Ontario Real Estate News & Market Trends

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Nov. 1, 2021

The Best Neighbourhoods in Waterloo, Ontario

The Best Neighbourhoods in Waterloo, Ontario

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Whether this is your first time living in Waterloo or you are looking for a change of scenery, finding the right neighbourhood is the key to making the city your dream destination. Waterloo, Ontario is a mid-sized city in southwestern Ontario with a population of over 100,000 according to the 2016 census. With its fantastic post-secondary schools, rich history and thriving tech industry, Waterloo is one of the most popular cities in southwestern Ontario outside of the Greater Toronto Area. Compared to house prices in the GTA, Waterloo’s market is affordable and more friendly to first-time home buyers, so it’s no wonder that real estate in the city is heating up! If you are looking for your perfect neighbourhood, then consider this list of select few offerings from all around Waterloo.

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The Best Neighbourhood for an Easy Commute

The Best Neighbourhood for an Easy Commute in Waterloo, Ontario

When planning a move, you might be scoping the area and looking for all of the nearest bus stops and highways to carefully plan a path to work. Finding a home with a great commute means less time in transit and more time enjoying that home with your family and with company! Waterloo is a very interconnected city, so whether you need to get through the city, find highway access or want to be within walking distance from the transit station, there are plenty of great options in Waterloo.

Lincoln Heights: The Best Neighbourhood for Highway Access

Find your Dream Home in Lincoln Heights >>>

The expressway, also known as the Conestoga Parkway, is one of the most important roads in the city for commuters. It runs north and south through eastern Waterloo and connects with Kitchener and beyond to the 401 Highway southeast of the neighbouring city. If you need highway access, then living close to an entrance to the expressway should be a high priority in order to cut down that commute time. One great option for this is a little neighbourhood called Lincoln Village. This central Waterloo neighbourhood is located just west of the expressway and north of Uptown Waterloo. It is a residential neighbourhood with most detached, older homes. There are lots of great places to connect with the community in Lincoln Heights including the Moses Springer Community Centre, riverside trails and several large parks in and around the neighbourhood. Most importantly, there is access to the expressway in both the northeastern corner and southeastern corner of the neighbourhood. 

Eastbridge: The Best Neighbourhood for Rapid Transit

Find your Dream Home in Eastbridge >>>

Waterloo is one of a few mid-sized cities in southwestern Ontario that has made the leap into rapid transit. In Waterloo, this quick form of public transportation, called the ION light rail, cuts down significantly on your travel time if you rely on public transit to get around the city. This means exciting things for commuters that want a fast and affordable way to get between several key stops in Waterloo and nearby Kitchener. The route currently services important hubs like Downtown Kitchener, the universities and Conestoga Mall in Waterloo through the convenient scheduling of Grand River Transit. If that sounds impressive, Grand River Transit plans to expand the ION light rail network to connect Kitchener and Waterloo with the third of the tri-cities: Cambridge for even greater accessibility.

For rapid-transit users, nothing beats the convenience of the Eastbridge neighbourhood which allows residents to reach the Conestoga ION station with just a few minutes of walking, so you won’t even have to worry about finding a parking spot! The Eastbridge area is a mostly residential suburb developed about 25 years ago. Houses here are primarily detached properties and make for excellent family homes with lots of nearby parks. Other perks of the neighbourhood include being close to the Conestoga Mall, various golf courses north of Waterloo and, for drivers, also being close to the expressway.

 

The Best Neighbourhood for Families

The Best Neighbourhood for Families in Waterloo, Ontario

If you are house-hunting with a family in mind, then there are few important considerations to watch out for in Waterloo. While there are a lot of factors that make a great family neighbourhood like nearby parks, great schools and opportunities for activities, finding the right balance for your family and budget is at the heart of any decision. With so many great choices in Waterloo, we’ve narrowed down two excellent family neighbourhoods with several important qualities for a growing family.

Eastbridge

Find your Dream Home in Eastbridge >>>

Eastbridge is back! This neighbourhood has the honour of topping our list in two categories which makes it extra special! This neighbourhood in the northeastern corner of Waterloo earned a lot of points with us because of how close it is to the expressway and the Conestoga light rail station. All of these factors and more tie into it being a fantastic family neighbourhood as well. 

Families in Eastbridge get all the convenient perks for commuters alongside some lovely features for kids and family activities. This neighbourhood—and especially the eastern end—is made up of quiet, residential streets connected by parks, trails and some of the best ranked schools in the city of Waterloo. Among those favourably ranked schools are several of the city’s top-ten schools: Millen Woods Public School, Lester B Pearson Public School  and St. Luke Catholic Elementary School all boast high scores on the most recent round of testing as well as a legacy of good scores over the last four years of testing. Eastbridge is also a stellar choice if you are looking for a nearby French language school since the also well-regarded École Élémentaire Catholique Mère-Élisabeth-Bruyere is located less than a 10-minute drive from Eastbridge on the southwestern side of the expressway.  

Laurelwood

Laurelwood is another great neighbourhood that wins top accolades in two categories. For this section, Laurelwood shines because of its excellent selection of schools and places to enjoy the great outdoors with your family. As we will see later, fans of nature will also have a hard time finding a better area than Laurelwood.

This west-end Waterloo neighbourhood is located south of the Laurel Creek Conservation Area and northwest of the Beechwood area. Between the neighbourhood parks and trails and the outdoor activities available in the Laurel Creek Conservation area, there is no shortage of places for kids to be healthy and active outside. Another reason why Laurelwood is a great family neighbourhood is because like Eastbridge, it is also home to many of the top ranking elementary schools in Waterloo. This includes Laurelwood Public School, the highest ranked elementary school in the most recent year of provincial testing. That’s not all, the scores at other Laurelwood elementary schools, Abraham Erb Public School and St. Nicholas Catholic Elementary School are also among the highest in the city. Since convenience is also key for the ideal family neighbourhood, Laurelwood’s location on the west side of Waterloo puts it close to shopping and dining along Erbsville Road, the Ira Needles Boulevard and the popular Boardwalk shopping area.

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The Best Neighbourhood for Students

The Best Neighbourhood for Students in Waterloo

Waterloo is known as the home of three of the best post-secondary options in southwestern Ontario. Whether you are planning your first year or looking to move off-campus, living close to school is often the most convenient option for students. Based on whether you are attending one of the universities or Conestoga College, here are two popular choices to consider:

University : Best for University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University Students

Find your Dream Home in University >>>

Both the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are located in the heart of the city with a bustling educational and social scene in the areas around the schools. If you want to live close to the school and other students, then consider looking for a place to live in the University neighbourhood.

University has a mix of homes, condos and apartments. The majority of properties are available for rent and there is a high population of students. Living in the University neighbourhood means being close to the campus as well as the many places to eat out around it. With University being in central Waterloo, it is also a short transit ride away from the shopping and dining excellence of Uptown Waterloo as well as the many attractions of Waterloo Park.  

Glenridge : Best for Conestoga College Students

Find your Dream Home in Glenridge >>>

While the Waterloo campus of Conestoga College isn’t located too far east from University, living in the Glenridge neighbourhood, just west of the expressway, is a great way to be close to the college. The area is pretty suburban with a mix of homes, condos and low-rise apartment buildings and is quieter than living in the heart of University. Glenridge is close to the expressway and to some shopping and dining opportunities along King Street, giving it a different vibe than a typical student area. 

 

The Best Neighbourhood for Nature Lovers: Laurelwood

The Best Neighbourhood for Nature Lovers in Waterloo, Ontario

If you want to live in Waterloo, but not to give up having nature at your doorstep, then consider exploring the Laurelwood neighbourhood for more than just its amazing school selection. Laurelwood is a western neighbourhood in Waterloo with all the makings of the perfect place for a nature lover to call home. Its high-ranking schools make it a great choice for families as well! 

Laurelwood is right on the other side of Laurelwood Drive from the Laurel Creek Conservation Area. As a wealth of natural beauty, the conservation area is home to interconnected trails, stunning views and the Laurel Creek Reservoir. With accommodations for canoeing, kayaking, sailing, fishing, hiking, cycling, swimming, picnicking and camping (from May to mid-October), Laurel Creek is one of the best places in Waterloo for all manner of outdoor activities. While many of these are fun family outings, anyone can appreciate the convenience of basically having the conservation area in their backyard. Laurelwood is quiet and residential with a lot of two-storey detached family homes. There are a few crescents with townhouse options as well throughout the neighbourhood. For fans of parks and trails that weave through a neighbourhood, Laurelwood will bring your evening walks to a new level.

 

The Best Neighbourhood for History: Uptown Waterloo

On top of being one of the most convenient areas of the city, Uptown Waterloo is also one of the city’s most historic areas. Between the nearby restaurants, shops and businesses in the commercial heart of the city, most activities and amenities will be right outside your door. With service from Grand River Transit buses and the speedy ION light rail, it is also a great area for access to public transit. Being able to get around so quickly leaves plenty of time to soak up the scenery and history of this area of Waterloo.

Uptown Waterloo is dense and pretty commercial with options for apartments, condos and the rarer, older character property hidden gem. With a mix of modern and classic facades across businesses and apartments, the city’s architectural history is on full display in the Uptown Waterloo area. Another historic boon of the area is just how close it is to Waterloo Park. This large park is home to two landmarks of the city’s earliest history: a replica of the Abraham Grist Mill, Waterloo’s first mill, and the Waterloo Park Log School House from 1820. The Log House is a designated heritage site as well as the oldest standing school In the city! This massive and beautiful park has other attractions like a splash pad, skate park and a free admission farmstead with plenty of animals.

 

The Best Neighbourhood for New Homes: Vista Hills

The Best Neighbourhood for New Homes in Waterloo, Ontario

Buying a new home means modern features, new appliances and can often spare you the cost of updates and renovations. If you are looking for new construction in Waterloo, then take a look at the recent development in Vista Hills. This up-and-coming area is located on Waterloo’s western boundary. It is immediately west of the Laurelwood area and is home to about 40km of trails. Not only are the single family detached homes and townhouses some of the most modern in Waterloo, this area is home to the Vista Hills Public School which opened its doors to neighbourhood families in 2016. 

In this category, the heart of the city earns a special mention for those looking for a new apartment or condo space in the commercial core of Waterloo. There are always new unit developments in the core to keep an eye on as well!

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Waterloo is one of the best cities in Ontario to be looking for a new home. Between the employment opportunities shared among Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge, amazing schools for children and post-secondary students alike and the various activities around the city, Waterloo has so much for anyone to be excited about. If you think Waterloo is the place for you and you want to learn more about the city, read our Guides below for more information!

 

Posted in Waterloo
Nov. 1, 2021

The Best Restaurants in Waterloo, Ontario

The Best Restaurants in Waterloo, Ontario

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Waterloo, Ontario is a quickly growing city in the Waterloo Region. It is home to three well-regarded post-secondary institutions, several great schools and a booming tech industry. Whether you are new to Waterloo or are looking to get to know the city better, familiarizing yourself with the local cuisine is one of the fastest ways to fall in love with an area. Between breakfast restaurants, cafes, takeout and classic dine-in restaurants, Waterloo has a wealth of diversity to offer in its local restaurants. Making the move to Waterloo might be the best choice for you, so here is a list of twenty must-try restaurants to make the new city feel like home.

