Archive for living in Kitchener

REAL ESTATE TIPS: The 3 Main Factors That Lead to Overpricing Your Home for Sale

Understanding the factors that lead to incorrect pricing is vital when selling your home in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Don’t Lose Money When Selling Your Home!

Now that January is well underway, you’re reconsidering selling your house in Waterloo Region. You know that the market is hot and houses are selling for above asking price in many, many instances so now is a good time to sell, right?!

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that ANY home will sell at ANY price just because market conditions are favourable. You have a lot to lose by not pricing your home right the first time it hits the market. I’ve explained all of this in another video (you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/QyvvGq2qK_U).

It’s important to understand the factors that can lead to overpricing your home so that you are sure not to do it and end up losing money on the sale of your home. Watch my video here and benefit from my 21 years of real estate experience in Kitchener-Waterloo and the surrounding areas.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,500 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

 

Real Estate Tips: Biggest Home Selling Mistakes

 

You don’t want to make these mistakes when selling your home!

In this video, I tell you what other Real Estate Agents won’t: the biggest mistakes that homeowners make when listing their home for sale. This is important information for you if you are selling your home in Kitchener-Waterloo. If you are looking to buy your dream home and currently own a house, you can benefit from my 21 years of real estate expertise in answering this crucial question.

 

 

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

 

Living in Waterloo, Ontario: The Great Outdoors and So Much More

Living in Waterloo, Ontario

Sunrise over Laurel Creek Reservoir in Waterloo, Ontario. Photo credit: Fred Widall

Life in a smaller city can be just as sophisticated and entertaining as a metropolitan area. You just have to choose the right small city. Waterloo, Ontario has the amenities of a bigger city but none of the hassle. The Tri-Cities area of Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge has quite a bit to offer!

Waterloo, Ontario is studded with parks, bordered by the beautiful Grand River and anchored by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Living in Waterloo gives its residents the advantages of an active lifestyle and an interesting, diverse community. It has the cultural flair of a much larger area with an energetic city center fueled by students and educators. This is complemented by plenty of quiet neighborhoods and an interesting history. In case you need more convincing, the climate is considered moderate compared to the rest of the country (sweet!).

Residents of Waterloo get to experience the beauty of all four seasons. Our climate is officially called “humid continental of the warm summer subtype.” This basically means we get a distinct difference between each season. Winters are cold but not as severe as some parts of the country (Waterloo averages 140 frost-free days a year) and summers are gloriously warm.

Waterloo’s Wonderful History

The pleasant environs are just one of the factors that originally drew settlers to the lands we now call Waterloo. The land was given to the people of the Six Nations as a gift and a reward for their assistance to the British during the American Revolution. Almost immediately (and somewhat controversially), the Six Nations people began to sell off parcels of the gifted lands. A man by the name of Richard Beasley purchased many of the plots through a Crown Grant while the Six Nations held the mortgage.

Settlers from Pennsylvania, USA slowly began to purchase land from Beasley in the first year. The following year, a deluge of 26 families combined their resources and bought the remainder of Beasley’s “inventory.” With these land sales he was able to completely clear his mortgage!

The families that flocked to Waterloo were almost entirely Mennonite farmers. The rich soil and moist climate was and still is, perfect for farming. They hoped to be able to practice their religion without fear of persecution in their new home. The area later became a popular destination for German immigrants (immigrants continue to arrive in this welcoming haven even today). They named their new home Waterloo after the battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.

At that time, , the central core of Waterloo was comprised of two lots owned by a man named Abraham Erb. His grist mill and saw mill were the hotspots of Waterloo. These days, the city’s center is on the street named after him. The intersection of Erb and King Streets houses the Waterloo Town Square shopping center that is widely considered the heart of Uptown Waterloo.

“Uptown Waterloo” is the term typically used by residents to describe this revitalized section of the city (locals refer to the city center of nearby Kitchener as “downtown Kitchener”). In 2006, a shopping mall was torn down and street-facing storefront businesses sprouted up to take its place, creating a more interesting and engaging city-center feeling.

The Great Outdoors Living in Waterloo

One of the ways we can engage in life in Waterloo is by getting active outdoors in the nice climate. The township is dotted with parks making it easy to spend time outside. There are five major parks located within city limits or within a short drive of the city center.

