In 1784, the British Crown set aside 2,400 square kilometers of land as a reward for the loyalty that the Six Nations Indians demonstrated to the Crown during the American War of Independence. Over the years that property experienced a large influx of immigrants from the German states of central Europe and the United Kingdom.
In fact, so many German-speaking Europeans had inhabited the territory that by 1833 it was named “ Berlin.” A thriving industrial city by 1912, “ Berlin” was renamed “ Kitchener” following World War I after Lord Kitchener, a British war hero.
Today, as part of the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Kitchener still celebrates its past. For nine days in early October, visitors from across the globe come to take part in Oktoberfest - believed to be the largest Bavarian festival held outside Munich, Germany. The celebration of German heritage includes festhallens, parades, dances, competitions and carnivals…
Beyond Oktoberfest though, Kitchener is home to some fascinating tourist attractions. Many come to visit the Doon Heritage Crossroads – a living history museum set against sixty acres of forest, marsh and farmland. Costumed interpreters welcome visitors to the year1914, walking through farms, historic buildings, heritage gardens, while providing demonstrations of daily chores and responsibilities.
For a taste of art and culture, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery is the oldest and largest public gallery in Waterloo region. Established in 1956, the K-W Art Gallery boasts a 23,500 square foot facility, with over 3,900 works or art in its permanent collection.
The collection is focused primarily on nationally recognized artists from Ontario, largely from the 20th century.
Another unique attraction is the Woodside National Historic Site - a place of national historic importance. Built in 1853, the residence at 528 Wellington Street North, was once the childhood home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada's 10th Prime Minister. From 1886 to 1893, King lived here with his parents and three siblings, and visitors can relive King’s early years through video presentation and guided tours.
After a day of culture and heritage grab the kids and head to Sports World to satisfy your
thirst for adventure. Open year round, SportsWorld features Canada’s largest indoor rock climbing wall, and indoor golf driving range with two levels, batting cages, a 3,000 square foot Arcade and a twin-pad arena with two NHL-size hockey rinks. When the weather gets hot, Sport World also boasts a 2-hectare (4.5 acre) water park with a heated wave pool, waterslides, and roller coasters.