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Best Restaurants for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond 

Best Restaurants for Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond

For those days where you want a hearty breakfast without the prep, cooking and cleaning, look no further than any of Waterloo’s amazing restaurants that specialize in breakfast and lunch. They are great options for small groups or for a cozy place to stop when friends or family are visiting:

 

1.    Jack’s Family Restaurant

https://www.jacksfamilyrestaurant.ca/

Finding a local family breakfast restaurant can sometimes be a challenge with the number out chains out there these days. Thankfully, Waterloo’s Jack’s Family Restaurant is a popular family-owned place serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are located in the very north of Waterloo, on Benjamin Road just south of the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. They have a massive breakfast menu with offerings from traditional platters, skillets, Eggs Benedict, Omelettes, breakfast sandwiches and packed breakfast burritos. You could even stop by just for a special dessert and choose from Jack's wide selection of fresh crepes, French Toast, Pancakes, Belgian Waffles, Milkshakes or plates of fresh fruit.

 

2.    Korner Kitchen Breakfast & Lunch Eatery

https://kornerkitchen.ca/

Korner Kitchen offers both sizable breakfast and lunch menus, so they are perfect for starting your day or sitting down for a midday meal. Located on Weber Street south of University Avenue, Korner Kitchen is a casual restaurant with an inviting, homestyle menu. Their breakfast offerings include all of the standard egg, bacon and toast staples alongside some heartier and more diverse pairings like Smoked Meat Hash and Fried Chicken Steak for those who are having trouble deciding between breakfast and lunch. Rest assured, there are lengthy sections of the menu dedicated to pancakes, crepes, french toast and waffles with the promise of premium toppings like Oreo crumble, fresh fruit and other sweet sauces!

 

3.    LooBapBap

https://www.skipthedishes.com/loobapbap

LooBapBap is a Korean Restaurant located in central Waterloo, on Lester Street about halfway between Columbia Street to the north and University Avenue to the south. While they definitely serve some classic Korean lunch staples like Kimbap (rolls) and Cupbap (rice bowls), they also serve many varieties of Egg Toast, which are sure to make fans of savoury French Toast fall in love. LooBapBap makes their Egg Toast with brioche bread and combines toppings like cheese, scrambled eggs, avocado, shredded crab, grilled shrimp and specialty house sauces for a unique experience and a hearty sandwich that is good for breakfast or lunch. LooBapBap also delivers for maximum breakfast convenience.

 

4.    Homestyle Diner

https://www.homestylediner.ca/

Homestyle Diner is a popular local restaurant located on Albert Street near Sugarbush Park. This down-to-earth breakfast and lunch place serves homemade classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This family-owned and operated diner serves everything on its menu with a little touch of home cooking goodness. You can customize your own breakfast plate with your choice of ham, sausage, peameal bacon, turkey sausage or a secret recipe “farmer’s sausage” or you can enjoy one of Homeystyle’s named platters, the “Ole Albert” or the “Ole Hazel.” Hometsyle’s menu also has Eggs Benedicts,  Sandwiches, Wraps and Omelettes as well as pancakes and French Toast, too.

 

5.    Seven Shores Community Cafe

http://www.sevenshores.ca/

Seven Shores Community Cafe is a community owned and locally operated restaurant located in Uptown Waterloo. Their menu includes offerings for breakfast and lunch as well as drinks and snacks that are available all day. Both breakfast and lunch are served until 2 p.m. and offer guests affordable breakfast options like platters, omelettes, breakfast burritos, pancakes and more! Their lunch menu also offers soup, salad, wraps and paninis. Seven Shores is also a popular stop in the community for coffee lovers with their selection of espresso-based drinks, house blend coffee and seasonal drink offerings, too.

 

Best Restaurants for Takeout 

Best Restaurants for Takeout

Sometimes, staying in is the best call. Maybe the weather isn’t cooperating or your schedule doesn’t let you eat out as often as you’d like. Thanks to a surge in available delivery apps, many of your favourite Waterloo restaurants are offering takeout, delivery or both. This way, you can enjoy comfort food or try something new without leaving the comfort of your home!

 

1.    The Crazy Canuck

https://thecrazycanuck.ca/

If you want BBQ, poutines, pizza and more delivered right to your door, then you need to know about The Crazy Canuck. This restaurant is located in northern Waterloo, on Weber Street by the St. Jacobs Farmers Market. Toppings is the name of the game at this restaurant where everything from the burgers to the poutine and the specialty pizzas are loaded with creative combinations of fresh ingredients. Some standout burgers are The DTK Burger made with pulled pork, brisket and bacon and The Mad Greek which is made with gyro meat and a blend of tzatziki and herbed mayonnaise. The Crazy Canuck’s poutine and pizza creations are equally exciting from the Halifax Donair Pizza to the Curry and Goat Cheese Poutine.

 

2.    Bao Sandwich Bar

https://www.baosandwichbar.com/

If you are looking to level up your sandwich tastes, then this recommendation is for you. Bao Sandwich Bar specializes in Vietnamese sandwiches,  Banh mi and Taiwanese steamed buns, Gua Bao. This restaurant, located on Balsam Street in the University core area of Waterloo offers a seriously stacked menu and a chance to try a variety of flavours with each order or visit. Some of the Bao selections include chicken katsu (Japanese style fried chicken), bulgogi (Korean marinated beef) and Peking style roasted duck with exciting vegetarian options available like an avocado burger and a sriracha tofu bao as well. 

 

3.    Ken Sushi

https://www.kensushihouse.ca/

While Ken Sushi also offers sit-down dining, do not underestimate the marvel that is fresh takeout or delivery sushi—especially when it’s as delicious as the selection at Ken Sushi. Located in Phillip Square in the University area, Ken Sushi is particularly popular with students. You can find most sushi varieties under the sun at Ken Sushi, so it’s perfect for fans of seafood. If you are ordering with a group, Ken Sushi also serves noodle dishes, teriyaki dinners, tempura offerings and bento boxes so there is something for everyone. If you do decide to dine-in, you can try some of Ken Sushi’s Japanese beer offerings, Soju (a Korean spirit) or sake, served hot or cold.

 

4.    Sonny’s Drive-In

https://sonnysdrivein.com/

If you are a fan of nostalgic diners and drive-in-style service or if you are just in the mood for a good quality burger, then check out Sonny’s on Weber Street just north of University Ave. Established in 1965, this ma & pa restaurant is a popular, local fast food joint that is open late and serves all kinds of comfort food. Aside from their famous char-broiled burgers, they also serve highly popular onion rings and fresh fish & chip combos. Sonny’s also serves a variety of hot dogs and sausages, pitas and chicken meals to appeal to everyone ordering. 

 

5.    Canadian Pizza

http://www.canadianpizzanwings.ca/home.html?1

Kitchener has its fair share of excellent pizza places, but Canadian Pizza in Waterloo gives them a run for their money. Located in eastern Waterloo, Canadian Pizza is on Lincoln Road, just west of access to the Conestoga Parkway and south of University Ave. In addition to that classic pizza experience, Canadian Pizza stands out from the competition because they also offer the option to upgrade their large pizza to a deep dish pizza instead. For variety, Canadian Pizza also serves oven-baked nachos, wings, panzerottis and several different sides to add to your order.

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Best Restaurants for Dining In

Best Restaurants for Dining In 

Many restaurants are reopening with expanded indoor room for dining, so what better reason to get out and explore some of the dine in options available in Waterloo? Whether you are looking for a night out or a new favourite local pub, here are five great options to check out. These are among the most popular restaurants in Waterloo, so making a reservation ahead of time is highly recommended.

 

1.    Proof Kitchen + Lounge

https://proofwaterloo.com/

Proof Kitchen is an Uptown Waterloo restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a popular dining spot in Waterloo because of its decent pricing, up-scale atmosphere and overall food experience. Proof Kitchen’s selection of food and wine pairings make it a promising choice for a date night or special occasion. If you like steak, then be sure to pay extra special attention to that section of your menu with New York Striploin, Tenderloin and Coulotte Steak as well as a market price Chef’s cut offering. If you enjoy finishing your meal with coffee or something sweet, check out Proof’s specialty coffee and tea offerings as well as their extensive selection of dessert wines.

 

2.    Taco Farm

https://tacofarm.ca/

Taco Farm is a locally-sourced mexican-inspired restaurant that is dedicated to making everything fresh and in-house using ingredients sourced from local farmers. They are located on Erb Street in Uptown Waterloo and offer limited dine-in seating as well as a takeout menu. They serve taco platters, feasts and bowls as well as other offerings like enchiladas and tasty desserts like churros. All of their tacos are also made entirely gluten free. If you are dining in, Taco Farm has a long list of beers on tap and an impressive repertoire of margaritas. 

 

 3.    The Bauer Kitchen

https://www.thebauerkitchen.ca/

Fans of industrial chique will feel right at home in this popular bistro-style restaurant. Its King Street location in the heart of Uptown Waterloo is actually a restored factory, so even its atmosphere is authentic. While it has an extensive selection of soups, salads, pizza, bugers, bowls, pasta and main courses, sitting down with a plate of starters or shareables and a drink from The Bauer Kitchen’s impressive drinks menu is an equally great time. Their menu also includes considerations for gluten friendly items in every category as well as plant-based fritters, wings, nachos and main courses that show off the menu’s versatility and creativity.    

 

4.    Wildcraft Grill + Long Bar

https://www.wildcraft.ca/ 

A little on the costly side, Wildcraft Grill is the main ingredient in a memorable night out. Wildcraft is located on King Street, just south of the Conestoga Parkway. This Canadian grill is known for great service, a pleasant casual dining experience and food that looks amazing and tastes better. Their expansive menu includes plant-based choices and gluten friendly options as well which are innovative and flavourful alternatives to accommodate every guest’s preferences. If you are visiting Wildcraft as part of a night out, their wine selection and cocktail menus can add a colourful spice to just about any meal. While the weather cooperates, they also boast an impressive patio.

 

5.    Beertown Public House

https://beertown.ca/

Beertown Public House is another must-try restaurant for a casual night out in Uptown Waterloo. If you are a fan of beer and comfort food that pairs with it, then you are going to love Beertown Public House. They serve lots of options for appetizers and sharing plates for you and your table including flatbread, nachos, wings and calamari. Nothing goes better with beer than fried chicken and burgers which are coincidently some of the best offerings on the Beertown Public House menu. You can even add extra fries, gravy, pretzels or coleslaw to any order.

 

Best Restaurants for Coffee, Snacks and Treats

Best Restaurants for Coffee, Snacks and Treats 

Knowing about a special cafe can brighten your day on the way to work and impress friends during outings. Likewise, finding your favourite local dessert offerings and bakeries is a great way to try delicious, freshly made treats and to support local business. We’ve highlighted five awesome offerings in Waterloo below:

 

1.    Sweet Lou’s Cookies

https://sweetlouscookies.com/ 

Artisan baked goods are great as gifts, great at parties, great for special occasions and great as a treat, too. Sweet Lou’s Cookies is an artisan bakery that specializes in gourmet cookies, but they occasionally add other seasonal sweet treats to their menu. Most importantly, their cookie menu is packed with candy and combination goodness. Why just enjoy a simple chocolate chip cookie when Sweet Lou’s offers you S’more, Skor, Milk Duds, Peanut Butter Cups, M&Ms and potato chips as possible flavours? If you stop into their Weber Street location, they also sell decadent milkshakes, sundaes and ice cream sandwiches in addition to being able to buy their cookies by the dozens!