  • RIM Park. With 200 hectares, RIM Park has no shortage of green space. It is home to the heritage Martin Farm House and an 18-hole golf course as well as a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting facilities.
  • Laurel Creek Conservation Area. Another 300 hectares is devoted to this green space northwest of the city. Swimming, bird watching, hiking and windsurfing top the list of favorite summer activities in this open space. It features a beach and picnic areas for more relaxing endeavors. In the winter, cross-country skiing and show-shoeing make for seasonal fun.
  • Waterloo Park. At 45 hectares, it may seem small in comparison to the big guys above but it’s still a huge green space in the town. It houses a bandshell for outdoor concerts, a waterpark called Lions’ Lagoon, historical displays for educational opportunities and animal displays. During the holiday season, the Wonders of Winter light display draws locals and tourists alike to its twinkling glory.
  • Betchel Park. Occupying 44 hectares, Betchel Park features fun for your four-legged friends. An off-leash dog park neighbors two well-lit baseball diamonds, wetlands, a hardwood forest with a groomed trail, and a city-operated cemetery.
  • Lexington Park. If ball games are your thing, Lexington Park holds a soccer pitch and baseball diamond on the site of a former municipal airport.
  • The Grand River. If these parks aren’t enough to get you outside, the Grand River is one of the world’s best-managed waterways. And it runs right through Waterloo!

Outdoor activities aren’t the only fun to be had in Waterloo. Residents can enjoy good food, plenty of festivals and fairs, plus some quieter endeavors too. The city has plenty of options for housing in neighborhoods from lively urban to subdued suburban. With a wide variety of ages and architectural styles, the homes are varied and affordable.

Living in this smaller city sure doesn’t seem small. The roads are uncongested and easy to navigate due to the expressways; it feels as big and wide as the many parks that surround it. Life in Waterloo promises the great outdoors and so much more!

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Living in Kitchener-Waterloo: Best Places for Foodies

buying a home in Waterloo Ontario

Restaurant Recommendations in Waterloo

 

Think the big city is the only place to get a really good meal? Don’t be fooled by the urban centers’ reputation. A smaller city can be just as gourmet as any metropolitan area. Kitchener-Waterloo has some fantastic spots that will satisfy even the most discerning foodie’s sensibilities. If you want to find out about Kitchener-Waterloo restaurants, this is a good place to find out!

Festivals

If you love an innovative food truck or fun food festival, Waterloo is a great place to eat on the street. There are numerous fairs featuring food of many ethnicities and origins. Each one offers an opportunity to try a new treat. The Annual Waterloo Food Festival is one of the best you can find anywhere.

The Waterloo Food Festival hosts outdoor events like the Evening Food Fair, the Outdoor Cocktail event and the Waterloo Family Fete, among others. There are also opportunities to have a seat at some of the trendiest eateries and enjoy the fair in air-conditioned comfort. You can try something new at a tasting or experience a masterclass and learn a new cooking technique. Don’t forget the competitions and live entertainment! This four-day event is a foodie’s gastronomic dream-come-true.

The Waterloo town calendar is packed with festivals, street fairs and cultural events. Just about any of these events will have a host of tempting delicacies for the discriminating food-lover. Culture Fest, Art Fest and the Big Music Festival are just a few of the annual opportunities to try a new food truck or sample a street cart. In 2015, the region even hosted the second Food Truck Fare in support of the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region.

UpTown Waterloo

UpTown Waterloo is the urban heart of the city. It is home to over 400 businesses including some incredible restaurants. This thriving city-center is a popular lunch and dinner-time destination and for lots of good reasons. Here are just a few to tempt your taste buds.

Beertown – Waterloo Town Square

Part old-school pub, part modern beer emporium and all great food – that’s Beertown in the Waterloo Town Square. The concept for Beertown is one of the powerful Charcoal Groups’ newest and it’s getting rave reviews from all types of customers. It features a “chef-driven” menu focused on all-natural ingredients and creative combinations.

This pub is constantly looking for ways to make beer more inventive and your dining experience more exciting. The menu ranges from traditional poutine to pork belly tacos, Beertown pad thai and a raw salad. There’s something for just about any taste here.

Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21

If you want the full foodie experience, try getting a seat at the chef’s table at Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21. This local spot emphasizes local fare. They’ve been listed in the prestigious “Where to Eat in Canada” guide for 5 consecutive years. This husband and wife team keeps the menu interesting by changing it up depending on what’s freshest right now. You could see a house cured pancetta on the menu or perhaps a hand-stretched mozzarella. For a treat on a budget, take a look at their 3 and 4 course prix fixe options.

