Located just 100km west of Toronto, Kitchener is one of Ontario’s great lesser-known cities. If you happen to make a trip over to this scenic region of the province, be sure to consult our list of the 10 best things to do whilst in this thriving Canadian city.
Kitchener’s THEMUSEUM is a great family-friendly museum, full of interactive science-orientated exhibits. With constantly changing exhibitions, visitors of all ages can explore the galleries to discover more about anything from the extinction of dinosaurs to the making of animation films. It’s also worth keeping an eye out for their range of events, which take the form of many different live shows and creative workshops.
Opening Hours: 10am-4pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10am-9pm Wednesday, 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday
The namesake of the Joseph Schneider Haus was in fact the architect who originally constructed this early 19th century home. Now fully converted into a recreation museum, the building provides us with a view of Kitchener in the 1850s and has been restored to a standard authentic to that period. With the help of period-costumed staff, the place gives a glimpse of the harsh reality of daily life in the 1800s, as traditional tasks are demonstrated and explained.
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday and 1-5pm Sunday
Situated right in the middle of Kitchener’s downtown area is the city’s beautiful Victoria Park. As well as its landscaped open space, perfect for a variety of recreational activities, the park also boasts a lake (with its own boathouse restaurant), a children’s playground, basketball court and pavilion. As a major landmark within the city, it is also the location of many of its major seasonal events, such as the ‘Christmas Fantasy’ holiday celebration and the Kitchener Blues Festival, held annually every August.
The current day Kitchener City Hall was constructed in 1993, having previously been housed on a multiple other sites. The new modern building is still the primary basis for the city’s council representatives, but thanks to its spacious, contemporary layout it is also able to host a variety of public events. The square in front is also a popular spot for those enjoying a sunny lunch break, or outdoor skating at the city’s rink during the winter months.
With a mission to showcase both local history and more internationally-focused temporary exhibits, the Waterloo Region Museum provides a great general introduction to the Waterloo-Kitchener area. One of the main highlights of the museum is the Doon Heritage Village, a recently incorporated attraction that creates a fully-working version of community life during the early 20th century. The main exhibition space goes even further back into the city’s history, tracing its origins over 12,000 years back into the very beginnings of the region as it was under the First Nation’s peoples.
A small but immaculately presented Kitchener attraction is the Homer Watson House & Gallery. Once the home of artist, Homer Watson during the late 19th century, the building has now been converted into a light and airy exhibition space, which hosts a variety of displays on Watson and other Ontario artists. As well as supporting the work of those involved in creative pursuits, the foundation also supports the local artistic community in a series of children’s, adult’s and senior’s art outreach programs.
Another great place to visit for art enthusiasts is the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. As the leading destination gallery in the region, this place is home to a variety of predominantly contemporary art pieces, aiming to increase public engagement through ‘the shared experience of art.’ The permanent collection has plenty to offer in itself, but its worth looking out for the temporary exhibitions, which range in subject from geometric design to the representation of music in art.
Opening Hours: 9.30am-5pm Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday
Now a national historic site operated by Parks Canada, Woodside was once home to the former Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. Dating back to 1853, the house is currently preserved in its traditional style, complete with over 11 acres of wooded ground and gardens. Much of the interior remains the same as it would have done during the time it was occupied by the King family, even down to their personal heirlooms.
Kitchener’s major arts and performance venue is Centre in the Square; a $11m arts center that features the largest theater in the Waterloo Region. Its most famous usage is as the current home of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra whose signature series is exceedingly popular. Fans of other genres of performance are also catered for however, as over 180 different events were held at the venue last year, ranging from musical theater to comedy.
If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy the beauty of Kitchener’s outdoors, Huron Natural Area is the biggest nature reserve in the city. This is the perfect place to try out one of the area’s hiking or boardwalk trails, which take you through some scenic wetland, forest and meadow. The area is also the location of Strasburg creek, a coldwater steam that acts as a haven for natural wildlife.