 

2.    The Crumbly Cookie Dough Company

https://www.thecrumbycookiedoughco.com/

You’ve probably heard of gourmet cookie bakeries, but have you ever heard of a shop that only sells dough? As it says on their website, you can buy their dough to bake it yourself or enjoy it raw. This concept is pretty special and so are the dough flavours on offer at the Crumbly Cookie Dough Company. They boast fun names like the “Material Squirrel,” peanut butter cookie dough with roasted peanuts, chocolate cookie pieces and butter toffee and “You’re the Apple of my Pie,” cinnamon spice cookie dough with bourbon roasted apples, pie pastry and oatmeal crumble.

 

3.    Ce Food Experience

https://www.cefoodexperience.ca/

Ce Food Experience is a local artisan bakery in Waterloo. Whether you are looking for freshly baked bread or a treat for a sweet tooth, Ce Food Experience has plenty of fresh, hand-crafted options. With dinner rolls, butter croissants and many kinds of loaves to choose from, Ce Food Experience is worth checking in to see which freshly baked products are available. They also make a variety of sweet treats not limited to squares, bars, muffins, brookies (brownie cookies) tarts and kits as well. Be sure to stop in for their Saturday Specials that include bagels, cinnamon buns, soft pretzels and a surprise featured bread.

 

4.    Cafe 1842 at the Huether Hotel

http://huetherhotel.com/

Fans of good coffee and speciality drinks will enjoy Cafe 1842 at the Huether Hotel. Located on King Street, just northeast of the main branch of the Waterloo Public Library, Huether Hotel is a restaurant and bar based in a  former hotel. Their cafe space offers hot drinks, cold drinks and seasonal drinks, too. Guests can enjoy staple drinks like lattes, espresso and London Fogs or iced coffee, frappuccinos and slushies on warmer days. If you don’t like coffee or are looking for something more filling, Cafe 1842 also serves a few different smoothie blends including fruity blends like Sour Apple and Strawberry Cyclone, other dessert flavours like Banana Chai and Chocolate Peanut Paradise or the options to build your own.

 

5.    Aroma Cafe

https://aromacafewaterloo.ca/

Aroma Cafe is an Uptown Waterloo cafe and coffee roaster, making it a great spot to sit and enjoy a freshly brewed cup or your new go-to place for locally roasted coffee beans. Fans of great coffee might also find a baked treat or delicious wrap on the menu as another reason to love Aroma Cafe and all it has to offer. Aroma’s beans include offerings of medium roasts, dark roasts and speciality blends, too. If you love the roasts and want to try something regularly, Aroma also offers a bean subscription service!.

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With that, we’ve reached the end of the list. From the excellent dine-in offerings in Uptown Waterloo to a collection of stellar takeout places around the city, Waterloo, Ontario has something for everyone. Many of the above restaurants are more than just breakfast, dine-in or takeout, so be sure to branch out and order something different from their menu if you are looking for more reasons to fall in love.

If you want to learn more about Waterloo then check out our

Posted in Waterloo
Aug. 17, 2021

Moving to Waterloo? The Ultimate Guide to Living in Waterloo, Ontario

The Ultimate Guide to Living in Waterloo, Ontario

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If you are in the market for a home in a growing city of tech industry development and fantastic education opportunities, then consider taking a closer look at Waterloo, Ontario. Waterloo is full of wonderful events, exciting attractions and a strong innovative spirit that explain its recent rise in popularity among house hunters in southern Ontario. Waterloo is considered to be a mid-sized city with a population of over 100,000 people. Whether you are thinking about moving to Waterloo or are already in the middle of a move, this guide aims to help you get everything you need to know about living in Waterloo, Ontario.

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About Waterloo, Ontario - Where is Waterloo, Ontario? 

Waterloo is a southern Ontario City in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. As of the 2016 census, Waterloo had a total population of 104,986 people. It is located about 30km southwest of Guelph, 70km northwest of Hamilton and 110km southwest of the Toronto core. Residents of Waterloo commuting to another city in Ontario have access to the 401 Highway that runs to the south of the city and connects it with London to the west and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to the east. The Grand River forms the eastern boundary of the City of Waterloo.

The City of Waterloo is considered to be a part of the Tri-Cities which ties together Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo. Kitchener shares its northern border with Waterloo’s southern border. While the two cities are closely connected, they remain politically independent cities. Many refer to the larger collective area as Kitchener-Waterloo. The combined population of Kitchener and Waterloo is 338,208 which accounts for well over half of the total Waterloo Region population of 535,154 people.

 

History of Waterloo, Ontario

History of Waterloo, Ontario

The Waterloo Region is a significant area for the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and Neutral People. The first group of settlers arrived in the area in the early 1800s. This settlement was the first grist mill established on Laurel Creek by the Erb family who were Mennonites from Pennsylvania. Over the years, the settlement would grow around that mill and spread across the area. The Village of Waterloo was first incorporated in 1857 and its growth would see it earn status as a town in 1876 and a city in 1948.

In more recent years, the area formerly known as the County of Waterloo was restructured into the Regional Municipality of Waterloo in 1973. This changed some cities and townships in the Waterloo Region and resulted in the creation of the city of Cambridge. This was also the official beginning of the Tri-Cities designation between Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo.

 

Waterloo, Ontario Real Estate

Waterloo is in the same position as many mid-sized southern Ontario cities. It is centrally located with access to important highways plus plenty of its own thriving industry to attract talent. Over the last few years, the real estate market in southern Ontario has been heating up and Waterloo is a popular place to call home. This increased interest in housing in Kitchener-Waterloo has created a demand that the housing inventory just can’t match, so finding the perfect home in Waterloo can be competitive.

When real estate statistics are collected, the figures from Kitchener and Waterloo are combined for the purpose of publishing figures of the area. By the end of 2020, the average price for a property in Kitchener-Waterloo was about $612,000. The most expensive type of property in the city is the detached home which had an average sale price of $719,000 by the end of 2020. Apartment-style condos were the most affordable type of property in the city at $391,000. Townhouses and semi-detached homes were in the middle with an average of $468,000. Since these figures are only averages, there is room for properties listed both above and below these figures, so watching new listings closely is the best way to get ahead in an increasingly competitive market.

Between 2020 and the beginning of 2021, real estate in Waterloo has seen record-breaking stats month after month. The number of homes sold as well as the average price of a home has been quickly climbing over the last year. Throughout an overall strong year, there are still seasons that are more popular than others when it comes to buying and selling on the real estate market. In the Kitchener-Waterloo area, June, July and August proved to be the most popular months of the year for market activity. Nice weather during the summer months contributes to an overall increased interest in house hunting, plus more time to get ready to move and a window of opportunity for families with children on their summer break from school. 

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Living in Waterloo, Ontario

Waterloo, Ontario is a growing southwestern Ontario city that is a key balance of convenience, industry and education opportunities that make it a strong contender against other cities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

Getting around Waterloo is one of its best conveniences. Whether you are relying on a personal vehicle or public transit, there are several convenient options for traversing Waterloo and the rest of the Waterloo Region as well. For drivers, the Conestoga Parkway is a clear advantage as the main road connecting Waterloo to Kitchener, Cambridge and the 401. By driving from the core of Waterloo, Hamilton is about 50 to 55 minutes away. Mississauga is a little over an hour’s drive away from Waterloo which can open up further employment opportunities as well as access to the large international travel hub, Toronto Pearson Airport. The core of Toronto itself is about an hour-and-a-half away from Waterloo.  

Public transportation is another way to get around the City of Waterloo and the Waterloo Region. Grand River Transit operates several bus routes across Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo. Grand River Transit also operates the ION light rail rapid transit, a quick and direct train route between Fairway Station in southeastern Kitchener and Conestoga Station in northeastern Waterloo. In between the two ends of the route, there are several stops convenient to downtown Kitchener, Uptown Waterloo and the universities. The ION light rail makes a total of 19 stops along its route. A planned second phase of the ION project will see a rail route connecting Waterloo and Cambridge as well.

Even though there are excellent possibilities for commuters, a wide range of possible industries make working in Waterloo appealing as well. Historically, the insurance industry has thrived in Waterloo and to this day, insurance companies are some of the city’s biggest employers. The University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are two other major employers in the city. Waterloo is also gaining a reputation as a tech city with several big names in information technology like BlackBerry and Honeywell Aerospace. On that note, computer technology and environmental management are two of the fastest growing sectors in Waterloo.

Public education in Waterloo is handled by four main boards. The largest board is the Waterloo Region District School Board which has over 20 elementary schools and three secondary schools in Waterloo. The Waterloo Catholic District School Board is the second largest board with seven elementary schools and one secondary school in Waterloo. There are additional schools in Kitchener that extend their boundaries to residents of Waterloo as well. Students in Waterloo also have access to the French-language boards: the Conseil scolaire Viamonde and the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. The Conseil scolaire Viamonde operates one elementary school and one secondary school in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir operates one elementary school in Waterloo and one secondary school servicing the Waterloo Region from Cambridge.

Waterloo has quite the reputation for its post-secondary institutions. Not only are they among the city’s biggest employers, they are both well-regarded Ontario universities. The University of Waterloo is ranked as one of the most innovative universities in Canada according to Maclean’s yearly reputation rankings. They are internationally known for their computer science and co-op learning programming. Wilfrid Laurier University is the smaller of the two universities in Waterloo. They provide student-focused experience that combines experiential learning, career development opportunities and so many for students to customize their degree. 

Another option is Conestoga College which has a campus in Waterloo as well as one in Kitchener and another in Cambridge. The Waterloo campus offers programs in hospitality and culinary arts, English language Studies and academic upgrading. The nearby Kitchener campus offers even more program options for students willing to live in Waterloo and make the short commute into Kitchener.    

  

Things to do in Waterloo, Ontario

Things to do in Waterloo, Ontario

Whether you’re looking for a weekend outing or an exciting seasonal event, Waterloo and the nearby area has something fun to see and do. Waterloo has plenty of parks and trails to explore across the seasons. Waterloo’s rich history and heritage also make tours of the local museums a must-see part of living in the city, too. Between Waterloo and Kitchener, there are plenty of local businesses for shopping and dining as well as big festivals and events to participate in.

With parks and trails throughout the city to visit, Waterloo’s natural beauty is just as important as its heritage and current industry. Many residents appreciate the work that goes into maintaining the large and central Waterloo Park as well as all of the city’s many trail systems. The entrance to Waterloo Park is located on Young Street West with parking available for vehicles and bike racks for cyclists. Waterloo Park offers sports courts, places for picnics, trails and gardens and important pieces of heritage like the Erb Mill and Waterloo’s first school house. The Eby Farmstead is one of the park’s most popular attractions which allows visitors to see farm animals like chickens, goats and potbelly pigs as well as  llamas and peacocks. If you are looking to find more trails in the Waterloo area, then heading west to try the West-Side Trails is a great way to see some wildlife without leaving the city. These densely tree-lined trails are the perfect place to spot birds and other animals that call this rich region home. The network of West Side Trails total about 12 km of loops for hiking and walking in all seasons.