King Street Trio Uptown

The ultimate in casual-but-cool, this eatery with an attitude lives in a 100-year-old historic building. You get the charm of a tin ceiling with the modern edge of an open-concept kitchen. Try the cozy dining room or the more intimate semi-private, 14 seat dining area. Fresh food and great value dominate the menu and the service is strong. They will even accommodate allergies issues and dietary preferences.

The Bauer Kitchen

Part of the powerhouse Charcoal Group, The Bauer Kitchen is a SoHo-inspired, up-market bistro. A trendy décor mix of industrial and reclaimed elements gives home to a strong menu of hearty dishes. Any restaurant that puts grilled salmon on the kids’ menu is really thinking about modern foodies and foodies-in-training!

For a decadent indulgence that touches on several current food trends, try the confit duck wings or the roasted bone marrow. A terrific array of burgers and sandwiches are available for lunch and dinner has some heavy-hitting dishes like short rib gnocchi and some lighter notes like an arugula salad with shaved beets, pickled peppers and Granny Smith apples.

Hillcrest House

If you’re craving something a little different, an experience instead of a mere meal, head over to the historic Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast. Resting on a quiet street in the heart of Waterloo, close to all the attractions, this little gem hides a juicy little secret. It’s called “Trust the Fat Guy at Hillcrest House”.

It’s a ton of fun and you’ll learn a few things you can try at home too. This experience is an incredible opportunity to delve into the mind of Chef Stef, ask questions and take a few recipes home as a bonus. He’ll prepare several dishes right in front of you. The event runs about 3 hours and price will vary depending on your choice of menu items. (If you’d like to stay the night, you’ll get a discount on your room!).

There’s no shortage of foodie havens in Waterloo. Bring your appetite and try a few of our favorite spots. You’re sure to find something to impress your taste buds in the vibrant, exciting community of Waterloo. Have a favourite restaurant you want added to this list? Email me at mark@maurerteam.com!

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Relocating to Kitchener-Waterloo? Resources To Help (Part 2)

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

The Kitchener-Waterloo area has a history that dates back to 1784, and this rich background means great things for its residents. With a regional population of nearly half a million people that’s growing fast, a variety of different industries, and an historically low unemployment rate, this is one area that is ideal for families, young professionals, and seniors alike. If you plan to move here,  it might be helpful to have some resources at your fingertips. Part 1 of our post took a look at moving companies you can use, how to get around the area, changing your address, the utility companies you may need to contact, and healthcare options while you’re here. Once you’ve moved, though, you’ll need more resources at your fingertips outside of the nuts and bolts of your daily life. Take a look at our continued list below.

Houses of Worship

As you look for the right place to fit into the Kitchener-Waterloo community, you may want to take a closer look at the many houses of worship in the area. With options that encompass all of the major faiths, you’re certain to find a place of worship that meets your needs here. This, however, is just an overview of the many worship options in the area, as exploring each would take far more than the confines of this blog post. For a more complete listing, please click here.

  1. Area Catholic Churches: With a number of Catholic congregations around the region, you’re certain to find services that meet your needs. Many also have associated schools for young children.
  2. George’s of Forest Hill: An Anglican church, this congregation offers a variety of worship services on Sunday and during the week as well as a church school for children. They also have book clubs, study groups, and family nights.
  3. Unity Centre: A non-denominational congregation, the Unity Centre offers fellowship for those of all faiths as well as a number of other programs.
  4. Stanley Park Community Church: A very welcoming church, Stanley Park is located right on the Route 8 line of the Grand River Transit, making it convenient for members and visitors alike.
  5. The Lutheran Churches of Kitchener-Waterloo: Our community has nine different Lutheran congregations to help meet your needs. Located across the area, there’s one near almost anywhere you decide to settle.
  6. Kitchener Gospel Temple: A community of faith that was initially founded in 1909, this church has a rich history and a wonderful congregation.
  7. Grandview Baptist Church: Easy to reach, this church offers Sunday services and much more. Perfect for worshipers of all ages, they offer great activities and a wonderful chance to connect with others.
  8. Waterloo Masjid: The Muslim Society of Waterloo & Wellington Counties offers services, events, and regular prayer times.
  9. Kitchener Masjid: Undergoing great renovations to help better meet the needs of Muslims in the area, this is a wonderful facility with a regular prayer schedule as well as other activities and events.
  10. Beth Jacob Congregation: Serving the local Jewish community since 1908, Beth Jacob offers modern Orthodox services as well as a number of other program options.
  11. The Rohr Chabad Centre: With services, classes, and even meals, Chabad is the best place to join the local Jewish community. Initially launched in December 2008, they serve a wide population, and can help you better connect once you’re here.
  12. Temple Shalom: A reform congregation, Temple Shalom draws members from across the area, including young Jewish families. They also have a growing religious school that combines study in Judacia with Hebrew training.

