$715 - $750
- 1 Bed
- 1 Bath
$1,345 - $1,395
- 2 Beds
- 1 Bath
- 1-3 Beds
- 1 Bath
Renter's Guide to Waterloo
The southern Canadian city of Waterloo is located in Ontario and is part of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (along with the nearby cities of Kitchener and Cambridge). Population-wise, Waterloo is smaller than both Kitchener and Cambridge.
In 2018, Waterloo was ranked 52nd out of 415 Canadian cities in the MoneySense Canada’s Best Places to Live list. Categories such as culture, weather, commute, taxes, wealth and economy, amenities, affordability, crime, access to health care, population growth, and taxes were reviewed for each city to determine their ranking.
Waterloo’s population is about 4 percent of the population of Toronto, ON, and nearby Cambridge has around 25,000 more people than Waterloo does. About 70 miles separate Waterloo from Toronto, and the city is located 401 miles from Montreal, QC.
Waterloo’s climate is humid continental, featuring warm, humid summers and cold winters, although compared to much of the rest of Canada, it has moderate weather. The weather in Waterloo has summer temperatures that average about 79ºF, though temperature extremes can reach 97ºF. The city’s winter temperatures are around 30ºF, with severe cold snaps bringing temperatures as low as
-25ºF. The average rainfall in Waterloo is about 36 inches per year, mostly in the spring, summer, and autumn months. Snowfall in the winter months reaches about 63 inches per year on average. The city sometimes sees flooding in the spring during periods of heavy rain or melting snow.
Cost of Living in Waterloo
The public transportation system in Waterloo is operated by Grand River Transit, which provides bus, bus rapid transit, and light rail transit services. The regular cash fare is $3.25, and children 4 and under ride for free. Seniors and students can access reduced price tickets, and day passes ($8.00) and monthly passes ($86.00 regular, $73.00 seniors and students) are also available.
Waterloo has several taxi options, including United Taxi, City Cabs, and Waterloo Taxi. The average commute time in Waterloo is around 23 minutes, which is slightly faster than the national average of 26.2 minutes.
A three-course meal at a mid-priced restaurant in Waterloo can cost between $39.00 and $100.00. Here, a regular cappuccino costs around $3.92. For utilities such as electricity, heating, water, and garbage for a 915-square-foot apartment in Waterloo, people can expect to pay $159.76 for an average monthly bill. That is slightly higher than the Canadian average of $147.21.
Living in Waterloo
There are pros and cons to living in Waterloo, much like any city. Waterloo has easy access to universities and colleges, a lack of crowds and traffic, a lower cost of living compared to larger cities, and a friendly population. It’s also located right next to the city of Kitchener, providing even more amenities.
Waterloo’s cons include less frequent public transportation compared to larger cities, fewer attractions/events than some larger cities have, and a somewhat confusing city layout when it comes to streets, as it is not on a traditional grid system.
Things to Do in Waterloo
Everyone can find fun things to do in Waterloo. The City of Waterloo Museum features exhibits that help visitors connect to the city’s past and culture. The museum is home to over 10,000 artifacts, including items related to early manufacturing, paintings, photographs, and books. Temporary exhibits, pop-up events, and speaker series are also offered here.
Some of the best attractions for kids in Waterloo include the Earth Sciences Museum, Waterloo Park, Waterloo Central Railway, and Doon Heritage Village.
There are also plenty of things for couples to do in Waterloo, including browsing the many stalls at the St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market (Canada’s largest farmers’ market), which offers a variety of food, handmade goods, antiques, and unique clothing. A stroll through the Laurel Creek Conservation Area is also a romantic experience.
The Conestoga Mall, the Shops at Waterloo Town Square, St. Jacobs Outlets, and Bridgeport Plaza are some of the best places to shop in Waterloo. Nearby Kitchener and Cambridge offer even more shopping opportunities just a short drive away.
Some of the best restaurants in Waterloo include Levetto Waterloo, Wildcraft Grill + Long Bar, The Crazy Canuck, Mediterraneo Family Restaurant, and Timeless Café and Bakery. The city offers a wide variety of cuisine, including Canadian, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Greek, Lebanese, Mexican, Japanese, and Italian.
There are plenty of Waterloo events to enjoy, and one of the largest is the Waterloo Busker Carnival, which takes place every August. Buskers from Canada and around the world put on street performances like singing, dancing, playing music, and juggling over the course of this four-day, family-friendly event. Other major events held in Waterloo include the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema and the World Religions Conference.
Employment & Economy in Waterloo
Waterloo is home to a strong technology industry, and hundreds of tech firms have headquarters or regional offices located here, including BlackBerry, Open Text Corporation, Google, Intel, McAfee, Shopify, Oracle, Maplesoft, Descartes Systems Group, Electronic Arts, and Kik Messenger.
Three well-known think tanks are also located here. The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics focuses on the study of physics and other areas of science. The Institute for Quantum Computing is involved in computer, engineering, mathematical, and physical sciences research. Focused on challenges facing international governance, the Centre for International Governance Innovation is an independent, non-partisan think tank.
Waterloo’s largest employers include BlackBerry, the University of Waterloo, Manulife Financial, Sun Life Financial, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Sandvine.
Education in Waterloo
According to the Fraser Institute, the highest-ranked Waterloo elementary schools include Abraham Erb, Laurelwood, Our Lady of Lourdes, Millen Woods, and Lexington. Waterloo’s highest-ranked secondary schools are Waterloo, Sir John A. Macdonald, Bluevale, St. David, and Kitchener Waterloo. The Waterloo Region District School Board operates public schools in the city, and there are also several private elementary and secondary schools here.
The top colleges and universities in Waterloo include the University of Waterloo (with the largest post-secondary co-operative education program in the world), Wilfrid Laurier University, St. Jerome’s University, St. Paul’s University College, Conrad Grebel University College, Renison University College, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and a regional campus of Conestoga College.
Tips for Renting in Waterloo
Renters' rights in Waterloo are covered by The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). While tenants are responsible for keeping their unit clean and damage-free, landlords are required to maintain the building and unit to keep it safe and operational.
In Waterloo, renters can get support from Waterloo Region Community Legal Services, the Landlord and Tenant Board, or Community Legal Education Ontario.
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