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WATERLOO REGION: FROM COUNTRY PLEASURES TO URBAN DELIGHTS
 
(2020 - Spring Issue)

Writer: KATE POCOCK



Yearning to sample warm-hearted rural pleasures alongside city delights? Why not “time travel” from the welcoming village of St. Jacobs to the expanding urban hub of the Waterloo Region.

ST. JACOBS

TO MARKET, TO MARKET

Start your day with an early visit to the famous St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, Canada’s largest year-round indoor/outdoor farmers’ market! Enjoy the hustle and bustle—and culinary delights like apple fritters, spicy sausages or international fare such as Creole soup, Jamaican patties and Indian samosas (stjacobsmarket.com/farmers-market).

ON THE MOVE

Then hop on a horse-drawn trolley to savour the bucolic countryside (stjacobshorsedrawntours.com). Stop for a visit with a Mennonite farming family. Learn how their trees are tapped to produce delicious maple syrup, or admire their handmade quilts and sturdy buggies.

If you prefer travelling by rail, chug across pastoral farmlands on the vintage Waterloo Central Railway. Restored steam trains travel along a historic track from the Market and the Village of St. Jacobs to the town of Elmira (waterloocentralrailway.com).

KING OF THE CASTLE

In nearby Baden, discover the splendour of the Victorian era at Castle Kilbride, the 1877 family home of James Livingston, “Canada’s Flax Mill King.” Recently filmed as the home of Josephine Barry for the Anne with an E television series, this building features fabulous trompe l’oeil murals and exquisite ceilings. In summer, enjoy alfresco afternoon tea, evening concerts or a stroll along “The Prime Ministers Path,” a unique sculpture garden featuring life-sized icons of our former leaders (wilmot.ca/en/castle-kilbride-museum.aspx).

WATERLOO REGION

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

At the Doon Heritage Village (waterlooregionmuseum.ca), travel back to 1914, when old-fashioned fun provided the entertainment, and life was interrupted by feeding time for the pigs! Today, explore the barns, quibble with merchants, play hoop games or hop on a wagon ride, from May through December. Fans of Anne of Green Gables may even recognize the covered bridge here or Rachel Lynde’s yellow house, both filmed for the television series.

Nearby is the architectural wonder of the Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum (waterlooregionmuseum.ca), Ontario’s largest community museum. This year’s major exhibit—Mandela: Struggle for Freedom—uses imagery, sound, digital media and a replica of Mandela’s small prison cell to tell the story of this brave leader’s fight for justice (February 7 to August 3).

WALK THE WALK

With slow travel on the rise, why not set out on a local walking tour with knowledgeable, passionate guides who know their “tri-city” neighbourhoods? Walks might lead architecture buffs through stone heritage buildings of Old Galt in Cambridge. Art-minded individuals could tour colour-filled murals in downtown Kitchener. Or history enthusiasts might follow Waterloo’s first streets, built by Mennonite settlers (strollwalkingtours.com).

INN STYLE

Looking for a romantic, history-filled getaway after your explorations? In nearby New Hamburg, the Puddicombe House makes for a cosy retreat (puddicombehouse.com). Today, this 1868 elegant Italianate home of Robert Puddicombe and his descendants features a spa, salon and a gorgeous dining room serving delectable dishes as well as “the Best Burger in the Waterloo Region.” That’s worth a “Prost” or two for sure!

 
 
 
 
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