Visiting a museum is a popular attraction for curious families or new residents looking to learn a little bit about the history behind the city of Waterloo. For history buffs, the City of Waterloo Museum in Conestoga Mall is one of the best ways to connect with the city’s past. In addition to physical exhibits and extensive collections, the City of Waterloo Museum offers a digital walking tour as well as special presentations and events hosted throughout the year. The University of Waterloo’s Earth Sciences Museum is a collection curated for science enthusiasts of all ages. They have exhibits on rocks and minerals, dinosaurs, ice age mammals, a replica silver mine and fossils of various animals and plants.     

While technically not a part of Waterloo, the attractions found in Kitchener are just as accessible to their Waterloo neighbours. The closest attractions in Kitchener are those downtown like the Kitchener Market where visitors can explore a variety of vendors and shop for local produce and artisan goods. On Saturdays, the Kitchener Market is also home to a weekly farmers’ market. Kitchener’s festivals and events are another great perk of being so close to the city. In the summer, there is a free Canada Day celebration with music and fireworks held in Downtown Kitchener. In the fall, the city becomes a hub of celebration for its German roots and everyone gathers together to celebrate Oktoberfest. In the wintertime, the famous Christkindl Market is one of the best ways to gear up for the holidays in this German Christmas market in Downtown Kitchener.

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Waterloo, Ontario is a growing mid-sized city with so many attractive features for visitors and home buyers alike. If something about the city caught your eye and you’d like to learn more, consider checking out some of the other blog posts in the Waterloo series:

Posted in Waterloo
July 11, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Selling a Home in Welland, Ontario

The Ultimate Guide to Selling a Home in Welland, Ontario

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Whether you are sure about selling or are just exploring your options, knowing all the tips and tricks for selling your home in Welland, Ontario will put you a step ahead. With our advice about timing, preparation and expectations, take the guessing game out of selling your home.

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When Should You Sell?

When it comes to selling your home timing is everything. If you are on a strict timeline or need to sell urgently, the good news is that Niagara Region real estate is a seller’s market. There is a huge demand for housing in Ontario and the supply on the market can’t keep up, so this means home sellers are in a pretty good position.

 

If you have the ability to be flexible with your selling timeline, then the season you are planning to list is something to keep in mind. The first reason is that some seasons are statistically more popular than others. While Welland’s market has been heating up overall, the yearly statistics point to the summer months as the hottest. Based on the figures from 2020, the number of new listings and the number of sales were at their highest across June, July, August and September. During these months, the average number of days a home sat on the market was less than a month, with its lowest average of 20 days in September.

 

There are other benefits of trying to sell in the summer, too. The sunshine and nice summer temperatures are the perfect time of the year to be exploring neighbourhoods and touring houses. Curb appeal is often at its best in the summer and early fall without snow in the winter, mud in the spring and leaves falling later in the fall. For families looking for a house, moving in the summer means that their children’s school year isn’t being disturbed by the move, either.  

 

Preparing to Sell

Preparing to Sell your home in Welland, Ontario

Once you’ve decided to list, you will want to do everything you can to help your home sell. Many of these suggestions are to help your home really shine during showings.

 

Clean Inside and Out

This suggestion goes beyond scrubbing the bathroom tiles and vacuuming the entire house. By clean, we mean a real, deep clean. Focus on the often forgotten features of your home like the floorboards, high spots, hard to reach areas and especially windows. The same goes for the exterior of your property. Making sure your home’s curb appeal is at its highest with a well maintained lawn, trees and garden. Consider hiring a service to get your home ready for showings.

 

Update and Upgrade

Making your home look fresh and new will go a long way in swaying potential buyers. This can be as simple as paint touch-ups or a new coat of paint in some rooms. Sometimes a new colour or a refresher in the kitchen or living room can make all the difference in helping your home look lively. If you are prepared for bigger upgrades, then new flooring or cabinets are some further steps you can take to liven up your space. Other, smaller details include updating lights and switches throughout your house for a more modern look.

 

Declutter and Decorate

When a potential buyer walks into your home, they want to be able to imagine it as their new home. For this reason, you will want to make sure that clutter, personal effects like photos and keepsakes are kept to a minimum. Excessive clutter can make your home look disorganized, but buyers might be thinking something worse: Is there not enough storage space? You want to avoid this thinking by making your home look open, spacious and organized. This means cleaning and organizing the cabinets in rooms like the kitchen and the bathrooms where buyers might be opening them up to check for space. Another tip is to use light fixtures and lamps to keep each room of your home looking well-lit and welcoming.

 

What to Expect

Every home and every experience is going to be different, but the best way to know what to expect from the selling process is to find qualified real estate professionals that you trust. Real Estate agents can help you determine the best time to sell in your neighbourhood and they also have a good idea of what the best selling point is. By comparing the history of sales in your area and beyond, a qualified real estate agent can give you a price point that works for you and is appealing to potential buyers.

 

Another benefit of working with a real estate professional is the experience they bring to the table. With years in the business, they will be able to answer all of your questions and concerns about selling a home in Welland, Ontario.

 

How Much is my Home worth in Welland, Ontario

 

If you are selling your home in Welland, check out our guide to The Best Neighbourhoods in Welland to get an idea of the hot areas in the city to buy and sell homes.

 

 

Posted in Welland
July 11, 2021

The Ultimate Guide To Buying A House In Welland, Ontario

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Home in Welland, Ontario

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Welland, Ontario is one of the more affordable cities in the Niagara Region and a great spot for home buyers to keep an eye on as the overall real estate market in the region heats up. Whether you are looking for a property upgrade, downsize or searching for your first-ever home, house-hunting in Welland has its advantages.

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The Cost of Buying a House in Welland, Ontario

Naturally, the biggest question about buying a home is the price. As it happens, Welland has some of the lowest average prices in the Niagara Region and its central location appeals to residents who might need to travel to other cities for work or school. For a more accurate reflection of the average cost of a home in the region, the Niagara Association of Realtors uses a Home Price Index (HPI). HPI figures are based off of a composite benchmark that represents the average home in the region. In Niagara, this home is a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom house with a single garage that is between 51 and 99 years old. By the end of 2020, the HPI benchmark price was $476,300 for the entire region. By comparison, the benchmark price in Welland was $381,100. Moving into early 2021, real estate statistics are still on the rise and showing no sign of slowing down, so now is a great time to try and move around or enter the housing market for the first time.

 

On the surface, the HPI benchmark is just a guideline. There are homes in Welland that are going to be listed for below the benchmark and those that are listed above it. Knowing the average is a good starting point for choosing an area in the city and for knowing a good deal when you see one. Your second step should be getting pre-approved for a mortgage. It tells the seller that you are prepared to buy and it means that your finances are organized for your own needs as well. When it comes time to finance a property, you will want to understand how a mortgage works. A traditional mortgage requires 20 percent down, but there are many plans out there with different fee and payment structures, so shop around to find what works the best for you as a buyer. The most important thing to consider is that there are more fees and expenses involved in buying a house than just the sale price, so you can’t completely drain your bank account to purchase the home. Keeping an additional two months of living expenses as an emergency fund is highly recommended.

 

When to Buy a Home in Welland, Ontario

When to buy a home in Welland, Ontario

Another key factor in buying a home is timing. Because of a lower supply of houses than there is demand, Welland, Ontario is considered a seller’s market. For buyers, this can mean a very hot, competitive market where homes don’t stay listed on the market for long. In Welland, the highest number of properties are listed between June and September, making this a busy time for home buyers looking to secure a great home. As a buyer, this means that there is a lot more inventory to choose from, but it also means that the competition for a house is at its fiercest. Summer is a popular time to buy for families who want to disrupt their children’s school year as little as possible.

 

If you aren’t under pressure from a strict timeline, then it might be in your best interest to wait for the market to calm. The quietest time to explore the Welland home market is during the winter months of November, December, January and February tend to have the fewest number of new listings, fewest sales and the longest average days on the market.

 

Know What to Expect

Know what to expect when buying a home in Welland

When you have questions about pricing, neighbourhoods, schools and other local amenities, consulting a real estate professional is the best way to get the answers. A real estate agent who knows the market also knows what to expect from the buying process in their region of expertise. They are the best connection you will make if you are trying to enter the home owning market in any city. Review the credentials of real estate professionals in the area and give your business to someone you trust.

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If you want to know more about Welland, Ontario, we have written a few posts about what you can expect from the city. See our Ultimate Guide to Moving to Welland for general information and the Best Neighbourhoods in Welland for specific details about the best areas to live in the city. If you are interested in how Welland schools rank, we’ve written about both the Best Elementary Schools in Welland and the Best High Schools in Welland.

Posted in Welland
April 18, 2021

The Best Neighbourhoods in Welland, Ontario

The Best Neighbourhoods in Welland, Ontario

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Welland, Ontario is a smaller city in the south-central area of the Niagara Region. This city is about an equal distance from Niagara Falls to the northeast, St. Catharines to the north and Port Colborne to the south, so it is a popular place to live for people who want to be in the middle of everything. Welland is best known for its beautiful waterways: The Welland River and the Welland Canal which features a stretch of recreational water that residents can rent boats and enjoy in the warmer months of the year.

 When you’re looking for the perfect neighbourhood in Welland, it helps to have a list with some personalized factors. Maybe you are looking for the best access to the highway, the neighbourhood nearest to stores, one to enjoy the recreational Welland Canal or the neighbourhoods with the best schools. With these factors in mind, we’ve created a list of neighbourhoods that is sure to appeal to some important criteria when looking for a place to live in Welland, Ontario.

 

Best Welland Neighbourhoods for Getting Around and Commuting

Welland is a smaller city, but being able to get around is just as important as it is in one of the Niagara Region’s bigger cities. Whether you are looking for the best highway access, most convenient bus route or the best walking score, the northern neighbourhoods of Niagara College and Seaway are both excellent choices.

Best Welland Neighbourhoods for Commuting

 

Close to the College and Public Transit: Niagara College

Niagara College is a northern neighbourhood located around its namesake Niagara College’s main campus on Niagara College Boulevard. Some of the residences closer to the campus are popular amongst students, but a lot of the neighbourhood is made up of quiet, residential streets with mature trees, varied house styles and nice, wide front yards. 

This neighbourhood is ideal for employees and students of Niagara College that want to be walking distance from work and school. It is also a convenient location for students of Brock University who live in Welland and rely on the transit link between Niagara College and Brock University in St. Catharines. The Niagara College campus is also an important transit hub in the city with several bus stops servicing the area around and within the campus.

Because of a cluster of great schools in the Niagara College area, this neighbourhood is also incredibly family friendly. We’ll be back to Niagara College when we talk about the best neighbourhoods for families a little later on this list.

 

Shopping and Highway Convenience: Seaway

The Seaway area shares its name with Seaway Mall, a major indoor shopping destination in the northeastern corner of Welland, Ontario. In this neighbourhood, it is easy to get around on foot, by bus or by vehicle thanks to nearby shopping centres and access to the 406-highway by Woodlawn Road.

Living close to Seaway Mall means that residents of Seaway can walk or drive to the mall and have access to not only the shops and restaurants within, but all of the commercial area around the mall as well. With a wide selection of stores inside, some highlights of Seaway Mall include a Staples, Winners and a Cineplex Odeon. North of Seaway Mall and Quaker Road, residents can reach the Welland Sports Complex, a large city-operated baseball stadium with seating capacity for up to 3000 people. There is a relatively new housing subdivision in the northern area of the neighbourhood by the stadium that is better for residents with a vehicle.