Schools in Waterloo Region

If you’re moving here with a family or you expect to have children while you’re here, never fear. This is a family-friendly community with lots of resources to help you settle in. Below is a listing of schools and care options to help you find the right resources for your family.

  1. Waterloo Region District: If you want your child to attend public schools, this is the place they’ll likely go. Encompassing nearly a hundred elementary schools and a number of secondary schools, you’ll find excellent staff and programs throughout the district.
  2. Waterloo Catholic Schools: Looking for a solid Catholic education for your child? With 47 different Catholic elementary schools and five secondary schools, this area offers an excellent selection to choose from for your child.
  3. Colleges and Universities: If you’re looking to further your own education or you have a student headed for college, you have several choices in the area. Conestoga College, Emmanuel Bible College, Heritage College & Seminary, University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University all make their homes in this area.

Things to Do!

Worried you might not find anything to do while you’re here? That will never be an issue. There are so many great options you may have trouble keeping up. It’s possible you may even discover spots you haven’t had time to visit even if you’ve lived here for years.

  1. Kitchener Market: Looking for a feast your senses will love? This is the place to be. With food and wares that represent things from an international perspective it’s one spot you’ll want to visit regularly.
  2. Victoria Park: A prize spot in the heart of downtown, here you’ll find a playground, splash pad, and great walkways. There are winter rinks, a boathouse restaurant, and special events throughout the year.
  3. Doon Heritage Village: A beautiful living history village, there are more than 60 acres that show life in Waterloo in 1914. Every visit comes complete with interpreters dressed in 1914 clothing as well as animals and activities for the family.
  4. Waterloo Region Museum: This museum features two galleries, a main one that tells the story of the Waterloo region and a changing showcase gallery that has new exhibits on a regular basis. It’s worth a visit for you or the kids.
  5. Woodside National Historic Site: The boyhood home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, this house has been fully restored to the way it might have looked in the 1890s. A national treasure, it’s a must-see while you’re here.
  6. Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery: A destination for those who love contemporary art, this fine craft gallery showcases the best of Canadian ceramics and glass and offers numerous educational programs for children and adults alike.
  7. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery: Emphasizing contemporary art throughout, here you’ll find frequently changing exhibitions and a 4,000 work permanent collection designed to feed your artistic side.
  8. Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony: Phenomenal performances dominate when you catch any of the shows in the symphony season. Consider a customized ticket package to catch the concerts you want to see most.
  9. The Registry Theatre: From great movie series to fantastic concerts and shoes, keep an eye on the schedule here to catch as much as you can.
  10. The Aud: A great place for ice and floor rentals, hall rentals, corporate meetings, and other special events, this complex is one you’ll want to visit on a regular basis.
  11. Chicopee Resort: In the winter, this is a great place to ski and snowboard. In the summer, they offer summer camps, disc golf, beach volleyball, and more. It’s the perfect place for some activity with the whole family.
  12. Iron Horse Trail: Need a place to walk, roller blade, or bike? This is it. Part of the Trans Canada Trail, it runs 5.5 kilometres and connects downtown Kitchener to uptown Waterloo.
  13. McLennan Park: Once a former landfill, this is a wonderful destination for everyone. It offers an accessible play-structure and splash pad, beach volleyball and basketball courts, a skate park, a BMX bike park, a leash-free dog park, pedestrian trails, a toboggan hill, and gazebo you can rent for any event.
  14. Centre in the Square: Looking for fantastic shows and events? This is the venue to visit. There’s not a bad seat in the house, so check the schedule regularly.
  15. The Museum: With five floors of interactive exhibits, this is a great place for you and the family alike. Lots of everything is packed inside, and imagination is the key word here.
  16. Joseph Schneider Haus: If you want to step back in time, this is the place to do it. A dynamic museum, this local landmark is Kitchener’s oldest home. Take the family and take a closer look at the history behind this amazing area.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Moving to Kitchener-Waterloo? Resources To Help (Part 1)

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

 

Moving is never an easy task, but if you’re moving to Kitchener-Waterloo the area is exceptional when it comes to options once you’re here. With a number of great single family homes, condos, and apartments, you’re going to find the perfect place to live in the area, and we’d love to help. As you work to get settled in, you may want to use some or many of these area resources. This is the first part of a list of 50 that may help you make this area your home. Stay with us for part 2.

