Kitchener

Kitchener, with neighbouring Waterloo and Cambridge forms a tightly-integrated metro area within the larger Region of Waterloo in Southwestern Ontario.

Understand

Kitchener and Waterloo were pioneered by Mennonites from Pennsylvania, Cambridge by British, principally Scots, in the early 19th century. Once named Berlin, Kitchener was renamed in 1916, during World War I, after British military hero Lord Kitchener. Since the 1950s when Waterloo attained city status, Kitchener and Waterloo have been known as the "Twin Cities", "K-W", or "Kitchener-Waterloo". Increasingly, Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge (a 1970s merger of the older City of Galt with the neighbouring Towns of Preston and Hespeler, and the village of Blair) are being referred to collectively as the "Tri-Cities".

Immigration, beginning with Germans and Central Europeans in the 19th century and continuing to the present from Central and South America, the Near East, Far East and Asia have created a broad-based multi-cultural population. Kitchener and Waterloo, in 'North Waterloo' exhibit a strong German heritage, celebrated most notably in their 9-day Oktoberfest, the largest outside of Munich. Cambridge, in 'South Waterloo', has a sizeable Portuguese population, from the Azores, and a large constituency of Newfoundlanders, relocated from Belle Isle, Newfoundland, in the 1960s.

Get in

By car

Highway 401 runs along Kitchener's southern border. Kitchener is located one hour west of Toronto, one hour east of London, three hours east of Windsor/Detroit. If coming from Toronto, take exit 278A (Highway 8). At the Highway 7 and King Street exit, exit King Street to downtown Kitchener. If coming from London, take exit 278 (King Street), then take Highway 8 east to the King Street exit as above.

By plane

Waterloo Region International Airport is served by WestJet with one flight a day to Calgary, American Eagle with one flight a day to Chicago-O'Hare, and Sunwing Airlines with one flight per week to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, during the winter months. Most air travel to Kitchener comes through Toronto Pearson International Airport in the north-west corner of Toronto. Ground transportation between Kitchener and Pearson is operated by Airways Transit who operate door-to-door services as well as scheduled minibus services from several large hotels in Kitchener, Airways Transit services are, however, prohibitively expensive, to the point that a taxi is significantly cheaper for two or more people. Another, much cheaper option for people travelling alone is to take the Greyhound coach to downtown Toronto and then take the Pacific Western airport coach to the airport, however this can take significantly longer depending on traffic.

By rail

VIA Rail runs between Kitchener and Toronto, Guelph, London, and Sarnia; the train station is located at 126 Weber St. W, near the corner of Victoria St. in the northeast corner of downtown. Via runs three trains a day in each direction. GO Transit runs two commuter trains each weekday to (in the morning) and from (in the afternoon) Toronto.

By coach

Greyhound runs regular commuter coaches between downtown Kitchener and Toronto, stopping on the site of the former Sportsworld amusement park on the border of Kitchener and Cambridge, some coaches to Toronto also run to the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. Greyhound also runs coaches to London and Guelph. Coach Canada runs regular coaches from Kitchener to Hamilton and Niagara Falls. The bus terminal in Kitchener is in the centre of downtown, one block from city hall, on Charles Street, between Ontario and Gaukel Streets; the main office for Greyhound is a small structure on the intercity platform of that terminal.

GO Transit also offers bus travel via both universities and the downtown terminal to its Mississauga Square One terminal; connections are available there to points across the Greater Toronto Area.

Get around

By car

By car, with a local map: where other cities are laid out more or less on a grid Kitchener streets are not, rather follow their own complex patterns with frequent twists and turns, many continuing into adjoining Waterloo.

Likewise, street directions are designated E, W, N, and S, but only one major cross street, Lancaster Street East/West, is true to the compass (running, oddly enough, straight north/south). King, Weber and Westmount are the principal EW streets in Kitchener (at Union Street, they become King, Weber and Westmount in Waterloo, where they are designated N/S). Queen, Frederick, Ottawa and Victoria, are the principal NS cross-streets.

There is an express route, known locally as the Conestoga Parkway, but not signed as such, which loops traffic on Highways 7&8 traffic through Kitchener South and Highway 85 traffic through Waterloo North.

Addresses number EW from Queen, NS from King.

The centre of the city, known as downtown, is divided into four neighborhoods:

By public transportation

All public transit within the Region of Waterloo is provided by Grand River Transit.

Kitchener as a whole has a poor (though improving) public transit system, although most centrally located sights can be reached without much difficulty. The route 7 bus is the city's main line and comes every 7 - 10 minutes. The 7 can be taken from almost anywhere on King St. south of the intersection of King and University Ave. in Waterloo. Something that can be confusing is that there are three different 7 routes, the 7c, 7d, 7e; they all run the same route until the intersection of King and University, the 7c runs to Conestoga Mall at the north end of Waterloo, the 7d travels to the University of Waterloo through the most direct route, along University and the 7e runs to the University of Waterloo along Columbia, on the north end of the campus. To the south, all 7s run to Fairview Park Mall, no matter the letter.

There is also a limited-stop Express service between Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge known as the 200 iXpress. It runs a similar route to that of the 7, beginning at Conestoga Mall and stopping at the University of Waterloo, Uptown Waterloo, Downtown Kitchener, Fairview Park Mall, Cambridge Centre Mall and Downtown Galt among other places.

The bus fare is $3.00 and allows for travel for up to 90 minutes. If you intend to connect to another route, ask the driver for a transfer when you pay your fare. A detailed map of all routes in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge can be purchased at a variety of locations for $2 or downloaded for free from Grand River Transit. Students of University of Waterloo and/or Wilfrid Laurier University do not need to pay cash fare if they flash their University-issued Student ID (WatCard for University of Waterloo; OneCard for Wilfrid Laurier,) as long as the expiry date on the card has not elapsed. These students have already paid for bus services through non-refundable fees on their fees statement.

See

Landmarks

Cultural Items

Historical sites

Amusement Center

Do

Buy

Eat

Downtown

Suburbs


Cafés

The German Clubs

All the German clubs serve food but not all of them have restaurants. Call before you go.

Drink

See Nightlife, the weekly entertainment supplement published Thursdays by The Record, the area's daily newspaper, for its calendar of what's on in clubs, concerts, movies, stage, art, and kids stuff.

Sleep

Go next

Kitchener is one of three cities in Waterloo Region. Visit Waterloo to the north or Cambridge to the south. It is also a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside, the towns of New Hamburg, St. Jacobs and Elora are all within easy driving distance.

Routes through Kitchener

Sarnia Stratford  W  E  Guelph Toronto
London Woodstock  W  E  Cambridge Toronto
Sarnia Stratford  W  E  Guelph Markham
Goderich Stratford  W  E  Cambridge Hamilton
END Waterloo  N  S  END
END  W  E  Guelph Toronto


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 04, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.