Another shopping area requires following Woodlawn Road until crossing the Welland Canal to reach SmartCentres Welland. This shopping area includes a Walmart Supercentre for everyone’s shopping needs. To the east of this shopping centre is the access to the 406-highway and the most important route for those who drive out of Welland for work. Commuters to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls will find that living in the northeast of Welland cuts down on their commute times significantly. St. Catharines and Niagara Falls are between 20-30 minutes away from the core of Welland, but leaving from the Seaway area can reliably shave about 5 minutes off of the drive.   

 

Best Welland Neighbourhoods to Enjoy the Welland Canal

The Welland Canal is a lovely natural feature of the city as well as a wonderful community resource for events, exploration and water sports. Dain City in the south end and Downtown Welland right at the heart of the city are two nice areas to enjoy the waterfront in different ways.

The Best Neighbourhoods in Welland, Ontario near the Welland Canal

 

Best Views of the Canal: Dain City

If you are looking for a neighbourhood with an atmosphere similar to a lakeside cottage, then you need to see Dain City. This southern neighbourhood is located in the very south end of Welland in the V-shape formed by two Canals meeting. Dain City is located halfway between Welland’s Downtown core to the north and the City of Port Colborne to the south. It remains quiet and somewhat isolated due to the waters of the canal, but this also means that the waterfront is just a few steps away from most Dain City houses.

Before it was a Welland suburb, Dain City was a part of the Township of Humberstone. Back then, the community was mostly rural and it remained that way even after it became a part of Welland in the 1950s. Today, Dain City is mostly residential with some local stores open along Kingsway and a long waterside path along the west end of the neighbourhood. The area around Glenwood Park is a lot more suburban-looking with tall, mature trees and larger than average properties.

There are few amenities within Dain City, but for vehicle owners, there are plenty still accessible in Welland. The core of Welland is about 10 minutes north of Dain City with several stores and restaurants along Ontario Road and King Street even closer. By traveling about 15 minutes south, residents of Dain City can also reach the beaches, restaurants and other natural attractions of Port Colborne.

 

Best Access to the Welland Canal: Downtown Welland

Downtown Welland is the best place to live if you appreciate waterfront views and access to the canals too. Downtown Welland has the shortest walk to Merritt Island Park, the long, narrow island right in the middle of the Welland Canal. It features long trails along the water and plenty of natural green space to experience. This popular spot in the city is great for enjoying beautiful weather, hiking, exploring and dog walking.

Living Downtown is also one of the best places in Welland to get waterfront views every day. High-rise residential buildings are rare in Welland, but views of the Welland Canal, Welland River and the illuminated Bridge 13 can be enjoyed from the commercial areas of Downtown Welland. In addition some of the best community features and popular local restaurants are located in Downtown Welland, helping it earn high marks with cyclists and residents who enjoy exploring on foot. Downtown Welland is the destination for residents that want to be close to great attractions and amenities like the main branch of the Welland Public Library, the Welland Historical Museum, the Welland Farmers’ Market on Saturdays and the Civic Square Skating Rink open for public use in the winter.

It is more common to rent than to own in the Downtown Welland area. That being said, there are some commercial and residential opportunities in the area. Buildings in Downtown Welland are older on average, but it is a great location to watch for duplexes and other types of income property.

 

Best Welland Neighbourhoods for Families

The Best Neighbourhoods in Welland, Ontario for Families

Best Schools: Niagara College and South Pelham

The northern Welland neighbourhood of Niagara College makes a return in this section alongside its western neighbour: South Pelham. In addition to being a convenient transportation hub, the Niagara College area is also one of the most family-friendly neighbourhoods in the city with great schools and many nearby amenities. Those same amenities and several other well-ranked schools can also be found in the South Pelham area which also features beautiful parks and trail access.

Niagara College is an excellent neighbourhood to call home if you and your family are hoping to live close to the best schools in Welland. For elementary schools, the schools are not only fantastic, but they represent a lot of the variety that can be found in Welland. Living in Niagara College puts students in the boundaries of Quaker Road Public School, Alexander Kuska Catholic Elementary School and the French Language École élémentaire Nouvel Horizon. Many subdivisions are also within walking distance of these schools for even more convenience. Quaker Road Public School is tied for the highest four-year average of any District School Board of Niagara elementary school in Welland with an average ranking of 6.8 out of 10 according to the Fraser Institute’s scoring system. Alexander Kuska Catholic Elementary School has the best four-year average ranking in the Niagara Catholic District School Board with a 6.4 of 10.

As for secondary and post-secondary, the Niagara College neighbourhood is in the boundaries of the two top-ranking high schools in Welland: Welland Centennial Secondary School and Notre Dame College School. In addition, living around the main Niagara College campus means that students are also close to the college and its transit link with Brock University in St. Catharines.

South Pelham is a northwestern Welland neighbourhood that is, as the name says, south of the Pelham area. South Pelham is another great choice for a family neighbourhood because it has the most recent top-ranked District School Board of Niagara elementary school: Gordon Public School. For students in or entering high school, South Pelham is still in the boundaries for Welland Centennial Secondary School and Notre Dame College School.

Community amenities are another reason why South Pelham really shines as a family neighbourhood. There is convenient grocery shopping located in the southwestern corner of South Pelham as well as several neighbourhood parks like Bridlewood Park in the centre and the large Woodlawn Park in the north. Another perk for active families is the Steve Bauer Trail running through the neighbourhood. The trail weaves between residential streets in South Pelham and connects Welland and the Fonthill area of Pelham.

After all, these are just some of the wonderful neighbourhoods that you can find in Welland, Ontario. There are many more to explore in this great Niagara Region city. If one of the neighbourhoods on this list spoke to you and you want to learn more about Welland, Ontario then check this blog out!

 

The Ultimate Guide to Living in Welland, Ontario

The Ultimate Guide to Living in Welland

Posted in Welland
April 15, 2021

Moving to Welland, Ontario? The Ultimate Guide to Living in Welland

Moving to Welland, Ontario? The Ultimate Guide to Living in Welland

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The Niagara Region is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. It is across the lake from the other end of the Golden Horseshoe: Toronto, Ontario and southeast of the Hamilton area. By taking the Queen Elizabeth Way along the shore of Lake Ontario, Welland is located about 93 km from the core of the City of Hamilton with a drive of about an hour. The City of Toronto is about 135 km and an hour and a half away while Mississauga is a little closer at 114 km and an hour and ten minutes away.  

 

History of Welland, Ontario

History of Welland, Ontario

Known as “Rose City” and “Where Rails and Water Meet,” Welland has a lot of history behind its reputation. Welland is known as Rose City because when the name was chosen in the early 1920s, the area was a hub for locally grown roses. As for rail and water, Welland’s location in the Niagara Region happens to be where two key types of transit met: waterways like the Welland Canal and a series of important railways connecting Canada and the United States. Before it was Welland, the settlement along the Welland Canal was known as Merrittsville. When the town was incorporated in 1858, the name was changed to Welland. 

 

Real Estate in Welland, Ontario

In the steadily heating market and rising prices in Southwestern Ontario, the Niagara Region is no exception. The Niagara Association of Realtors use a Home Price Index (HPI) to assess the average value of a property in the region. This benchmark is based on what the average house looks like in the Niagara Region: a home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and is between 51 and 99 years old.

Real Estate in Welland, Ontaro

By the end of 2020, the HPI benchmark price in Welland was about $347,000. In the beginning of 2021, this benchmark is already sporting a significant increase at about $466,000. That being said, Welland remains one of the more affordable cities in the Niagara Region when compared against the HPI benchmark in larger cities like Niagara Falls at around $534,000 and St. Catharines at around $559,000 in early 2021. The smaller waterfront town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has the highest HPI benchmark at about $967,000 in 2021.  

 

Living in Welland, Ontario

Welland was always an important hub for transportation by boat and rail. Today, the city’s south-central location in the region puts it close to both Niagara Falls and St. Catharines by some of the most convenient roadways in the region. Welland is known for an active community farmers’ market and several waterside festivals celebrating the Welland Canal and the Welland River.

Living in Welland, Ontario

The 406-highway directly connects Welland with St. Catharines to the north and is an important route in reaching Niagara Falls to the northeast. Another important connection in the Niagara Region is the Queen Elizabeth Way which wraps around Lake Ontario, crosses it between Hamilton and Burlington and continues into the heart of Toronto. West Side Road heading south of Welland connects the city with the Lake Erie beach destination, Port Colborne. All roads leading from this well-connected city are a boon to commuters or residents that want easy access to all the fun activities in and around the Niagara Region.

Public transportation in Welland is operated by Welland Transit which runs buses along eight routes around the city  as well as the Port Colborne Link which connects Welland and Port Colborne to the south. Niagara Region Transit oversees inter-municipal transit between Welland, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. There is an additional express bus route between Niagara Falls and Welland. This service allows residents of Welland to access the amenities and attractions of the Niagara Region without having to own a vehicle. Connection to Niagara Falls also gives residents access to the GO Transit train and bus routes that connect the region with the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Education in the Niagara Region is handled by the four main boards: the District School Board of Niagara, the Niagara Catholic District School Board, the Conseil scolaire Viamonde and the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. All four boards have a presence in Welland, Ontario, but the two largest are the English-speaking Niagara boards. There are a total of 18 elementary schools across the four boards in Welland. High School students have access to five options for secondary school: Welland Centennial Secondary School and Eastdale Secondary School in the District School Board of Niagara; Notre Dame College School in the Niagara Catholic District School Board; École secondaire Franco-Niagara in the Conseil scolaire Viamonde and École secondaire catholique Saint-Jean-de-Brébeuf in the Conseil scolaire MonAvenir. The main campus of Niagara College is located in the northern end of Welland and is the city’s only post-secondary option. By travelling to the nearby City of St. Catharines, residents of Welland looking to attend Brock University will find a reasonable commute as well.

 

Things to do in Welland, Ontario 

Between community services, annual events and regional attractions, there is plenty to do in Welland, Ontario. Welland doesn’t have the same tourist attractions as Niagara Falls, but it is perfect for residents that enjoy exploring local history and appreciate nearby beaches, parks and golf courses.

Things to do in Welland, Ontario

Community buildings, parks and services are at the heart of Welland’s everyday entertainment. Whether it’s part of an organized league or some weekend fun, these facilities are an enjoyable way to get involved with the Welland community. The Welland Public Library is a wonderful community resource with three branches in the city: a main branch on The Boardwalk, a Diamond Trail Branch and a Seaway Mall Branch. The Welland public library offers physical book loans, programming for all ages and digital resources for e-books, audiobooks and online magazines, local history and 3D printing. Some other great community amenities are the ones that keep residents connected and active such as the Welland Community Wellness Complex, the Welland Main Arena and the Civic Square outdoor Skating Rink that hosts public skating events throughout the winter. Community programs also include a rental service for pedal boats, canoes, kayaks and paddleboards available between Victoria Day weekend and Labour Day weekend. Hiking and cycling around Welland’s network of trails and its connection to the larger Niagara Region are some more examples of popular pastimes for residents of Welland.

