Waterloo Regional Municipality, Ontario

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Map of Ontario with Waterloo Regional Municipality in red

The Regional Municipality of Waterloo (or Waterloo Region or Region of Waterloo) is located in Western Ontario. It is a political entity not unlike a county government, 1,382 square kilometres in size. The region is dominated by the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge metropolitan area. Until 1974, the Region of Waterloo was known as Waterloo County. The regional seat is in Kitchener.



The history of the Waterloo region goes back to 1783, when the British government granted the Grand River Valley to the Iroquois, who had supported the Loyalists in the American War of Independence, to compensate them for the loss of their land in New York. The Iroquois settled in the lower Grand River Valley (now Brant County), and sold the land which now comprises Waterloo Region to Colonel Richard Beasley, a United Empire Loyalist.

The land owned by Beasley appealed to a particular group of Pennsylvania German Mennonite farmers. They pooled resources to purchase all of the unsold land from Beasley, forming the German Company Tract and dividing the lands into 128 farms of 18,100 square metres and 32 farms of 12,000 square metres each for distribution. By the 1840s, the presence of the German-speaking Mennonites made the area a popular choice for German settlers from Europe. These Germans founded their own communities in the south of the area settled by the Mennonites, the largest being the town of Berlin (changed to Kitchener, named for Lord Kitchener, due to anti-German sentiments during World War I).

The Waterloo region remained predominantly German-speaking until the early 20th century, and its German heritage is reflected in the region's large Lutheran community and the annual Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.

There are still traditional Mennonite communities located north of Kitchener-Waterloo. The most famous is St. Jacobs, where an outdoor market is held in the summer.

In 1973, a major reorganization occurred. The many townships, towns and the cities of Kitchener and Galt were reduced to four townships and three, now larger cities. Galt absorbed the towns of Preston and Hespeler, along with the village of Blair and various parcels of township land; the resulting city was named Cambridge. The former Waterloo Township was divided among Woolwich, Waterloo (which became a city), Kitchener and Cambridge. The former county government was given broader powers and made into a regional municipality.

Famous people

Waterloo is also the birthplace of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada's longest serving prime minister. His home is now Woodside National Historic Site.

Actress Jill Hennessy, formerly of Law and Order, hails from Waterloo.


438,515 people (2001 census) live in the Region of Waterloo; by including full-time university students, that number increases to about 470,000. Many locals (about 23%) are of German descent.


Waterloo Region is home to two universities and also home to three community college campuses:

See also List of Waterloo Region, Ontario schools.


Waterloo Region is expanding in both commercial and population terms. The presence of two universities, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, acts as a catalyst for growth in the high-tech area. As of late 2004, Waterloo Region has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.

Major employers in the region

  • Waterloo Regional District School Board (4900 employees)
  • Manulife Financial (4500 employees)
  • University of Waterloo (3500 employees)
  • Clarica (3500 employees)
  • Upper Grand District School Board (3000 employees)
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (2800 employees)
  • Grand River Hospital (2200 employees)
  • ATS Automation Tools Systems Inc. (1900 employees)
  • Budd Canada Inc. (1800 employees)
  • City of Kitchener (1700 employees)

Community issues

As house prices in the Toronto area increase, Waterloo Region is increasingly becoming an attractive area to reside in.


Over time, many municipal services have come under the jurisdiction of the regional government. These include police, waste management and recycling, and the public transit system.

The main administration is run from the seat in Kitchener; various service offices are found in many parts of the Region. From a geographically central location in north Cambridge, maintenance operations and the police headquarters are able to reach anywhere in their service area.


Public transit is provided by Grand River Transit, created from amalgamation of Cambridge and Kitchener Transit systems.

The Region also owns and operates the Region of Waterloo International Airport, near Breslau. The airport is the 12th busiest in Canada and underwent a major expansion in 2003.


The Region's only broadcast television station is CKCO, the local affiliate of CTV. Its only daily newspaper is the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. Major radio stations include CHYM, CFCA, CKWR and CKGL.


Waterloo Region's seven municipalities are:

Smaller communities include:

External links


Region of Waterloo Municipalities
City of Cambridge | City of Kitchener | City of Waterloo
Township of North Dumfries | Township of Wellesley | Township of Wilmot | Township of Woolwich

Ontario Census Divisions


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