7 Great Reasons to Visit Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region is one of the most important tech hubs in Canada, but there’s more to it than just BlackBerry and Google. Between its natural beauty, rich history and delicious food, this picturesque slice of southwestern Ontario has something for everyone.

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St. Jacobs Farmers' Market, Waterloo Region
Photo: JHVE Photo/ShutterStock

1. The St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market

Canada’s largest year-round farmers’ market, the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market hosts hundreds of vendors from across Ontario. Browse the fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts and clothing every Thursday and Saturday year-round, and on Tuesdays from June to August.

Devastated by a fire in 2013 that reduced the main building to charred timbers, the owners rebuilt and the market continues to go strong.

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West Montrose Covered Bridge, Waterloo Region
Photo: Region of Waterloo

2. The Covered Bridge of West Montrose

Just 20 minutes outside the City of Waterloo, the covered bridge of West Montrose (also called the Kissing Bridge) is one of the most iconic landmarks in Waterloo Region and a popular destination for wedding photos.

Built in 1881 by John and Benjamin Bear for about $3,200, the red bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in Ontario from the 1800s, and the eighth-oldest covered bridge in the country.

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Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, Waterloo Region
Photo: Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

3. The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

Visit a rainforest without even leaving the city. With nearly 50 varieties of butterflies and about a dozen species of birds flying freely overhead, the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is a humid 24-28C year-round. Be sure to check out the recently-launched Pollinator Project, which aims to raise awareness about the role that insects play in global food production.

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Fashion History Museum, Cambridge
Photo: Fashion History Museum

4. The Fashion History Museum in Cambridge

Explore the history of clothing and accessories from the 1660s to the present at Cambridge’s Fashion History Museum. Founded in 2004, the museum’s board of governors and advisory committee is made up of specialists from a diverse range of fields, from education and conservation to fashion design. The museum also contains a comprehensive library and archive of fashion-related publications and documents.

Join us on a tour of Canada’s Strangest Museums!

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Sunset at the Rare Charitable Research Reserve, Cambridge, Ontario
Photo: Rare Charitable Research Reserve

5. Rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge

Want to get lost? Try hiking the trails set on this 900 acre nature reserve just outside the city of Cambridge at the meeting point of the Grand and Speed Rivers. It’s an important habitat of profound biodiversity, with some trees more than 240 years old, and other vegetation of regional-and even international-significance.

Check out Canada’s 10 Best Hikes!

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Abe Erb Brewing Company, Waterloo
Photo: Abe Erb Brewing Company

6. The Abe Erb Brewing Company in Waterloo

Why just sip craft beer when you can enjoy a pint while watching the brew master go about his work? Located in the heart of the City of Waterloo, the Abe Erb Brewing Company is named after Abe Erb, widely recognized as the founder of the city (who just happened to have the word “beer” in his name). The barn board, steel and glass building is home to some of the best food in the city. Don’t forget to look up while you dine: The brewers are at work above you, perfecting the beer that’s served from their own taps.

Check out our countdown of the 10 Best Beer Cities in the World!

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CTRL-V virtual reality arcade, Waterloo Region
Photo: CTRL-V Virtual Reality Arcade

7. CTRL-V virtual reality arcade in Waterloo

Yes, we touted this slideshow as a tech-free list of things to do in Waterloo Region, but this virtual reality arcade is just too cool to pass up.

The first of its kind in Canada, the CTRL-V arcade opened earlier this year and uses the most immersive technology available to transport gamers into another world. Whether you’re defending your castle or just standing atop a mountain and enjoying the scenery, you’ll soon forget you’re in the heart of the city.

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