Another way to feel like a member of the Welland community is to participate in one of the City’s many regular events. The Welland Farmers’ Market is a year-round staple event taking place every Saturday. Vendors from around the region gather in Welland for an indoor and outdoor market to sell produce from local farms, artisans and wineries. Two big summer festivals in Welland celebrate the city’s core waterways: the Welland Dragon Boat Festival in mid-June and the Welland Float Fest scheduled for July. The Dragon Boat Festival is Welland’s largest water-sport event where the community gathers to celebrate beautiful dragon boat races. Float Fest is another water celebration with live music and a massive lazy river event to soak up the summer sun.        

The Niagara Region is known for its wineries and famous natural destinations, but Welland has many of its own attractions to be proud of. These attractions include beautiful spectacles like the illuminated Bridge 13 and the Canoe Art Project as well as important heritage sites like the Welland Canal Memorial Monument, the Welland Historical Museum and the Welland Crowland War Memorial. Given Welland’s central location, it’s in the perfect spot to enjoy all of the best the region has to offer. With just a short drive outside of the city, residents have access to the nearby beaches of Port Colborne

Posted in Welland
April 5, 2021

The Best Places to Live in Ontario

The Best Places to Live in Ontario

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If you are making the move to Ontario or are looking for a new location to call home, then the sheer number of amazing cities can seem overwhelming at a glance. Whether a city is small, mid-sized or large, there are always special features that help any city stand out from the competition. We have curated a list of five fantastic cities in Ontario and detailed exactly what makes them worth your consideration. Between natural features, innovative industry, efficient infrastructure and access to essential transportation, cities in Ontario have lots of appeal.

 

Barrie, Ontario

Barrie, Ontario is quickly emerging as a central Southern Ontario hot spot. Thanks to a GO Train connection to the Greater Toronto Area, this mid-sized city is gaining popularity as a Toronto bedroom community, too. Between waterfront views of the Kempenfelt Bay, a strong job market and excellent transit options, the City of Barrie has a lot to love about it. Barrie is located in Simcoe County, but the city is politically independent. Within the county, the City of Barrie wraps around the Kempenfelt Bay, the western arm of Lake Simcoe. Barrie is north of Toronto and southeast of Collingwood and The Blue Mountains destinations along the Georgian Bay. In the 2016 census, Barrie reported a population of 141,434 people which has been growing ever since. If you are looking to be close to the water and cottage country all while still having convenient access to the Greater Toronto Area, then you have to check out Barrie. 

Barrie, Ontario Places to Live in Ontario

Buyers looking for an alternative to Toronto will be delighted to see Barrie’s vastly more affordable housing market. In 2021, Barrie’s year-to-date average price was about $700,000 which is lower than Simcoe County’s overall average of nearly $745,000 and significantly lower than Toronto’s million dollar average. The southern end of Barrie is the site of much of the city’s newer development, this is close to new schools and the newest GO Transit feature of the city: The Barrie South Station. 

Aerospace, manufacturing, medical technology and digital software and technology are some of Barrie’s key industries. The city’s fastest growing sector is in arts, entertainment and recreation. The largest employers in Simcoe County include the Simcoe County District School Board and the Honda Canada Manufacturing plant located in Alliston, Ontario about 35 minutes southwest of Barrie. The  two largest school boards that service Barrie are the Simcoe County District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. Barrie is also serviced by two French-language school boards: Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. In addition to being a major employer in the city of Barrie, Georgian College’s main campus is also the city’s only post-secondary institution. 

Barrie, Ontario is a well-connected city. Many who work in Toronto choose to live in Barrie and take advantage of the city’s stellar commuter network. Barrie is located on the GO Transit train route with two stations in the city: the Allandale Waterfront GO Station located closer to downtown and the newer Barrie South GO Station in the southeastern end of the city. Getting around Barrie is equally convenient with the help of Barrie Transit which operates several bus routes across the city. An inter-city bus system called LYNX is also operated by Simcoe County and connects Barrie with other cities located in the county area. For drivers, the 400-highway runs through Barrie and also connects the city with the Greater Toronto Area through Vaughan.

 

Kitchener, Ontario

As the largest city in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge tri-city grouping, Kitchener, Ontario is a popular choice for those considering moving to the Waterloo Region. Kitchener is known for its great post-secondary institutions and an exciting and innovative tech and software industry. With a population of 233,222 people and access to a total population of 523,894 in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo census area, Kitchener is one of the larger mid-sized cities in Ontario. Together with Waterloo and Cambridge, Kitchener is part of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo and is sometimes considered together with its northern neighbour as Kitchener-Waterloo. Kitchener is located in Southwestern Ontario, northwest of Hamilton and southwest of Mississauga with access to the 401-highway. Before 1916, Kitchener was known as Berlin, Ontario and it has maintained its Germanic roots through architecture and big, annual celebrations like the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. Some main attractions in and around Kitchener include the Chicopee Ski & Summer resort, the Kitchener Market in downtown Kitchener and

Being so close to the Golden Horseshoe region of Southwestern Ontario has meant that the real estate market in Kitchener has been heating up recently. Early into 2021, records were already being broken for the highest number of homes sold and continually rising prices for all types of property. The average price of residential properties in Kitchener-Waterloo is about $750,000 early on into 2021. This shows a figure on the rise and a steep increase from the average price last year. Average home prices in Kitchener-Waterloo are comparable to those in nearby Cambridge. 

Kitchener, Ontario | Places to Live in Ontario  

The Kitchener-Waterloo region is known for its diverse and modern industries. Between the two nearby cities, some key industries are manufacturing, business, food processing, technology and digital media. In Kitchener-Waterloo’s well-known information and communication technology sector, some of the bigger names are BlackBerry and Honeywell Aerospace. In terms of public education, the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board are the two largest school boards that operate in Kitchener. Students in Kitchener also have access to several French-language schools across the Kitchener-Waterloo area in both the Conseil scolaire Viamonde and the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. The Doon area of Kitchener is the location of Conestoga College’s main campus which also has campuses and training centres in Waterloo and Cambridge and beyond. The region’s two big universities: Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo are both located in Waterloo, but only a short drive or public transit commute from Kitchener, so it is still a viable city to live in for students and employees.      

For residents of Kitchener looking to commute to Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph or any other nearby municipality, owning a vehicle is essential. By car, commuters can use the city’s main routes: the Conestoga Parkway, Highway 8 and the 401 to reach their destination. Public transit in Kitchener is operated by Grand River Transit which oversees a fleet of buses in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. The company also runs the ION light rail line, a rapid-transit solution for commuters between Kitchener and Waterloo. The ION light rail travels between  Conestoga Station in Waterloo, through downtown Kitchener to Fairway Station in Kitchener with stops near Waterloo’s universities and Grand River Hospital. The route is planned to expand into downtown Cambridge in the future.   

 

London, Ontario 

If you are looking for a growing city close to Great Lake access and the 401, then look no further than London, Ontario. London is a mid-sized southwestern Ontario city located north of Lake Erie and south of Lake Huron. The 401 and the 402, two important Ontario highways, meet south of the city. Residents of London are connected to Sarnia, Windsor, the American border with Detroit and the Greater Toronto Area thanks to these nearby highways. Though an independent city, London is located in Middlesex County and is the county seat. Known as “Forest City,” London’s natural features include large, forested parks and trails as well as the Thames River which flows through the city. As of the 2016 census, The City of London has a population of 383,822 people making it the highest populated city on this list. Because of its diverse population, London is a popular test market for new products and often sees new innovations before the rest of Canada. Some of the city’s main attractions include Springbank Park in the southwest end, Fanshawe Pioneer Village in the east and the Museum London downtown. 

London, Ontario | Places to Live in Ontario

The real estate market in London is on the rise. London’s developing industries, location in Southwestern Ontario and the all-important highway connections have drawn a lot of eyes to the “Forest City.” In 2021, the average price for a home in London, Ontario was around $620,000 as it remains a hot, but relatively affordable market. As with other Southwestern Ontario cities, London has seen average house prices increase month after month as well as record-breaking sales figures. 

The City of London economy is largely based on medical research, insurance and manufacturing. Some of the largest employers in the city are London Health Sciences Centre, the Thames Valley District School Board, St. Joseph’s Health Care London, TD Canada Trust and the University of Western Ontario among many others. The city cites agri-food, manufacturing, digital media and technology and health as some of the fastest growing industries in the city. There are four major school boards operating in London: the English-speaking Thames Valley District School Board and the London Catholic District School Board and the French language Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire catholique Providence. London is known for two large post-secondary institutions: Western University (also known as the University of Western Ontario) and its affiliates: Brescia University College, Huron University College and King’s University College as well as Fanshawe College. 

Owning a vehicle is the easiest way to get around London and the surrounding area. For those who don’t drive, the city operates LTC buses which serve some of the major hubs in the city like downtown, the malls, Western University and Fanshawe college. The highest traffic routes are reinforced by a fleet of express buses that make fewer stops in order to help passengers reach their destination faster. The city is also working to expand bike lanes throughout the city, connecting residential areas, urban areas and beautiful parks by a seamless network perfect for cycling.

 

Niagara Falls, Ontario

The City of Niagara Falls is most-known for being the bright cluster of attractions and hotels around the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The region’s best-kept secret? That it is a thriving metropolitan area with absolutely stunning natural areas and diverse industry in addition to being famous for its tourism. Niagara Falls is on the eastern side of the Niagara Region. The city’s eastern border is the Niagara River which divides Canada from the United States; Buffalo, New York, specifically. The Niagara Region itself is a beautiful, natural destination located south of Lake Ontario and north of Lake Erie. With a total of 88,071 residents, Niagara Falls has the smallest population on this list. The city sees a higher number of visitors on average because of its location on the U.S. border and status as a world-renowned vacation destination. 

Niagara Falls | Places to Live in Ontario

The real estate market in the Niagara Region is experiencing a rise similar to the rest of Southwestern Ontario. The region’s inventory can’t keep up with the interest in and demand for properties, so average prices tend to be higher each month with less average time on the market. In 2021, the Niagara Region has an HPI benchmark price of about $578,000 for the average property in the region. The City of Niagara Falls sports a slightly lower benchmark at $524,000 for the same period. Out of other prominent cities in the Niagara Region, home prices in Niagara Falls are right in the middle.

Hospitality and tourism are very important aspects of the workforce in Niagara Falls as there are many hotels, restaurants and attractions that are both year-round and seasonal. Other important industries include manufacturing,  agriculture business as well as emerging industries like technology and engineering. Schools in Niagara Falls are operated by the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board. A French-language education is offered by the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir. The City of Niagara Falls has one of Niagara College’s campuses with the primary campus being located in Welland to the southwest. Another prominent post-secondary institution in the region is St. Catharines’ Brock University.

Residents of Niagara Falls have access to local transit around the city and connections to the GO Transit route and the Greater Toronto Area. GO Transit operates a Toronto to Niagara weekend GO train which lets residents travel efficiently back and forth without needing a vehicle. For drivers, two important routes are the Queen Elizabeth Way which wraps around the western end of Lake Ontario and into the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and the 405-highway which crosses the border into the United States.  

 

Windsor, Ontario

Located right on the border with Detroit, Michigan, the City of Windsor is one of Canada’s southernmost cities. With a population of 217,188 people, Windsor, Ontario is a growing mid-sized city with a strong connection to the United States. The City of Windsor is located in Essex County with the Detroit River to the north and west, Lake St. Clair to the northeast and Lake Erie to the south. Windsor also represents the western end of the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor for rail service as well as the western end of the 401-highway. Residents of Windsor, Ontario enjoy quick and easy access to Detroit and all of its shopping, entertainment and sports attractions by way of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. Windsor’s waterfront is also the site of several exciting festivals and events throughout the year such as Bluesfest International Windsor and SummerFest Windsor.

