Top 4 reasons why #KWAwesome is still Canada’s 2021 place to be!

I wrote this article last year almost a year ago, and in the past year we have seen an incredible growth in our region in the real estate market. With demand still outpacing supply I want to share the same article with you below as a year later we still look like one of the top places in Canada for investment and lifestyle!

Here is the article I published on Linked in last April of 2020.

Whether you are interested investing time in living in Waterloo region, studying, expanding your business operations or thinking of just looking at real estate opportunities for investment; highlighted here are the top 4 reasons why you should consider Waterloo Region for your next big move. 

I immigrated to Waterloo Region from Europe with my parents in July of 1998 and have lived in the region since. My only time residing outside of the region in the past 22 years was when leaving for post secondary education in the US. I graduated with a Publication and Design, BA Undergraduate degree at Graceland University in the midwest state of Iowa. 

I have personally witnessed the growth of the region’s infrastructure first hand and also been a part of the steady rise in population in the last 22 years.

What brought my parents to Waterloo Region initially was employment opportunity 22 years ago and the same can be said today. 

Our community is home to more than 1,850 manufacturing companies in such diverse sectors as automotive, aerospace, robotics, food processing, plastics and fabricated metals.

Manufacturing and technology, a 1-2 dynamic combination at the core of Waterloo Region’s strength and adaptability and ultimately success.

Waterloo Region is a growing ecosystem of more than 1,570 tech-related businesses. Our community is home to Canada’s largest tech, software, satellite and eLearning companies, and one of the world’s top producers of visual technology displays.

There is so much good information on Waterloo Region and it keeps accumulating that is hard to just get a few of these points across in a short post like this but I will offer you some highlights of what I found. 

Waterloo Region has three cities in Canada’s top ten with highest employment rates. Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph can be found on this list.

With Facebook and Google setting up shop in the downtown core and expanding their operations in the region it fuels the growing tech sector and city growth overall. 

‘Employment growth occurred in many regions across the province; year-over-year increases include Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie (7.0 per cent), Northeastern Ontario (5.8 per cent) and Kingston-Pembrooke (5.3 per cent). Since June 2018, 163,000 jobs have been created.’

Growth of local companies is happening fast prompting recognition on a National scale.

‘The three fastest-growing Canadian tech companies are all from Waterloo Region.’

The fastest growing region in Canada and includes Cambridge. 

Yes we are the number one fastest growing region in Canada. With growth comes pains but all for the better. The LRT took some years to develop but we are now seeing the benefits of having the transport system running through the core. Connecting with Cambridge eventually will be key in reducing traffic and providing reliable transport for thousands of employees driving Ontario’s economy forward. 

The residential growth has transformed the the core areas of Kitchener and Waterloo. The Midtown area of Kitchener and Waterloo has seen a drastic explosion in high rise projects recently. Waterloo also has gone through a student housing boom recently with numerous high rise community like developments in Waterloo.

The people in the ‘LOO are amazingly diverse!

Waterloo is in the top 15 communities for immigrants! Canada’s strength is diversity and Waterloo Region is absolutely amazing at demonstrating that. With our international universities, companies and strong ethnic population with various backgrounds it is a thriving mixed community that is feeding the growth of the region. 

‘Waterloo Region residents reported over 220 different ethnic origins in the 2016 Census.’

Future and Opportunity 

A 2014 report by the Conference Board of Canada gave the city of Waterloo an overall grade of “A” in its yearly City Magnets publication. The study ranks Canadian cities report-card-style based on features that make them attractive to mobile populations. Determining factors included elements such as society, health, economy, environment, education, innovation, and housing.

As population has increased in the excess of 600,000 in the region, the regional airport has expanded its operations, the LRT has developed and will eventually link Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. We are seeing the transformation here as our region becomes a leader of Canadian technological development a vibrant community for the future. 

In particular, Waterloo is an attractive destination because of its strong reputation for tech innovation and education. According to the report, Waterloo ranked first in education, second in innovation, and third in the economy category.

