Just 100 km (62 mi) west of Toronto, Kitchener is one of Ontario’s hidden gems. The city was once named Berlin, between 1854 and 1916, due to its large volume of German-speaking immigrants. But following World War I, the city was renamed in 1916 in honour of the British military hero Lord Kitchener.
Today, in remembrance of the city’s German history and culture, Kitchener is home to the world’s second largest Oktoberfest, with an estimated 150,000 attendants in 2016. Here is what else you can do and see in Kitchener, Canada.
1. Pay your respect to the pioneers
Built in 1926 to commemorate the arrival of the Pennsylvania Dutch, the Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower is a tribute to the pioneers who settled in the region between 1800 and 1803. The 18.9 m (62 ft) tall tower features a Swiss-style copper roof and a weather vane in the shape of a Conestoga wagon that calls back to the settlement’s early German farming community. The tower also acted to unify and heal the wounds of nationalism of anti-German sentiment following World War I.
Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower
Address: 300 Lookout Lane, Kitchener ON N2P 2X8, Canada
Website: Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower
2. Get a glimpse of life in the 1850s
Named after the architect who built the early 19th century home, the Joseph Schneider Haus is a National Historic Site that has been converted into a recreation museum. Everything has been faithfully restored from the exterior to its furniture to give visitors an authentic glimpse of life in the 1850s. Staff are also dressed accordingly as they demonstrate the traditional tasks and the harsh reality of daily life then. Since May 2017, the museum has been since rebranded as the Schneider Haus to give a bigger appreciation for not only Joseph but also his wife Barbara and his family.
Address: 466 Queen Street South, N2G 1W7 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Website: Schneider Haus
3. Retrace the city’s history
Have you visited the Waterloo Region Museum and Doon Heritage Village? It's one of Kitchener's finest landmarks! Call us at 1-800-268-6843 if you need a ride! #SightseeingSaturdayPosted by AirFlight Services on Saturday, 15 July 2017
Visitors to Kitchener looking to learn about the city’s history should head to the Waterloo Region Museum, where its main exhibits trace their origins back to over 12,000 years until the first settlements. It is the largest community museum, displaying not only local exhibits but also rotating features, such as ‘Trailblazing – Women in Canada since 1867’, which will run from September 2017 to January 2018.
Waterloo Region Museum
Address: 10 Huron Road, N2P 2R7 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Website: Waterloo Region Museum
4. Visit a living history village
Doon Heritage Village is open for the season! http://www.waterlooregionmuseum.ca/en/doon-heritage-village/explore-village-buildings.aspxPosted by Waterloo Region Museum and Doon Heritage Village on Wednesday, 3 May 2017
One of the Waterloo Region’s Museum main highlights is the Doon Heritage Village, a 60-acre (24.3 ha) living history village that opens seasonally from May 1 to December 22 every year. The village shows visitors what life was back in 1914, with historically accurate dressed staff and establishments, complete with a blacksmith, barns, meat markets, and farm animals. Visitors who have already purchased entry the Waterloo Region Museum will find their tickets also cover the Doon Heritage Village.
Doon Heritage Village
Address: 10 Huron Road, N2P 2R7 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Website: Doon Heritage Village
5. Visit a museum for kids
Maverick is back today for 2 shows. Learn all about dinosaurs from our juvenile t-rex http://ow.ly/VHwa30cfYJYPosted by THEMUSEUM on Sunday, 4 June 2017
While most museums have ancient artefacts and displays, THEMUSEUM claims proudly that it’s one of ideas and experiences. The exhibits here are mostly interactive science-orientated, designed to appeal to all ages and covering a bit of everything, from the extinction of dinosaurs right up to different pop culture icons throughout history such as Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono. This is one that would interest even the kids, making it a great family destination.
Address: 10 King Street West, N2G 1A3 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
6. Go for an art performance
Remember when you used to listen to an entire album front to back? Classic Albums Live does! We've got three...Posted by Centre In The Square on Monday, 12 June 2017
Centre In The Square is the Waterloo region’s largest performing arts centre, with its 2,047 seats having accommodated over 160 events in 2016 alone. The $11 million centre has been used for a wide range of art performances such Broadway productions to plays. But it is most used by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, which calls the centre their home ground.
Centre In The Square
Address: 101 Queen Street North, N2H 6P7 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Website: Centre In The Square
7. Take some downtime
Right in the heart of Kitchener’s downtown area is Victoria Park, a landscaped open space that is regarded as the jewel of the city. It has plenty of greenery, a lake with its own boathouse restaurant, basketball courts, and an ice skating rink in the winter. Built in 1896, the park is also the home of Kitchener’s historic clock tower, which once sat atop the old City Hall, but was since moved to the entrance of the park, complemented by a large fountain.
Address: 32 Dill St, Kitchener, ON N2G 1L1, Canada
Website: Victoria Park
8. Visit the boyhood home of Canada’s longest serving PM
#Fall is here! Come to Woodside and enjoy captivating activities. Each weekend we feature a unique game, craft or culinary delight!Posted by Woodside National Historic Site on Tuesday, 18 October 2016
The boyhood home of Canada’s longest serving Prime Minister (PM), William Lyon Mackenzie King, Woodside National Historic Site is today an 11.5-acre (4.65 ha) site that has been faithfully restored to reflect the Victorian era. Everything on-site, from the property’s garden down to the interiors and the King family’s personal heirlooms, has been carefully preserved. Victorian period programs and events are also frequently held here for visitors to learn more about the home that the former PM lived in from 1886 to 1893.
Woodside National Historic Site
Address: 528 Wellington St N, N2H 5L5 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Website: Woodside National Historic Site
9. Go hiking
Nature lovers looking for an escape from the city should head to Huron Natural Area, the city’s biggest nature reserve. It has a playground for the young ones, should you plan for a family picnic. Hikers will also be pleased at Huron’s many hiking and boardwalk trails, many of which go through scenic wetlands, the forest, and meadows. Also within hiking distance is Strasburg Creek, a cold water stream that presents many opportunities for nature photography.
Huron Natural Area
Address: 801 Trillium Dr, Kitchener, ON N2R 1K4, Canada
Website: Huron Natural Area
10. Let loose with the family
Having a super summer at the Bingemans Big SplashPosted by Kitchener Living on Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Looking for a place to let your hair down with the family? Bingemans Big Splash is Kitchener’s largest water park, providing a fun way for families to cool off in the summer. New attractions like Boomerango and Full Throttle have been added for even more fun and bigger splashes. Bingemans also offers other entertainment options, such as escape rooms, indoor playground FunworX, paintball, canoeing, and an arcade.
Address: 425 Bingemans Centre Drive, N2B 3X7 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Full of rich history
If you enjoy your history, you’ll love seeing how Kitchener’s history comes to life – quite literally – in venues like the Waterloo Region Museum and Woodside National Historic Site. Should you need an escape to nature or something more exciting, Kitchener also does not disappoint.
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