Moving and Storage Companies To Contact

Before you can even begin to think about anything else, you’re going to have to focus on getting your belongings and furniture here, or at the very minimum  moving it from one location to another in the area. Fortunately, there are a number of moving companies here that can help you do just that.

  1. Public Storage Kitchener – Public Storage Canada offers the widest range of unit sizes. Storage for small stuff. Storage for large stuff. Storage for everything in between! To help you figure out the size of storage unit you would require, this storage company even has a handy dandy storage calculator.
  2. Atlas Van Lines – A choice with the power of a long standing brand name behind it, this is the way to move, especially if you’re coming in from across the country. With 150 offices throughout Canada, Atlas Van Lines will get you and your belongings here in one piece, with peace of mind to spare.
  3. United Van Lines – Easily as powerful as the Atlas name, there are 200 locations throughout Canada here to make your move as smooth as possible.
  4. Westmount Moving – A local company, this group has been working in the area for more than 75 years. They’re the local Van Lines agent, and their level of experience means an outstanding move.
  5. Baird Moving – Located in Kitchener-Waterloo, this is another local United Van Lines agent, so whether you work with them or the bigger brand, you know you’re going to have an excellent experience.
  6. Elite Moving Services – If you’re looking for something a bit more local, you can’t do better than this team. Perfect for shorter distance moves or those over the long haul, they’re ready to help ensure you get into your new home safely.

Getting Around

Once you’re here, getting from place to place is fairly easy. Whether you rely on public transit, you prefer to walk or bike to work or you’ll be driving, this is an easy place to navigate.

  1. Grand River Transit: This is the public transportation system throughout Kitchener-Waterloo, and they provide daily bus service throughout the area. They also offer specialized transit for those with disabilities.
  2. BikeKitchener: Many cities are working to make it safer to bike, and the Kitchener-Waterloo area is no exception. This organization not only provides maps and routes of local bike trails, but also a festival dedicated to biking and more.

Changing Your Address

When you’ve moved here, you’ll certainly want to update your address and it’s easier than you think to do so.

  1. Canada Post: You can either visit your local post office or simply visit their online portal to officially change your address in Canada. Keep in mind, though, that this will only change your address with the postal service. It won’t do so with the ministry responsible for health or the Employment Insurance Program, so you’ll need to take care of all of that after you move.

Utilities

Ensuring you have power, heat, and water after you move is a must, so contacting the responsible companies for all of those before you move is essential. In most cases, a notification of at least 5 days prior to your move-in date is required.

  1. Kitchener Utilities: If you’re looking for natural gas hookups or water service for Kitchener, this is the group to contact. A deposit is typically required for new accounts.
  2. Kitchener Wilmot Hydro: More than 90,000 homes across the area are served by Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro, and to ensure you have the power you need. You will need to complete their new account application package.
  3. Union Gas: If you are moving to Waterloo, this is the natural gas company you will need to contact. You have to notify them at least three days before your moving day, and there is a connection fee of $35 on your first bill.
  4. Information Gateway Services: If you’re looking for an internet service provider, this is a good, localized solution to meet your needs.
  5. Netflash Internet Solutions: Many of the plans available through NetFlash for internet service include unlimited data, which can be a huge plus for those who work from home.
  6. Bell: Offering TV, home phone, internet, and bundles that encompass all of them, this is great provider. Depending on where you’re moving from, you may already even have an account with them.
  7. Rogers: Like Bell, you can get a number of bundles here that encompass your mobile phone, TV, home phone, and internet. They also offer concierge moving services to help make certain all of your needs are met.

Healthcare Options

Taking care of yourself is important, and the area offers plenty of access to the best doctors, dentists, and healthcare professionals to make certain that your health is in good hands.

  1. Ambulance Services: If you require emergency transportation to one of the area hospitals, contact 9-1-1 services immediately to be attended to by professional right away. To learn more about whether to call EMS, click on the link above.
  2. Saint Mary’s General Hospital: One of the best facilities in the province, St. Mary’s has 2000 staff, physicians, and volunteers who treat thousands of patients every year.
  3. Grand River Hospital: The Waterloo region’s largest hospital, Grand River offers 14 different clinical programs and services to help take care of you when you need it most.
  4. We Care Home Health Services: Should you need in home services, this is one great option. With a variety of services, and some of the best trained professionals in the area, this group should certainly be high on your list.

