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.
Made up of amateurs, students from Wilfrid Laurier University, and seasoned professionals, the 34-member Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra is truly a community ensemble. And the group takes its cultural responsibility seriously—each season, they delve into the lesser known works of beloved 18th and 19th century composers to unearth and play forgotten gems. Before presenting pieces by such luminaries as Beethoven and Mozart, the orchestra invites audiences to pre-concert performances from a small ensemble.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony was founded out of necessity; in 1945, the Grand Philharmonic Choir was preparing a recital and needed tuneful accompaniment for the harmonic voices. Once its backup duty was over, however, the newly convened orchestra quickly established itself as an independent source for both classical and pops concerts performing more than 100 concerts annually in the Waterloo region. Now home to 52 on-staff musicians, the orchestra continues its decades-long tradition at venues around Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge. From his position as music director, Edwin Outwater oversees the joyful noise, which ranges from baroque to Beethoven to the Beatles and Broadway. Since assuming the role in 2007, Outwater has been one of the orchestra's most vigorous boosters, arranging the group's first commercial recording in a decade, engineering an exploration of prog rock in collaboration with the Institute for Quantum Computing, and knitting sweaters for each musician's instrument.