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(2018 - Spring Issue)


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 in Ontario. 

Not only can visitors enjoy all the excitement 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. 


Start with an early morning visit to the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, Canada’s largest year-round indoor/outdoor market offering wares ranging from food to handicrafts. 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. At Quilted Heirlooms in the log cabin on-site, examine exquisite works of art, which are sold around the world as bedspreads or wall hangings. 

In the Village of St. Jacobs, three kilometres north of the market, learn about the area’s first settlers at the Mennonite Story. Through its excellent multimedia presentation, this museum 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.

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 popular family buffets 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. 

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


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.

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

Music lovers will enjoy the popular Kitchener Blues Festival featuring four days of outstanding music, August 9–12. And the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, from October 5–13, is the largest celebration of all things Bavarian outside of Munich, Germany.

Travel Planner

Plan your getaway to Ontario’s Kitchener-

Waterloo Region at explorewaterlooregion.com and stjacobs.com.

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