Hundreds of parks, Mennonite pioneer houses and one of the largest Oktoberfests in North America make this city just outside of Toronto worth visiting.
Head southwest through Toronto’s surrounding farmland to reach the extensive twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. Kitchener is the southernmost of the pair and features an array of parks, museums and historical sites. Once known as Berlin, Kitchener has a rich German heritage. Visit a heritage German house and try a local pilsner at the city’s fun-filled Oktoberfest.
Kitchener is known for its lush green spaces. Find nearly 220 parks in this leafy city, including golf courses, nature preserves and urban parks. During the winter, ski within the city limits at the Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort.
Victoria Park is Kitchener’s centrally located park. This park dates back to 1896 and its clock tower is one of the city’s essential heritage structures. The tower stood atop the now-demolished old city hall. Visit nearby Kitchener City Hall to see the modern civic building. Take the Iron Horse Trail by foot, bicycle or on horseback from Victoria Park into Waterloo Park, the main park of Kitchener’s twin city.
Learn about the history of Kitchener’s settlement and development at its interesting museums. The Joseph Schneider Haus is a history museum located inside the city’s oldest house, which was built in 1816 by a German Mennonite pioneer. Tour the interior to see period furnishings and German-Canadian folk art in the exhibition space. The Waterloo Region Museum provides details on the rest of Kitchener’s history, including the First Nations people who once lived here and the city’s prosperous manufacturing industry.
Visit Kitchener in October to see the city embrace its German heritage in one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in North America, attracting hundreds of thousands of people each year. The 9-day festival culminates with Canada’s much-loved Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Drive an hour or take a 3-hour bus ride out of Toronto to reach Kitchener. Surrounded by farmland and dotted with idyllic green spaces, Kitchener is a peaceful respite from urban Toronto.