Welcome to Cvent's MICE guide to Waterloo, ON, a regional guide for MICE professionals. A prosperous, high-tech-focused area of southern Ontario, the Waterloo Region is a perfect blend of authentic culture and lifestyle balanced with modern innovation and entrepreneurism. Home to rich, diverse heritage, plentiful outdoor recreation, bustling urban cities and rural scenic townships, renowned restaurants and microbreweries, fantastic entertainment, and much more, the Waterloo Region is situated in the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle - its three cities (Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge) together comprising the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Ontario and 11th-largest metropolitan area in all of Canada. More than 400 high-tech firms operate in the region, which serves as the fourth-largest urban area for business in Ontario.
The Waterloo Region also serves as a fantastic destination for both business and leisure travel, thanks to its variety of unique venues, conference centres, full-service hotels, sports facilities, team building activities, and scenic setting; as well as such highlights as the St. Jacobs Farmers' Market, the largest year-round farmers' market in Ontario. The region offers more than 200,000 square feet of function space and more than 2,500 guest rooms, including 850 in the city of Waterloo alone. A dynamic, vibrant mid-sized city, Waterloo offers all of the amenities of a large urban centre paired with the charm of a smaller rural community, including a thriving urban uptown area with a public square, boutiques, shops and restaurants. Kitchener also offers a welcoming, small town feel, as well as big-city museums, performing arts venues, and art galleries. Set at the convergence of the Grand and Speed rivers, Cambridge is known for its heritage and limestone buildings, as well as its walking trails along the waterfront, limestone cliffs, and Mennonite settlements.
The City of Waterloo is home to the main campuses of the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Combined, the two campuses boast a student population of 22,000 giving the city a vibrant nightlife, great dining and meeting and sport venues. Kitchener-based Conestoga College has 11,000 full time students at a number of campuses throughout the region. All three campuses offer residence accommodations for conferences during the summer session and some off site venues are also available.
The nearby Region of Waterloo International Airport is centrally located to all three cities, and offers nonstop commercial flights to Calgary and Chicago, as well as connecting service to more than 250 one-stop destinations. In addition, the Waterloo Region is conveniently located about one hour from Canada's largest and busiest airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport. Providing nonstop and same-plane service to more than 180 destinations around the world, Toronto Pearson International is ranked among the top 30 in the world in terms of the number of daily arrivals and departures. Meeting delegates have access to a number of ground transportation options serving the Waterloo Region: VIA Rail Canada runs between Kitchener and Toronto, Guelph, London, and Sarnia, while the regional Grand River Transit bus system runs throughout Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo on a fixed route schedule via 66 bus routes, including iXpress routes. The Waterloo Region is home to three Greyhound stations in Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge.
A majority of business travelers heading to the Waterloo Region meet at Kitchener's Bingemans Conference Centre. Spanning 40,000 square feet of flexible ground floor meeting space, Bingemans Conference Centre is the Waterloo Region's largest and most dynamic conference and meeting facility. Ideal for groups of 10 to 1,200, the conference centre offers seven meeting spaces, including the 20,000-square-foot Marshall Hall; 15,000-square-foot Ballroom; and elegant 7,200-square-foot Embassy Room with crystal chandeliers and two marble fireplaces, among other spaces.
Aside from the Bingemans Conference Centre, the Waterloo Region is home to a number of unique venues perfect for group gatherings. Kitchener's Waterloo Region Museum (the largest community museum in Ontario) tells the story of the Waterloo Region through a Main Gallery, temporary exhibits, and the 60-acre Doon Heritage Village. The museum offers group tours, as well as indoor and outdoor rental spaces ranging from the 100-person historic Freeport Church to the 450-person Grand Foyer with walls of Ontario limestone and repurposed beam timbers. Groups can walk amongst thousands of free flying butterflies in the tropical oasis known as the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, as well as hold events in the conservatory's galleries and meeting rooms; or reserve a group tour, workshop, or seminar. The nearby African Lion Safari welcomes visitors to drive along nine kilometers of trails through seven large game reserves home to lions, giraffe, cheetah, rhino, and more than 1,000 other exotic birds and animals from around the world. Groups visiting the African Lion Safari have their pick of a number of packages, team building activities, picnics, and animal encounters, as well as private event space in the 250-person banquet room with Safari Lake views. When it comes to the performing arts, the Waterloo Region is home to a number of group-friendly venues, including the 300-seat St. Jacobs Country Playhouse in the heart of the St. Jacobs Market District; the 500-person, state-of-the-art Dunfield Theatre Cambridge along the Grand River; and the 2,047-seat Centre in the Square in Kitchener, regarded as one of the finest performing arts spaces in all of North America.
Adventurous groups can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or tubing with Canoeing the Grand's trip offerings, as well as discover ziplining, summer and winter tubing, a Eurobungy trampoline, and much more at Chicopee Tube Park, which features a 200-person Day Lodge chalet perfect for group gatherings. Groups can ride the heritage Waterloo Central Railway between Waterloo and St. Jacobs, as well as enjoy an 18-hole golf course, four Olympic-sized ice pads, four miles of trails and much more at RIM Park, Waterloo's premier recreation and park complex. The 500-acre complex offers a number of private rental spaces ranging from covered ice rinks and outdoor sports fields to banquet facilities and meeting rooms.