My husband and I recently had a weekend getaway in the Waterloo Region. An hours drive will take you to this exciting and vibrant region that you may not have thought ever to visit but definitely should. It consists of the cities Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge and in 2016 Stats Canada named these cities the third best place in Canada to find full-time employment. With two universities and so many tech companies opening it is often called “Canada’s Silicone Valley”.
WHERE TO STAY
DELTA WATERLOO HOTEL
The Delta Waterloo is located in Uptown Waterloo where you will have access to popular restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Also nearby are popular attractions including the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Centre In The Square.
The contemporary rooms are equipped with pillow top beds, crisp linens and fluffy pillows. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner at their on-site restaurant, Proof Kitchen & Lounge as well as a 24 hour fitness centre with modern cardio equipment and well-managed free weights. You can relax in their beautifully designed indoor pool boasting a scenic skylight and hot tub. The room was extremely spacious and the bed was so plush and comfortable with pillow top beds, crisp linens and fluffy pillows making for a great nights sleep. The hotel decor has a modern hip vibe that is extremely welcoming. Honestly, if you didn’t want to, you wouldn’t have to leave the hotel as they have everything you need to have a wonderful stay.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
The Rock Spa
Float away your worries with a floatation session at The Rock Spa. This was my first time experiencing floatation therapy and can’t believe I haven’t tried this sooner. They also offer salt therapy, crystal bed chakra healing, and other therapies. They also have a large selection of rocks and crystals. Read more about my experience here The Rock Spa .
St. Jacob’s Farmers Market
St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market is a farmer’s market and flea market in St. Jacobs, Ontario, Canada. It is located to the south of King Street North, to the east of Weber Street North, and to the west of the railway tracks. This market is Canada’s largest year-round Farmer’s Market where you will find everything from fresh produce, crafts, imported goods, and amazing, ready to eat foods. Bring your appetite.
Fashion History Museum
The Fashion History Museum was founded in 2004, became a federal non-profit corporation in 2008, and was granted charitable status by Canada Revenue Agency in March 2009. A board of directors governs the museum with the assistance of an advisory council composed of specialists from diverse fields.
The collection consists of nearly 10,000 garments and accessories dating from the 1660s to the present. Alongside historical dress, the museum is building a contemporary Canadian designer collection as well as a comprehensive library and archives of fashion related publications and documents.
During our visit we were welcomed by the founders Jonathan and Kenn who take great pride and devotion in the collection. There are three rotating galleries with plans to expand. The beauty of this museum is that the garments are on full display, with shoes and accessories, showing the way they were worn at the time. The first thing you notice are the bright colours of the 60’s ad 70’s and as you move closer you can actually see the amazing details of the fabric and ornamentation of each piece. This museum is definitely a hidden gem….for now but no doubt the future is bright for fashion history in the Waterloo region.
St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway
This is one of North America’s finest “0” scale layout of a model railway depicting Southern Ontario in the late 1950’s. Many of the buildings were hand built with full interior detailing. Anyone who loves model trains, this would be paradise and very intriguing for someone who has seen this scale of model trains. Fun for the entire family. Check out their website for hours of operation.
This castle was the Italianate home of Canada’s “Flax Mill King” James Livingston completely restored and furnished to it’s original glory of the Victoria era. The interior decor is stunning and the history of the home is very intriguing. Outside the home, on the grounds you will find the new home of the Prime Minster Statue Project which when completed will include life size sculptures of Canada’s 22 past Prime Ministers. You need to visit this magnificent monument to our Canadian heritage.
Where to Eat
The Red House
Visit The Red House for cozy gourmet dining in uptown Waterloo. This restaurant is the vision of the talented young local chef Dan McCowan who decided to create his first independent venture after spending many years perfecting his craft at various large chains. Read all about our dinner here.
Proof Kitchen and Lounge
Located in the Delta Waterloo Hotel, this restaurant offers signature dishes and locally focused modern menu items paired with expertly crafted cocktails, a renowned wine list, and a great selection of local beers. The bar and lounge serves a menu designed for a more relaxed dining experience. This is where we enjoyed our morning breakfasts.
Stopping in the lovely town of New Hamburg for lunch at the Puddicombe House was so pleasant. This elegant hotel and restaurant is in a restored 1868 charming building. On their gracious outdoor patio, we had some excellent dishes from a diverse menu. Executive Chef Lance Edwards is known for his signature burgers – voted “The Best Burger in the Waterloo Region”. The baked trout, seasoned with pomegranate, cranberry, and scallions is a favourite with diners. Be sure to stop here for a laid back lunch or dinner.
Eco Cafe & Coffee Roastery
My husband and I are always on the hunt for a great cup of coffee and we surely found it at this charming cafe. We were lucky enough to meet with the owner Edward Denyer. After living in Colombia for many years Edward learned about the history of coffee and how it shaped his culture and heritage. This cafe has the finest selection of quality, organic, fair-trade and sustainable coffee. With a variety of origins and blends, you can have your coffee roasted as you watch. They also offer full service espresso and a pour-over bar. We truly enjoyed the amazing coffee and hospitality here.
This beautifully restored, five story 19th Centruy Mill was actually called Dixon Mill, one of the oldest surviving industrial buildings in Cambridge. The restaurants, spacious dining rooms and all seasoned patios offer amazing panoramic views of the river. This is a beautiful place to enjoy a one of a kind Sunday brunch.
The offerings of this abundant feast are incredible: fresh seafood including oysters, made to order Belgian waffles and omelettes, various fresh salads, hot dishes, a carving station and an amazing sweet table. If this isn’t enough, the all inclusive price includes Caesars, Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas! Most ingredients are from local farms and change seasonally. God knows we have been to many brunches but this one especially reminds me of the finest brunches in Las Vegas . The quality and presentation are excellent and service was also of higher standards. This is definitely a place to celebrate with best friends and family.
After brunch we met with the manager of the Cambridge Mill who gave us a tour of the wedding and events facilities, highlighted by original stone walls and wood beams, which are absolutely beautiful and they even have their own chapel. This is a truly memorable place, one that you will want to return to again and again and bring your appetite.
We had a wonderful fun packed weekend. I didn’t realize there was so much to do and see in the Kitchener Waterloo area. We have fond memories of everyone we met and will be back soon. Visit the Explore Waterloo website for where to stay and what to see and do.