Travel Guide to Canada
WATERLOO REGION: WHERE COUNTRY CHARM MEETS BIG-CITY FUN
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.
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
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.
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).
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!