Situated on the Grand River in southwest Ontario, Kitchener is the cultural hub of the Waterloo Region. In 1800, German Mennonites journeyed from Pennsylvania to settle in this farming region, known as Berlin, between 1854 and 1916. In honor of its German roots, the city hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration. It draws 700,000 visitors, making it the largest Bavarian festival in the world outside of Germany. Five miles from the hotel, Doon Heritage Village simulates life in Berlin in 1914, and just around the corner, the Joseph Schneider Haus preserves artifacts from the Germanic settlement. More than 30 miles (100 km) of walking and biking trails traverse the riverfront landscape around Kitchener, and playgrounds and toboggan hills line its 220 city parks. One of the most popular of these parks is Victoria Park, which was built in 1896 by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted. It’s centered on a massive clock tower salvaged from old city hall as well as a cast bronze statue of Queen Victoria and a lifelike replica of her royal tinfoil crown.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
Monopolizing pins on the north and south sides of town, Palasad's pair of striking citadels steeps rows of vintage, 10-pin lanes and gourmet kitchens in colourful 1960s charm. At Palasad South, black lights, lasers, and 10 projection screens propel vintage trappings into the future, when bowling will become the international language of diplomacy. Prize-heavy arcades, new ping-pong rooms with cushioned athletic floors, and Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables at both locations provide nonlinear entertainment. Parties of up to 500 guests may rent out a network of rooms, such as the La Fiamma Dining Room, where pizzas and wings roast in wood-fired ovens.
Taking pool shots inside Bison Billiards can feel more like playing in a professional tournament than at a local pool hall. This is because players test their mettle on multiple professional-quality pool tables––including Diamond and Gabriels––covered in Simonis cloth and stocked with Aramith balls. The in-house pro shop equips players with a variety of cues, accessories, and cases from top-industry names such as Predator and Poison. About the only distraction from the billiards is the stocked bar, which houses more than 25 varieties of beer and a bank of dartboards that enables visitors to practice their aim before the tailless donkeys invade.
Bowling balls spin down the lane, sending pins scattering with a loud clatter. That noise is the soundtrack inside Star Lanes, where families and friends convene across 16 lanes of fun. While bowling is the main focus, it isn?t the only thing to do. Guests can hone their hand-eye coordination with a game of pool, a round of darts, or a trip to the ball cover-knitting station.
Computerized scoring tracks bowlers’ adventures on Streetsville Bowl’s 12 lanes, documenting their every victory or defeat over an opposing army of five pins. Optional bumpers can shift the battle's odds in players’ favor, preventing balls from rolling away into the gutter or off to pacifist colonies to exist alongside pins in harmony. During breaks from the action, players can refuel with snack-bar fare such as piping-hot mozzarella sticks, or man the joysticks at the onsite arcade.
Originally Rick's Home Billiards, Big Boy Toyz continues the business's more than 40-year history by equipping fun seekers with toys, remote-controlled vehicles, and items for their game rooms. A bird-shaped pen-holder kit ($12.95) beckons customers to chat with a multicoloured parrot, whose built-in microphone records personalized messages perfect to play back for friends or judges in traffic-court hearings. Skilled hands can use a remote control to steer a green RC racing buggy ($21.95) around sharp turns or can launch a Wilson NCAA basketball ($19) on hoop-bound flights. Mix up clubs and spades with a wooden-style automatic card shuffler ($19.95), or throw sets of brass soft-tip darts ($20) to highlight important chart areas during office meetings.