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Kitchener, Ontario

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Kitchener in Ontario.

 

The City of Kitchener is a city in Southern Ontario, Canada. It was the Town of Berlin from 1854 until 1912 and the City of Berlin from 1912 until 1916. The city had a population of 204,668. It is the seat of the Waterloo Regional Municipality, and is adjacent to the smaller cities of Cambridge to the south, and Waterloo to the north. Kitchener and Waterloo are often referred to jointly as "Kitchener-Waterloo" (K-W), although they have separate municipal governments. Including Cambridge, the three cities are known as "the tri-cities".

Culture

Kitchener's cultural highlights include CAFKA, The Open Ears Festival, IMPACT theatre festival, the Multicultural Festival, the Kitchener Blues Festival and KidsPark, many of which are free to the public. Kitchener is also home to venues such as Homer Watson House & Gallery, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, JM Drama Alumni and Centre In The Square. Live music by popular artists can be heard at venues such as Centre In The Square and The Aud. The Kitchener Public Library is another community stalwart. Kitchener is also home to independent music label, Busted Flat Records which features the music of many Kitchener-Waterloo based musicians.

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest

Kitchener-Waterloo's Oktoberfest celebration is an annual nine-day event. Based on the original German Oktoberfest, it is billed as Canada's Greatest Bavarian Festival. It is held every October, starting on the Friday before Canadian Thanksgiving and running until the Saturday after. It is the largest Bavarian festival in the world outside of Germany.

While its best-known draws are the beer-based celebrations, other family and cultural events also fill the week. The best-known is the Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade held on Thanksgiving Day; as it is the only major parade on Canadian Thanksgiving, it is televised nationally.

Another icon of the festival is Miss Oktoberfest. This position was formerly selected in a televised beauty pageant, with the applicants coming from across North America. The position is now selected by a closed committee of judges from a panel of local applicants; community involvement and personal character form the main criteria under the new system. A ribald spin-off of the Miss Oktoberfest pageant is celebrated in some local high schools, in which all participants are male, but dressed as women.

Kitchener-Waterloo in film and music

Various locations in both Kitchener and Waterloo were used to portray the fictional Ontario town of Wessex in the filming of Canadian television sitcom, Dan for Mayor, starring Corner Gas star Fred Ewanuick.

A local folk group, Destroy All Robots, wrote a tongue-in-cheek song jibing the town of Kitchener in the song "Battle Hymn of the City of Kitchener, Ontario".

Kitchener Blues Festival

A 4 day festival in downtown Kitchener dedicated to blues music. The festival has expanded to 5 stages throughout the downtown area, with over 60 performances. The festival has grown from a 1 day event with an attendance of 3,000 to a 4 day event with over 65,000 attending. In 2010 the Kitchener Blues Festival celebrated its 10th year.
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Recreation

Kitchener's oldest and most important outdoor park is Victoria Park, in the heart of downtown Kitchener. Numerous events and festivities are held in this park.

A cast-bronze statue of Queen Victoria is located in Victoria Park, along with a cannon. The statue was unveiled in May 1911, on Victoria Day (the Queen's birthday) in the tenth year after her death. The Princess of Wales Chapter of the IODE raised the $6,000 needed for the monument.

The city has announced the construction of a new Gaukel Street entrance to Victoria Park. Gaukel Street is to be used as a corridor linking Victoria Park to City Hall. The new entrance will include a complete streetscape upgrade on Gaukel Street with new lighting, stamped concrete, and other features. The new entrance to the park itself will include stone masonry gates, walkways, new lighting, flower gardens, a pond complete with waterfalls, and a sculpture created by artist Ernest Daetwyler.

Another significant beauty spot in the city is Rockway Gardens. Adjacent to the Rockway golf course, the gardens occupy a long narrow strip of land alongside King Street as it rushes down to meet the Conestoga Parkway and become Highway 8. Here there are many fountains, ponds, waterfalls and rock grottoes. It is a popular site for wedding photos in the summer months.

Kitchener has an extensive and safe community trail system. The trails, which are controlled and run by the city, are hundreds of kilometres in length. Due to Kitchener's close proximity to the Grand River, several community trails and paths border the river's shores. This convenient access to the Grand River has drawn nature-seeking tourists to the city. However, Kitchener's trails and especially natural areas remain underfunded by city council and as a result, many are not adequately maintained.

A newly constructed bike park located at McLennan park in the city's south end has already been hailed as one of the best city run bike parks in Southern Ontario by BMX and mountain biking enthusiasts. The bike park offers a four-cross (4X) section, a pump track section, a jump park, and a free-ride couse.

Chicopee Ski Club is also located inside city limit.

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