Windsor | Places to Live in Ontario

Windsor, Ontario has been experiencing the same increase in its real estate market as the rest of the Southwestern Ontario. The City of Windsor was always one of the more affordable in the region and even with the recent increases, that remains the case. In 2021, the year-to-date average of a property in Windsor is about $492,000. While this is one of the lowest averages on the list, it still marks a nearly 30% increase from the city’s 2020 average, so it is still a rising market with increasing sales.

For years, Windsor, Ontario was referred to as the automotive capital of Canada. The auto manufacturing industry is still strong in Windsor, but there are many other thriving industries making their mark on the city. Another large industry in Windsor is hospitality and tourism, with the largest employer in the sector being the Caesars Windsor casino and entertainment venue. Machinery, metal and pharmaceutical manufacturing are other strong sectors in the city. Public schools in Windsor are operated by the Greater Essex County District School Board and the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board. Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire catholique Providence are two school boards in Windsor that operate French-language elementary and secondary schools. In addition to the public boards, there are also several private school providers as well. Windsor has two post-secondary institutions as well: St. Clair College and the University of Windsor.

Transportation around Windsor is handled by Transit Windsor which operates public buses around the city and a special Windsor-Detroit Tunnel Bus that travels across the border. For vehicle owners, Detroit is mere minutes away across the Ambassador Bridge or the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. The 401-highway is another very important transportation route in the city that connects Windsor with Chatham-Kent, London and beyond to the northeast.

 

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Moving to Ontario? The Ultimate Guide to Living in Ontario

The Ultimate Guide to Living in Ontario

 

Posted in Ontario
April 3, 2021

The Best Neighbourhoods in Stratford, Ontario

The Best Neighbourhoods in Stratford, Ontario

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Stratford, Ontario is a close-knit community housed in a nice sized small city. With so many parks and green spaces throughout the city, Stratford feels more like a small town but also has the city life and features. It is the perfect place to have all you could need and want at your fingertips, and yet feel as if you are away from it all. 

When looking to relocate to a new place, the decision of choosing which neighbourhood is most appropriate for your needs and wants is top priority. So what are the best neighbourhoods in Stratford that would be best suited for you? We intend to explore different areas of Stratford, pointing out different features and aspects, to help you make the right decision. 

Stratford is dissected almost like a pie by the main highways intersecting the heart of city into four quadrants. Erie Street (Highway #7) from the south turns into Mornington Street (Highway #119) across the Avon River to the north. And Huron Street (Highway #8) from the west becomes Ontario Street (Highway #7 and 8) once it crosses the Avon River to the east. Because Stratford is such a small city, most neighbourhood areas are not defined by specific names, so we will be discussing these unnamed districts by the main street names running through the area as well as the surrounding vicinity to help you get acquainted with this suburban gem in the heart of Perth County.

The Best Stratford Neighbourhoods for Families

The Best Stratford Neighbourhoods for Families

With a young or maturing family, you want to make sure you are moving to the best family oriented neighbourhood in Stratford, Ontario to not only blend in, but also to have like families around and be a good place for your family to grow. There are different aspects to consider, which will either be an advantage or not depending upon your particular situation. We will investigate these different aspects to help you navigate this part of the decision in moving to Stratford. 

McCarthy Road Area and Coventry 

In the far northwest end of Stratford, just north of the city’s two public high schools, is a new subdivision between Short Street and McCarthy Road. The main roads of the subdivision are Forman Avenue and Fraser Drive. This is prime location being so close to the high schools as well as the Stratford Rotary Complex, along with city bus stops for easy access to the entire city. The subdivision is under expansion, known as Coventry, with 133 more single family homes and townhouses currently being constructed along McCarthy Road. 

The closest elementary schools to this neighbourhood are St Aloysius Catholic Elementary School, Bedford Public School, and Avon Public School. With six parks in this area of the city, along with the grounds at the Stratford Rotary Complex, there is ample green space for your family to enjoy when you’re not playing in your own yard. 

Conveniently, two of Stratford’s grocery stores are within easy walking distance, making shopping a breeze. Not to mention the year round Farmer’s Market held at the Rotary Complex every Saturday for all your farm fresh shopping needs. 

Because this is a new subdivision, all the modern amenities and styles are in full vogue. This also makes it a natural draw as a family oriented neighbourhood. 

Romeo Street North Area: Verona Village, North Pointe Estates, and The Fields 

Our next stop is in the northeast quarter of town. Along both sides of Romeo Street, north of the Stratford Country Club, lies a beautiful neighbourhood area with new and relatively new detached homes and subdivisions perfect for family oriented home buyers. The luxurious condo community of North Pointe Estates lies to the east of Romeo Street. The newly built Verona Village, a community of 42 adjoined condo townhouses, is also located here along one of the crescents. And The Fields, an area near the juncture at Vivian Line, offers affordable housing and townhouses.

Bedford Public School and Stratford Middle Years School are the elementary schools in the vicinity. With four parks in the direct locale and a short walk from the Avon River and surrounding green space, there are ample areas for the kids to play and to walk the family dog.  

With a convenience store, bakery, takeout pizza, and a health store at the corner on Mornington Street, this area of town is nicely tucked away but not without some amenities. Down town and surrounding stores on Ontario Street and Huron Street are just a short drive away. 

The quiet streets of this neighbourhood are a perfect place to raise your family. 

John Street South Area

In the southwestern section of the city along John Street South and surrounding area, is a beautiful locale of lovely homes and lots with nice sized shade trees and colourful home gardens. This scenic area is the best of both the new and the old worlds as it is not a barren treeless landscape of a new subdivision, but still with modern home features, being one of Stratford’s ‘younger’ neighbourhoods. 

Elementary schools directly in or adjacent to this area are Stratford and District Christian School, Saint Joseph Catholic Elementary School, and Hamlet Public School. Four parks are in the vicinity, with TJ Dolan Natural Area being the largest for outdoor adventures and learning. 

Stratford General Hospital is directly adjacent to this family oriented neighbourhood of curved streets and quiet crescents. Shopping is within convenient driving distance, as well as a plaza situated nearby at the corner of Queensland Road and Lorne Avenue West. 

With residential solace in a quiet neck of the woods, this neighbourhood is the perfect ratio of modern comfort and lived-in serenity. 

The Best Stratford Neighbourhoods for Commuters

The Best Stratford Neighbourhoods for Communters

With Stratford being so compact, you virtually cannot go wrong with settling in any part of the city if commuting is your prime requirement. However, there are areas that are closer to the main highways and the commercial areas of town. So with this in mind, we will take a look in detail at which are the best neighbourhoods in Stratford for commuters. 

Devon Street Area

Devon Street, along with adjoining roads to Willow Street, encompass an area tucked behind Ontario Street’s commercial center. It is a beautiful neighbourhood with mature trees, spacious yards, and solitude, yet a stone’s throw away from Stratford’s commercial hub and the highway. For those commuting to Kitchener Waterloo or the 401, this is the neighbourhood for you, conveniently located in the far east end of Stratford. 

The Festival Marketplace mall, grocery stores, restaurants, and a myriad of other businesses are literally just a block away. One of Stratford’s industrial parks is located just south of Ontario Street, making going back and forth to your job at one of the factories a very short commute. City buses service the neighbourhood with stops along the way. 

The only downside is this is the only area in town without a school in it. However, schools are not very far away in adjacent neighbourhoods. Green space and nature abound with two small parks within the neighbourhood, Devon Street West Parkland behind, and Upper Queens Park at the west end. 

The beauty, sophistication, and convenience make the Devon Street area the perfect place to settle down. 

Dufferin Park Area

The Dufferin Park Area under the old water tower is in the south end of the city. Spanning from Dufferin Street over to Downie Street, the neighbourhood is filled with mature trees, green-thumb gardens, various aged houses, and the feeling of ‘home.’ Lorne Avenue East encompasses the south end of this area making travel easily accessible. 

Industries and warehouse factories border the perimeter of Lorne Ave allowing factory jobs within close proximity. Highway #7 and County Road #33 are right at the doorstep making travel both handy and prompt. City bus service is readily accessible. 

Stores and restaurants are a block away on Lorne Ave at the corner of Erie Street (Hwy#7) to the west, and Downie Street to the east. With three parks in the neighbourhood as well as the Dufferin Arena, there is always something to do and enjoy right close to home. 

The Dufferin Park area is the quintessential neighbourhood for singles, couples, families, and retirees to call home.

The Best Stratford Neighbourhoods for Views and Scenery

The Best Neighbourhoods for Views and Scenery in Stratford, Ontario

With 115 acres of formal parkland and 60 acres of natural area, Stratford’s greenery and scenery dominates. Areas adjacent to the Avon River have the pleasure to enjoy the beauty from above as the landscape cascades down toward the riverbanks. Crowned the “Prettiest City in the World” by Nations in Bloom in 1997, Stratford, Ontario does not disappoint, whatever neighbourhood you choose to reside in. Having said that, we will spotlight some of Stratford’s most charming districts. 

Forest Road

While not technically in Stratford, Forest Road is a superbly scenic side road just outside of city limits. A little oasis sandwiched between the city and the open country, Forest Road is a prime location for those who want the convenience of the city’s offerings close at hand, but out in the fresh air and laid back feel of country living within a neighbourhood. The two kilometer long road loops in from Highway #7/8 before it joins on again a little further east. 

This one-road community offers large lots with older and new homes, mature trees, sloping landscapes, a stream trickling through, as well as McCarthy Lake in the southwest area of the neighbourhood. The rustic and quaint Forest Road Motel sits overlooking McCarthy Lake offering trails, boating, and even a mute swan or two to enjoy along the water’s edge. This truly is a dream come true for those looking to get away from it all! 

Groceries, restaurants and shopping are right at the beginning of Forest Road to the west, with Festival Marketplace and the east end commercial hub of Stratford at your fingertips. The Avon Trail meanders right through Forest Road and runs straight through to the Avon River and beyond—perfect to hike to the river for the day.  

Sitting adjacent to the highway, yet indented back far enough to be away from traffic noise, Forest Road is a perfect spot to settle for convenient commuting. Once you’ve experienced Forest Road first hand, it will be easy to see why some people consider this a little slice of paradise. 

Avon River South Area

In the northeast quadrant, the neighbourhood of Cobourg Street and Water Street between Waterloo Street and the Festival Theatre, overlooks the south banks of the Avon River in all its beauty and splendour. With various sized lots, older and modernized homes, and mature trees and gardens, this neighbourhood of quintessential charm is sure to please! Sloping streets create a tiered view of the River and surrounding parklands. The most pleasant walk around the river for daily exercise or just a short meander in the evening is practically at your doorstep. The neighbourhood exudes charm at its finest with its quiet streets steeped in tranquility.  

Schools are close at hand, with three elementary schools, Romeo Public School, Jeanne Sauve Catholic School, and Stratford Middle Years School just a few blocks away; the Nancy Campbell Academy private high school is within the neighbourhood right on Waterloo Street. 

