One thing we don’t write about very often is the local lifestyle in Waterloo.
We’re often distracted by more traditional economic development fare – our top-rated tech talent workforce, incredible local post-secondary institutions, etc. That’s to our detriment, though, because Waterloo is an incredible place to live, work and play.
Now that we’re in the middle of August, we decided to ask some local business leaders about their favourite things to do when summer rolls around.
“I love to kick off my summer Saturdays by taking my Weimaraner, Zoe, for a long walk at Kiwanis Park – we both love spending time outdoors,” says Greta Cutulenco, CEO of Acerta Analytics. “After I work up an appetite, I’ll often grab lunch with a friend at one of the busy patios in Belmont Village.”
There’s also plenty to do in the rural areas around the region.
" Our region has a fantastic cycling community, and we’re lucky to have convenient access to so many beautiful country roads with rolling hills and light traffic. There are countless opportunities for group road rides or exploring the lesser traveled dirt roads. "
Partner at Arc Media
This is just scratching the surface – within a 1-2 hour drive you have everything from professional sports to world-class beaches. There’s a ton of options for new professionals, families and senior leaders alike.
Here’s our tip-of-the-iceberg look at summer fun around Waterloo:
Inside Waterloo Region
It’s impossible to capture EVERYTHING you can do in Waterloo Region. If you want something that’s a bit more comprehensive, we suggest you visit our friends at Explore Waterloo Region, but here’s a rundown of the fun you’ll find here.
Waterloo’s Water Park
When it’s hot there’s no better place to be than a water park and, luckily for everyone in Waterloo, there’s one right here. Bingemans Big Splash has nine huge water slides, a wave pool, an interactive water playground for kids and more.
Golf, Golf, Golf
There are 15 public golf courses in Waterloo Region – enough variety to keep even the most committed golfer engaged. With this many courses, in a community with just 600,000 people, it’s always possible to get a tee time.
A Grand Time on The Grand
The Grand River weaves its way though Waterloo Region and offers one of the best ways to experience the outdoors and stay cool in summer heat. Canoeing the Grand offers canoeing, kayaking and tubing trips that range from 90-minute distractions to eight-hour marathons.
Cycle to Your Heart’s Content
Waterloo Region is heaven for cyclists. If riding fast is your thing, there are hundreds of kilometres of paved shoulders, paved trails and bike lanes in our region, as well as countless quiet country lanes. If you love tricky terrain, you can visit the Hydrocut Trails, which is one of Ontario’s top-ranked mountain bike destinations. Our friends at Explore Waterloo Region have full Bike Maps available to download.
Take a Hike
If you like to take long, picturesque walks amid the natural splendor of Southern Ontario, well, we have the trails for you. For example, the Huron Natural Area is 107 hectares of nature, trails and wetlands. Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area has 10km of market nature trails, 169 serviced campsites and a sandy beach.
Breweries and Distilleries
On a hot day nothing beats a cool beverage. Waterloo Region is full of award-winning brewers and distillers, many with bustling patios. Coming for a visit to our community? Let’s grab a seat at the Abe Erb Brewing Company, which is located in The Tannery – home of the Communitech Hub.
A Festive Atmosphere!
Love festivals and concerts? We have you covered. In the summer months we have everything from Ribfest and massive Canada Day celebrations to the Blues Festival and – as we get into the autumn – our world-renowned Oktoberfest.
Live and work in Waterloo
This is a quick hop for a fun day – the sort of thing you might do on a whim. No planning necessary because you’re within an hour of home.
Hear A Lion Roar
Just about a minute outside Waterloo Region – literally – is the African Lion Safari. Home to more than 1,000 exotic birds and animals, a large playground and even a boat cruise, this is one great option for a lazy summer weekend.
America’s Pastime in Canada
Toronto is home to Canada’s only Major League Baseball team – the Toronto Blue Jays. Take the train from Waterloo or a short drive along the 401 superhighway to watch Canada’s team take on the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox in the shadow of the CN Tower.
Love roller coasters? You’re in luck. We’re an hour away from one of the world’s largest theme parks: Canada’s Wonderland. The 134-hectare attraction includes 17 roller coasters – ranked second in the world behind Six Flags Magic Mountain – and a water park called Splash Works.
Go See a Show
Waterloo is right between the Stratford Festival – one of the world’s premier locations for Shakespearean performance – and Toronto’s theatre district, which has hosted most of the world’s biggest theatrical productions, including Hamilton, Phantom of the Opera and more.
Hit The Beach
Yes, that’s right, we’re less than 65mi from the beautiful beaches along Lake Erie. Grab your swimsuit, beach towel and sunscreen, enjoy the sunshine and watch sailboats disappear over the horizon.
This one takes a bit more planning. You’re talking about a 2+ hour drive, so whatever the attraction is better be worth your time, right? Don’t worry, these all are.
A Bigger Beach
This range makes just about every beach on Lake Huron within reach – including Grand Bend with its incredible sunsets – but we’re reserving this spot for Wasaga Beach: the world’s longest freshwater beach.
Love to Camp? Well, Ontario is full of incredible provincial and national parks for you to explore. Algonquin Park – the oldest provincial park in Canada – is just outside our range, but other beautiful options like the Pinery Provincial Park, MacGregor Point Provincial Park and Bruce Peninsula National Park are all available within a couple of hours drive.
A Summer Getaway Adventure
Are you looking for the full resort experience? Ontario’s own little slice of Whistler is in Collingwood at Blue Mountain, where you’ll find chalets and lodges, hiking, mountain biking, beaches and so much more all in one place. Want an active vacation for the whole family? It’s just a short drive away.