Kitchener is located in southwestern Ontario and can be found in a cluster of cities better known as the KW or the Tri-cities region, comprising three bustling cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, plus four scenic rural townships: North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, and Woolwich. The Kitchener-Waterloo region is an active, thriving place to live, work, study and invest. Over 623,000 people live in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge. The population has been steadily increasing by about 1.5% – 2% per year and has been one of the fastest-growing regions in Ontario. It is expected to reach 729,000 people by 2031. Approximately 23% of residents are immigrants living in the three cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge. Between 3,000 and 4,000 new immigrants move to the area annually.
Since the region has German settlement roots dating back to 1916, there is also a large German community. And there are more than 50,000 people in the area with German ethnic origins.
Kitchener has a thriving technology sector along a major highway and is in the 4th largest Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in Ontario. It offers a mix of big-city benefits and small-town charm. Four hospitals serve the KW region, including Grand River Hospital, Freeport Campus, St. Mary’s General Hospital, and Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
The KW region has a diverse economy that covers a range of sectors, from manufacturing to high-tech industries. The area historically also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Ontario. The region is home to world-class employment, and the employment rate is one of the highest in Ontario. With a strong manufacturing base and other industries to provide meaningful work, it is also a fast-growing hub for Technology and Innovation, Insurance, Advanced Manufacturing, Automotive and Aerospace. The biggest employers in KW are Allianz Global Assistance Canada, BlackBerry Limited, Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada and The Gore Mutual Insurance Company.
Throughout the Waterloo region, there are 121 schools – 103 elementary schools and 16 high schools. There are 46 Catholic elementary schools and five Catholic high schools. In addition, Kitchener-Waterloo has several private, adult, and continuing education institutions.
The region is home to two universities and one technical college, the University of Waterloo – well known for its computer science, mathematics, and engineering programs; Wilfrid Laurier University – known for its business and economic programs; and Conestoga College – consistently rated as one of the best colleges in Ontario.
Fun Fact: In 1981, Kitchener was the first city to launch the “blue box” recycling program in Ontario.
Kitchener-Waterloo is conveniently close to highway 401, providing quick access to other major cities in the region. Highways 7 and 8 also pass through the area. It is common for residents to commute in and out of the town for work. From KW, you can drive to the nearby cities of Toronto, London, Brampton, and Hamilton in around an hour. The area is close to nearby airports, including Region of Waterloo International Airport, London International Airport, and Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The Grand River Transit system operates a bus and light rail system within the KW region. The GO Bus and Train services allow you quick and convenient access to Toronto with frequent rapid transit.
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