Live life in the high-tech lane
Waterloo is making its mark not just on Canada but the world, quickly turning into the Silicon Valley of the North. Google, Shopify, RIM, and tons of high-tech start-ups now have their offices – or Canadian offices – in Waterloo. Why the tech rush? Well, the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier are have become high-tech education leaders, putting the city on Silicon Valley’s radar. Now, with all the companies coming in, there’s a push for a direct train between Toronto and Waterloo, making it easier to combine Toronto’s strength in business with Waterloo’s technological advancements. Basically, if you’re serious about learning about or pursuing a career in the technology field, hop on the Waterloo elevator fast – because this city’s skyrocketing!
Waterloo is a great city for renters. There are plenty of homes and apartments to choose from. Prices still aren’t sky-high – though they may get that way once the train to Toronto goes in. In the meantime, there are some deals to be squeezed out of Waterloo’s housing market. Are you a student? If so, you’ll be thrilled to hear there’s a glut of student housing in between U of W and Laurier! Just don’t expect anything too fancy…
Typical housing type:
Single-family, detached homes.
There’s a complaint from some that Waterloo isn’t a party town… It isn’t. If you want a party town, head on over to our entry on Kitchener. It’s right next door to Waterloo and it’s got a more relaxed vibe. But if you’re a super achiever, Waterloo is filled with your people!
Avg. rent by housing size:
Avg. rent compared to other Canadian cities
Waterloo is 12% higher than the Canadian average
Waterloo is a big education town, so there are plenty of rentals geared to students near the universities. These rentals tend to be low-cost – but have limited amenities. Don’t be hunting for pools and dishwashers here! For those and other amenities, search Waterloo’s newly renovated and high-end downtown condos and apartments. Just know you’ll be paying a chunk more as these places are targeted to employees in the city’s growing technology sector. Most of these places aren’t particularly pet-friendly, but some do offer hydro included.
Waterloo also has beautiful older homes, some of which are rented out and many of which have gorgeous backyards.
As a university town, Waterloo has a large student population. Outside the students though, there’s a pretty even spread amongst all ages of working adults. Singles, couples, and families are all common, though children tend to be on the younger side. Of course, the common thread amongst many locals is that they study or working in a tech or tech-related industry. That also means there are a lot of early adopters who always have the latest gadget or program. Ironically, there’s a solid Mennonite community, including a significant number of Old Order Mennonites who shun advanced technology of any kind.
Perfect for: Workers in a high-tech field and Mennonite families.
Not-so-perfect for: People who want don’t prioritize work, studies, or family.
Life & Style
Life in Waterloo revolves around hard work. The city wasn’t always this way; but, with the growing tech boom, it’s moved in a more serious direction. Locals dedicate themselves to make breakthroughs, launch businesses, and get scouted by the best technology firms. That often means forgoing relationships or starting families, prioritizing career advancement instead. For those outside the tech field, life is quite different though. These locals tend to embrace Waterloo’s continued small-town feel, getting to know their neighbours and settling down to start families. Family life is especially important to member of the Mennonite community, who often own and operate local farms together.
Waterloo caters to the tech companies and university students. There’s a lot of quick and cheap food, especially by the schools. In terms of shopping, you’re best to head over to Kitchener’s Fairview mall. The best food options are at the Waterloo farmers’ market, in close-by St. Jacobs, or at the local Mennonite farm stores. For relaxation, there are many educational options, ranging from museums to historical sites. Need a break from all the work and studying? Head over to one of the areas many parks or other green spaces.
City of Waterloo Museum
Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery
Earth Sciences Museum
West Montrose Covered Bridge
Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower