The communities became strongly identified with the automotive parts industry with companies supplying components to all of the major automobile manufacturing companies. Budd Canada and Michelin, formerly Uniroyal Goodrich, remain as major employers in the manufacturing sector. Furniture and leather companies flourished in the early part of the century but have since declined significantly, leaving only Krug Furniture with a national presence.
At the close of the 20th century, many long-standing industries ceased operations such as the Seagram distillery (1857) and Labatt's brewery (1870s). The footwear industry, once prominent in Kitchener, also declined, although Kaufman Rubber has flourished and remains a large community employer. Dare Foods and Electrohome Industries continue to be important to the manufacturing base. Insurance companies have always played an important role in the economic life of the 2 cities and continue to do so with 2 of Canada's largest firms having corporate headquarters in Waterloo.
The largest employer is the University of Waterloo, which has had a profound impact on the economic and cultural life of the 2 cities, especially for Waterloo. Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College also rank as large employers. In 1996 26% of the labour force was engaged in manufacturing while 49% was in the service and trade industries.
There are 5 radio stations in Kitchener-Waterloo: 2 are owned by ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS INC; 2 by CHUM LIMITED; and one is independently owned. A television station, CKCO, was founded in 1954 and in 1963 was one of the stations that became part of a revised national CTV network; in 1996 CKCO entered into an agreement with BATON BROADCASTING INCORPORATED. Kitchener-Waterloo is also served by a daily newspaper, The Kitchener-Waterloo Record which, in 1999, became part of the Torstar newspaper chain.
The performing arts in Kitchener-Waterloo offer a rich diversity drawing on a strong musical tradition. In this regard the twin cities are well-served by the theatres in the 2 universities and also in the local churches, which have traditionally opened their doors to musicians. Of national significance is Kitchener's renowned concert hall, Centre-In-The-Square, home to the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. The Canadian Chamber Ensemble, the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir, the Bach Kantate Singers and Music Alive represent the variety of choral and ensemble music regularly available in the cities in addition to the range of musical troupes, individual performers, stage plays and musicals which include the Centre-In-The-Square in their schedules.
The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery is of national significance and Woodside, the boyhood home of Prime Minister Mackenzie KING, is a national HISTORIC SITE. Similar national historic site designation has been accorded to the Joseph Schneider Haus Museum, the Pioneer Memorial Tower and the home of Homer WATSON, one of Canada's leading landscape artists. Doon Heritage Crossroads, a re-creation of a 1914 rural village, offers sophisticated historical interpretations of the former Waterloo County.
Author K.M. McLAUGHLIN
Links to Other Sites
The official website for the City of Kitchener, ON.
Woodside National Historic Site
This Parks Canada site commemorates the boyhood home of William Lyon Mackenzie King. Includes a brief profile of the former Prime Minister of Canada and his family.
Grand Philharmonic Choir
This website features information about the four choirs that comprise the Grand Philharmonic Choir family and explore the history and artistic personnel of each choir.
Kitchener Public Library
Online access to local library and community resources.
The website for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Features a current concert calendar, musician profiles and more.
Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects
The website for the award-winning Canadian firm KPMB Architects. Check out their impressive online portfolio which features views of previous projects. Also includes profiles of the firm’s partners.
Centre In The Square
Based in Kitchener, Ontario, the Centre In The Square is a popular regional multi-purpose live performing arts venue. Their site offers a calendar of concerts and special events.
The website for the Elora Festival and Elora Festival Singers. Features the latest news, event calendar, a discography, many media clips, and more.
Open Ears Festival of Music and Sound
This diverse and adventurous music festival in Kitchener features electroacoustics indoors and outdoors, performance art, sound installations, sound poetry, music in alternative venues, conference activity, and interdisciplinary performance.
Intelligent Community Forum
The website for the Intelligent Community Forum, a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Click on "Intelligent Communities" at the top of the page for profiles of technologically advanced cities in Canada and around the world.
The official website for the City of Waterloo, Ontario. Provides information about civic affairs and local tourist attractions.
Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives
Check out the digitized archival images of Canadian cities and more at this website for the Association of Canadian Map Libraries and Archives.
Artec Consultants Inc
The website for Artec Consultants Inc, an American designer of performing arts facilities. Check out their "Projects" for details about their work on Canadian venues.
Region of Waterloo
The website for the Region of Waterloo, which represents the urban municipalities of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo, and, the rural townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich.
The website for Jane’s Walk, a network of free walking tours that explore the quality and livability of local neighbourhoods based on ideas espoused by Jane Jacobs. Click on "The Community" to access the latest news and photos on their blog and more. Also, check out "Find Your Walk" for maps and descriptions of local walks throughout the country.