WATER­LOO RE­GION: WHERE COUN­TRY CHARM MEETS BIG-CITY FUN

Travel Guide to Canada - - Table Of Contents -

Not only can visi­tors en­joy all the ex­cite­ment that this high-tech univer­sity re­gion of­fers— a thriv­ing art scene, concerts, world-renowned fes­ti­vals and more—but all ages will also de­light in nearby coun­try vil­lage de­lights.

ST. JACOBS

FRESH FROM THE COUN­TRY

Start with an early morn­ing visit to the

St. Jacobs Farm­ers’ Mar­ket, Canada’s largest year-round in­door/out­door mar­ket of­fer­ing wares from food to hand­i­crafts (www.st jacobs.com/farm­ers-mar­ket-gen­eral-in­forma tion.htm). With some 500 ven­dors ar­riv­ing at dawn to set out freshly picked pro­duce, baked goods, tempt­ing ar­rays of cheese and home­made sausages, break­fast pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. The Mar­ket is es­pe­cially busy in sum­mer when horse-drawn trol­leys es­cort visi­tors to the coun­try­side on guided tours (www.st­ja­cob­shorse­drawn­tours.com). At Quilted Heir­looms in the log cabin on site, ex­am­ine ex­quis­ite “works of art” that are sold around the world as bed­spreads or wall hang­ings (www.quilt­ed­heir­looms.ca).

STOP AND SHOP

In The Vil­lage of St. Jacobs, lo­cated 3 km

Look­ing for small-town charm com­bined with big-city ex­cite­ment? Look no fur­ther than the ur­ban hub of Kitch­ener-Water­loo and its ad­ja­cent his­toric Vil­lage of

St. Jacobs.

north of the mar­ket, learn about the area’s first set­tlers at The Men­non­ite Story. This mu­seum with its ex­cel­lent mul­ti­me­dia pre­sen­ta­tion tells the story of the Old Or­der Men­non­ites who still pop­u­late much of the sur­round­ing farm­ing coun­try­side. Es­pe­cially mov­ing is the four-part har­mony singing waft­ing through the Meet­ing­house on the lower level (www.men­non­itestory.com).

Then, stroll the Vil­lage’s main street to visit one-of-a-kind shops such as Hamel Brooms, where John Daven­port crafts tra­di­tional sweep­ers from Texas broom corn; or Con­estoga River Pot­tery, where pot­ter Phil Yordy set up a kiln and shop in the huge Vil­lage Si­los some 39 years ago. Down­stairs, ex­plore the Maple Syrup Mu­seum’s tale of Canada’s “liq­uid gold,” and the quirky but fas­ci­nat­ing His­tory of Elec­tric­ity Mu­seum with its old-fash­ioned switches.

SPE­CIAL TREATS

For sus­te­nance, the Stone Crock Restau­rant serves up pop­u­lar fam­ily buf­fets (www. stonecrock.ca/bak­ery), while the bak­ery next door of­fers tra­di­tional pies, breads and treats of ev­ery de­scrip­tion. Or quench your thirst with bar­rel-aged, wild-fer­mented, fruit-in­fused beer at the Block Three Brew­ing Com­pany (www.block­three­brew­ing.com).

KITCH­ENER-WATER­LOO ARTIS­TIC PUR­SUITS

Step­ping into the present-day Kitch­en­erWater­loo Re­gion, you’ll find world-renowned uni­ver­si­ties and high-tech in­sti­tu­tions such as the Perime­ter In­sti­tute for The­o­ret­i­cal Physics (www.perime­terin­sti­tute.ca). Dis­cover in­no­va­tive artists at the Kitch­en­erWater­loo Art Gallery (www.kwag.ca) and crafts at the Cana­dian Clay and Glass Gallery—the only Cana­dian gallery ex­clu­sively ded­i­cated to ce­ramic and glass art (www.ex­plore­wa­ter­loore­gion.com).

HIS­TORY COMES ALIVE

For art mixed with ar­chi­tec­ture, head to nearby Baden to ad­mire fab­u­lous trompe l’oeil mu­rals at Cas­tle Kil­bride, the lav­ish 1877 fam­ily home of “Canada’s Flax Mill King.” In sum­mer, en­joy al­fresco af­ter­noon tea, evening concerts, or a stroll along “The Prime Min­is­ters Path”—a re­mark­able new sculp­ture gar­den fea­tur­ing life-sized bronze stat­ues of five (and even­tu­ally 22) Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ters in­clud­ing Sir John A. Macdon­ald and lo­cal no­table, Mackenzie King (www.ex­plore­wa­ter­loore­gion.com/list­ing/ stroll-canadas-his­tory-prime-min­is­ters-path).

Take the kids to the Sch­nei­der Haus Na­tional His­toric Site, Kitch­ener’s old­est dwelling, for hands-on his­tory fun (www. schnei­der­haus.ca). From May to De­cem­ber, time travel to 1914 at Doon Her­itage Vil­lage (www.wa­ter­loore­gion­mu­seum.ca).

UNIQUE CEL­E­BRA­TIONS

Mu­sic lovers will en­joy, the pop­u­lar Kitch­ener Blues Fes­ti­val which of­fers four days of out­stand­ing mu­sic, Au­gust 9 to 12 (www.kitch­enerblues­fest.com). Don’t miss the area’s most cel­e­brated fes­ti­val at­tract­ing visi­tors from around the world. The Kitch­ener-Water­loo Ok­to­ber­fest is the largest cel­e­bra­tion of all things Bavar­ian out­side of Mu­nich Ger­many (www.ok­to­ber fest.ca). From Oc­to­ber 5 to 13, the fes­ti­val of­fers nine days of mu­sic, danc­ing, singing and tra­di­tional food and drink.

As they of­ten say in this grow­ing, wel­com­ing re­gion where coun­try meets city de­lights: Prost or Cheers!

CAS­TLE KIL­BRIDE • EX­PLORE WATER­LOO RE­GION

STONE CROCK BAK­ERY, ST. JACOBS • ST. JACOBS COUN­TRY

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