Community leaders worked with the Region’s two world-class universities – Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo – to find a solution. Soon, Laurier’s School of Social Work (2006) and UW’s School of Pharmacy (2008) joined the downtown core. Seen as unconventional at the time, these investments quickly became anchor tenants for economic growth in the core.

Seeking opportunity in the technological industry? Or better yet, looking to start a program or company? This Region is your nest and the world is at your disposal! The employment super highway connection with Toronto via is also an additional stream of opportunity.

Some companies involved with ‘The Corridor’ are BlackBerry, Magnet Forensics, Google, D2L, Vidyard, Shopify, EA Sports, Christie Digital, OpenText and more.

‘Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) is a University Research Centre, founded in 2008. The institute’s research is about science and engineering at the atomic scale’

Start Ups in Waterloo Region have a highly penetrating global market reach for customers.

Figure 20 from Waterloo EDC article:

‘Figure 20 displays foreign customers as a percent of the total customer base for selected startup ecosystems. Reaching out to global markets is vital for innovation, as it allows companies and economies to create global connections which they can use to tap into an array of ideas, knowledge, talent and capital. 15’

Further more all 4 cities in our region have been named in the Cities of the Future article:

Recreation and youth development is also something that has always been present in the region in the past and with more funding required for after school programs and youth teams for our growing population. The infrastructure is being developed with world class sports fields and parks in new communities. The quality of work being put into ensuring new communities have an adequate amount of outdoor space such as parks and schools near by and commercial amenities is designed to improve the overall quality of life and provide easier access.

We have amazing facilities already such as RIM Park with indoor and outdoor sports fields, hockey rinks, basketball courts, indoor field house and Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo and future plans for developments in south-west Huron Road end of Kitchener such as RBJ Schlegel Park with splash pads, cricket field and soccer fields.

Also plans to develop indoor facilities for the future to allow the growing population to enjoy activities year round in Canada’s sometimes ‘refreshing’ climate. Who doesn’t love playing sports and being active all year long?

The versatility of our region and resilience to rebrand and redevelop its self multiple times throughout history and to have the opportunity to emerge as one of the worlds leaders in technological development and tech start ups is further confirmation that there is something special happening here. 

A great film made by Taylor Jackson who is a former classmate of mine at Conestoga College’s Advertising program named ‘Startup Community The Film’ does quite well at showing this and was published six years ago on Youtube.

Builders like HIP Developments are incorporating smart new building systems in their developments that will reduce the energy required to operate utilities. New real estate developments are starting to see buildings are also including smart WiFi Thermostats and Car Share Programs

Reviving heritage infrastructure like the Gaslight District in Cambridge transforms neighbourhoods. We have seen the transformation of Kitcheners downtown core recently and what it has done for attracting global companies to set up their Canadian offices right in the heart of it all.

Therefore real estate development is playing an important role building community from the inside out. Transforming the cores while also expanding the boundaries out. That kind of growth comes from being the fastest growing region across the entire country. This is happening here now.

The ability of the manufacturing sector locally to adapt to global scale problems has been proven once again as Guelph manufacturing leader Linamar sets an example by reshuffling production to provide much needed health care equipment in a time of crisis. Ramping up to produce ventilators for the COVID-19 response and provide our front line health care workers with the adequate tools to protect them selves and ultimately all of us.

In addition Kitchener-Waterloo’s based InkSmith is using its 3D printing technology to print face shields for front line health care providers across Canada. The company is in the midst of expansion to ramp up production.

This ability of our region to respond in a timely manner to global scale solutions should come as no surprise. Hard work, innovation and development are at the core of this community.

To briefly summarize the transformation of our region is well under way and we are in a position to help shape the future of the digital and physical world. 

Follow me for just a nano-sec. If industry leading Technology is at the forefront of our current society and Waterloo Region can be a leader in technology, we can become one of the leaders in the world. And the best leaders do it by providing an outstanding example.

I would love to hear more about your personal experience and what you happening in our region over the next 5 years. What do you think we need to develop into a global leader?

Comment below or message me directly and let me know what you thought of the post and if I could add something to future highlights about Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph and Cambridge.

Providing none of us can predict that the current global impact of COVID-19, I believe Waterloo Region’s ‘best’ is yet to come. 

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