There are a number of other hospitals and services located outside of Kitchener-Waterloo that also provide services to those who live here including Cambridge Memorial Hospital, McMaster Children’s Hospital, London Health Science Centre and Hamilton Health Sciences.

For more home selling tips you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

If you or someone you know is buying or selling a home in Kitchener, Waterloo or the surrounding area give me a call at 310-SOLD. Or click here for a FREE Market Evaluation of your home.

Mark

Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge

 

Where is the best place to live in Waterloo Region?

Life Satisfaction of Residents in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge

Waterloo Region is known internationally for it’s leading-edge technology and advanced manufacturing industries, innovative educational institutions, vibrant agricultural communities, and the historically-significant Grand River. Waterloo region has earned its reputation as a forward-thinking community and as an attractive area to work, live, and play. Yet how do residents in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge rate their Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life? The results listed in this article are based on data from 340,000 individual responses in the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and the General Social Survey (GSS)*. This includes specific economic and social factors that contribute to life satisfaction and quality of life. Canada has been measuring Life Satisfaction for more than 30 years and was the first country to measure and collect data on life satisfaction.

Survey Results for Waterloo Region

CCHS and GSS respondents were asked: Using a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means “Very dissatisfied” and 10 means “Very satisfied,” how do you feel about your life as a whole right now? On average, residents of Waterloo Region participating in these studies rated their life satisfaction at 8 out of 10. Most impressively, 38% percent of Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge respondents reported their life satisfaction as a 9 or 10! Only 15% of these survey participants ranked their life satisfaction as a “6 or less.”

 Contributors to Life Satisfaction and Quality of Life

A report produced by The Region of Waterloo states that at the individual-level there are characteristics that are shown to be correlated with Life Satisfaction. These include age, employment status, and health status. On a community-level, the design of our neighbourhoods and their safety are factors that contribute to Quality of Life.

Community Demographics

With regards to age, the majority of Waterloo Region’s population is fairly young – between the ages of 20 – 59, which means we have a significant number of residents in the workforce. In a two-year Quality of Life study conducted in Cambridge through Wilfrid Laurier University, Master’s student Annette A. Penney found that community residents reported that the number one contributor to Quality of Life was “family and friends.” The most recent census indicates that across Waterloo Region there are more married families than non-married families, further enhancing our perceived life satisfaction.

Community Safety and Neighbourhood Design

Although safety is not a variable that was measured in either the CCHS or the GSS, it is a factor that is considered to be a contributor to Quality of Life. Both violent and non-violent crimes have been on a downward trend here and across Canada for a number of years, however, our crime rates are below those of major Canadian communities. According to Statistics Canada, police-reported crime data that has been collected on non-violent crimes show that in the past 10 years the crime rate has been decreasing in Waterloo Region.

The design of neighbourhoods and physical characteristics of communities also contributes to Quality of Life in Waterloo Region. This includes: the location of buildings; road/street/sidewalk conditions; allocation of bike lanes; availability and placement of houses; and accessibility to neighbourhood parks. In Waterloo Region in 2014 the region spent more than $100 million in road construction ensuring that the condition of our streets and sidewalks is kept up-to-date and new roadways and bridges are developed to keep up with the pace of increasing traffic. The Rapid Transit system connecting Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge and the Light Rail Transit system between Kitchener and Waterloo also helps to transport residents between destinations in our region. There are literally hundreds of neighbourhood and public parks for families in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge.

Employment Status and Income of Residents

In a Quality of Life study in Cambridge, community residents reported that “income” was the second most important contributing factor to their quality of life. We can assert that this would be the same for all residents of Waterloo Region. Our median family incomes are higher than in many communities across Ontario.

To summarize, residents of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge report a high level of Life Satisfaction and this region rates moderately high on community characteristics that contribute to improved levels of Quality of Life. Indeed, Waterloo Region IS a great place to live, work, and play! If you plan to move to our area and would like more information on what our cities have to offer, click here for About Kitchener, About Waterloo, and About Cambridge. Also feel free to peruse our category of blog posts about Living in Kitchener-Waterloo.

 

*Data for this article were taken from the five cycles of the GSS fielded from 2009 to 2013 and the four cycles of the CCHS fielded from 2009 to 2012 inclusive.