The area is also close at hand to Stratford’s downtown core and all the manifold boutiques, dining, galleries, and city life it has to offer. The William Allman Memorial Arena and the newly rebuilt and lavishly upgraded Tom Patterson Theatre are just steps away at the River’s edge. This neighbourhood south of the Avon is sure to win your heart for all its convenience, serenity, and scenery.

The Best Stratford Neighbourhoods for Stylish Homes

The Best Neighbourhoods for Stylish Homes in Stratford, Ontario

Thanks to its charm, beauty, and international draw, there are many gorgeous luxury neighbourhoods in Stratford, Ontario. Whether you’re looking for a heritage home with gingerbread architecture and large spacious lots, or modern ranch style homes with a view, or contemporary million dollar estates along the Avon River, Stratford offers it all.

John Street Area

Lining John Street South, just north of the Hospital and the Avon River in the southwest quarter of the city, are exquisite heritage homes on sprawling verdant lots. Some with gingerbread embellishments and some without, these well kept old homes are a guaranteed delight. Meticulously manicured yards, a surplus of old shade trees, and the serenity of the neighbouring parkland, trails, and cemetery, make this neighbourhood highly sought after.
With Huron Street close at hand, commuting and shopping are readily accessible. The Avon Trail leading through the nearby TJ Dolan Natural Area and to the Avon River in the other direction are but a stone’s throw away. Stratford General Hospital is nice and handy for any medical needs.

Avon Public School is a couple blocks over for the youngsters, and high schools are not far away.
Nothing beckons the century home lover as much as John Street South.

Avon West and Sir Adam Beck Road Area
In the southwest section along the south half of O’Loane Avenue, between Huron Street and Lorne Avenue West, sits two subdivisions that are sure to catch your eye. Modernized stylish homes of all shapes and sizes back onto countryside and forest in picturesque perfection along the cascading landscape. Avon West of Bromberg Homes is a new and expanding subdivision, offering homes and condo townhomes, jutting out into wide open countryside as Stratford’s most westerly residential area.

On the opposite side of O’Loane Avenue, another contemporary subdivision projects into the TJ Dolan Natural Area, adjacent to the Avondale Cemetery.  Modern homes and mansions line the streets of Sir Adam Beck Road and adjoining crescents. It is city living at its finest but completely surrounded by country and forest, and all the peace and stillness you could want. This is the picture of perfection, found in one of the finest luxury neighbourhoods in Stratford.
With schools nearby, bus transit available, and close at hand to Stratford’s west end grocery stores, shops, and restaurants, as well as commuter routes in all directions, this neighbourhood is the perfect place to raise a family, settle down as a couple, or retire in comfort and style. It is no wonder why Stratford’s west end is the most popular area under development.

Avon River North Area

One of the best luxury neighbourhoods in Stratford, Ontario is that along the north shore of the Avon River. Located in the northeast quarter of the city, the area of William Street and roads connecting up to Delamere Avenue is ‘the’ place for luxury and style. Million dollar homes sit along William Street facing the Avon River and North Shore Park land below. The ambient scene is show-stopping year round. Large spacious lots, mature trees, parkland frontage, and four season scenery at its best! Updated heritage is mixed in with ultra modern lending to the uniqueness of this neighbourhood of immaculately well kept homes of varying ages, architecture, and styles.
Bedford Public School and Stratford Middle Years School are within the immediate area, and the city’s high schools are not far beyond. The down town core is just beyond the river, and Stratford’s outlying commerce area is just a short drive away.

The pristine beauty of Stratford’s main tourist parkland, coupled with the maintained landscape of each home on the block, it is no wonder that this locale is highly sought after by nature lovers, actors, retirees, and everyone in between!

Although small in size, this city packs a big impact. Through diversity, scenery, accessibility, and functionality, there is a perfect home waiting for you—whatever your needs and desires may be.  With everything you could want at your fingertips, yet away from the hectic hustle and bustle of big city life, moving to Stratford could not be a better choice for you and your family.

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Posted in Stratford
April 2, 2021

Moving to Stratford? The Ultimate Guide to Living in Stratford

The Ultimate Guide to Living in Stratford, Ontario

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Why are so many people moving to Stratford, Ontario? For numerous reasons, as you will soon discover. Some move to Stratford from larger centers for the peace and slower pace that this small city affords. Many move to Stratford because of all that it has to offer—literally everything you need and want at your fingertips, thanks to its diversity of stores, dining options, and convenience. Retirees are moving to town because of all the above.  And the younger generation are geared to moving here because it is Justin Bieber’s hometown. Whatever your reason for moving, Stratford meets all your needs and desires on every possible level.

About Stratford – Where is Stratford, Ontario?

So where is Stratford, Ontario? Stratford is the seat of Perth County in the heart of Southwestern Ontario, located about 40 km west of Kitchener Waterloo and 50 km northeast of London. With a population of just over 31,000 as of 2016, Stratford offers a world of opportunity for its relatively small size. As a city with a small town feel, Stratford is rapidly growing with new development areas. Picturesque neighbourhoods surround the Avon River making the parkland seem more expansive with the large lots and mature shade trees and foliage. Stratford offers the best of both worlds as it is so close to everything and yet away from it all.

History of Stratford Ontario

History of Stratford, Ontario

Settled in 1932, ‘Stratford-upon-Avon’ was named after its sister city of the same name, in Warwickshire, England, a market town that was the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Known simply as Stratford, most of its original settlers took up farming, which is still evident to this day with the surrounding area rich in agriculture, dairy, and hog farming. Incorporated as a town in 1859 with the introduction of the railway, this pretty little town started growing when it became home to a major locomotive repair yard. By the 1920’s furniture manufacturing was a booming business with one-sixth of all Canadian made furniture being shipped from Stratford’s manufacturing warehouses.

All the world is a stage, but for Stratford, it’s a theatre! When the railway repair yards moved from town in the early 50’s, a local journalist had an idea that would spark the greatest ever venture for the city and eventually give it world recognition. With the help of an artistic director from Britain and other input from several Canadians and Americans in the world of the arts, Tom Patterson was the driving force in establishing The Stratford Shakespearean Festival Theatre. In 1953 the Festival opened its doors for the first time with Alec Guinness in the lead of Richard III. It has since featured countless actors and actresses of renown such as Christopher Plummer, William Shatner, Martha Henry, William Hutt, Peter Ustinov, James Mason, and Megan Follows, among a host of others. The main theatre seats over 1,800 with no one further than 65 feet from the stage. In 1956 the Avon Theatre became part of Stratford’s Festival. Then, in 1971, the Tom Patterson Theatre was added. And yet again in 2002, the Studio Theatre completed the Festival’s venues. Attracting hundreds of thousands of theatre goers every year, mainly from Canada, the United States, and Britain, the Festival Theatre’s main thrust is Shakespearean plays, but also includes on the playbill a variety of tragedies, musicals, as well as contemporary works.

In 1918 a pair of mute swans were gifted to the city and introduced to the Avon River. Today a couple dozen swans grace the River – an attraction all in itself. It is no wonder the swan has become the symbol of the city. Every April the annual Swan Parade is held where crowds gather to see all the swans march from their winter shelter to the river with all kinds of fan fare. The Avon River is another pride and joy of Stratford. With paddleboats, kayaks, and canoes available to rent, trails circling the river and beyond, picnic tables, benches and playgrounds everywhere, many people spend their day relaxing riverside rather than heading to the beach. Anywhere you go in Stratford, it exudes a laid back air of being on vacation.

Stratford has been a vacation destination for many thanks to its many entertainment venues, its dining diversity, its array of unique shops, and its vast picturesque green spaces. It is no wonder that so many who visit, wind up moving to Stratford, Ontario!

Real Estate in Stratford, Ontario

Real Estate in Stratford, Ontario

From heritage neighbourhoods with large expansive lots, to newer subdivisions with all the modern amenities, to condos and townhouses, to the surrounding countryside with sprawling acreage, Stratford delivers to everyone’s satisfaction. Currently, as of January 2021, single family home values average at $510,695, and condo prices average about $370,000 to $490,000. Apartment style condos range in average of $350,000 to $440,000. Small neighbourhoods tucked out of sight offer the perfect place to raise a family or retire. Just on the outskirts of the east end of town, is a small oasis of a neighbourhood that lines Forest Road which so many people find to be the scenic ‘ideal.’ While off in the west end of the city is a newer subdivision backing on to the woodsy TJ Dolan Natural Area and the Avondale Cemetery, fusing the neighbourhood with nature and serenity. Stratford is summarized as a petite city with small town charm and lots of heart!

Living In Stratford, Ontario

Living in Stratford, Ontario

With all the amenities and opportunities one could want right at their doorstep, living in Stratford, Ontario is comfortable and secure. Why buck the traffic of a big city when you can have it all in a small one? And it’s not just your ordinary town – Stratford is a world leader as a SmartCity. With fibre broadband network throughout the entire city and free WiFi hubs on literally every street corner, Stratford is continually breaking boundaries and is on the cutting edge in the world if IT.

Located at the juncture of Highway 7 and Highway 8, Stratford is a short drive from both Kitchener Waterloo (33min, 40km) and London (42min, 50km). Downtown Toronto is 1 hour and 40 min, 148Km away, which is why so many Torontonians are moving to Stratford, Ontario for the slower paced life and community. There is easy access to the 401 via expressways – just 39 min away. Fifteen minutes up the road is Canada’s Baseball Hall of Fame and Canada’s largest freshwater swimming pool in the scenic little town of St Marys, also known as the ‘Stonetown.’ It all adds up to make Stratford the perfect place to settle to be close to everything, and yet away from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Thanks to Stratford’s rich railway history, you don’t even need to drive to the city – four passenger trains depart each day from town: two eastward bound to Toronto’s Union Station, one west to Sarnia, and the fourth to London. For about-town travel needs, Stratford Transit runs buses through the whole circuit of the city with additional routes and service for school times, making everything easily and readily accessible.

Stratford has fourteen elementary schools making virtually every neighbourhood within walking distance for your young ones. There are three secondary schools within the city as well as several post secondary education options. The University of Waterloo has a satellite campus in downtown Stratford offering programs in Media and IT, Interactive Design and Business with undergrad and graduate programs.  Conestoga College’s city campus offers Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, continuing education courses, and career focused programs. The Stratford Festival hosts post secondary courses in theatre studies and the arts through these nearby institutions: University of Windsor, University of Western Ontario, Brock University, and University of Waterloo. Stratford is also home to the distinguished Stratford Chefs School, prominently featured in ‘Chef School’ on The Food Network Canada.

Stratford’s main industries are numerous and diverse for a small city. Hailing from its roots as an agricultural center, Stratford still serves the surrounding agri-industry of mixed farming, dairy, and hogs. It is no secret that Stratford is a center of the arts, and tourism and hospitality are a major industry for this town. With four performing arts theatres, a plethora of dining options, and over 90 hotels, inns and suites, this industry is booming! Stratford is also home to RBC’s $300 million Data Center, the Starwood Call Center, Digital Tech, and a surplus of manufacturing industries such as Cooper Standard, C.R. Plastic Products, DYNA-MIG, and VicWest, just to name a few. It is never difficult to find employment in this city, making living in Stratford even more ideal.

With so much to offer, moving to Stratford Ontario just makes sense. Thanks to being a tourist town, the atmosphere perpetually feels like you’re on vacation. There is a laid back sense and less-stress approach to living here. No wonder so many are moving to Stratford!

Be sure to read our other blog Posts about Stratford, Ontario:

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