Waterloo, Ontario

Waterloo is a city in Southern Ontario, Canada. It is the smallest of the three cities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, and is adjacent to the city of Kitchener.

Kitchener and Waterloo are often jointly referred to as “Kitchener-Waterloo”, “KW”, or “the Tri-City” (to include the City of Cambridge), although they have separate city governments. There have been several attempts to amalgamate the two cities (sometimes with the city of Cambridge as well), but none have been successful. At the time of the 2011 census, Waterloo had a population of 98,780.

Waterloo was built on land that was part of a parcel of 675,000 acres (2,730 km2) assigned in 1784 to the Iroquois alliance that made up the League of Six Nations. Almost immediately and with much controversy the native groups began to sell some of the land. Between 1796 and 1798, 93,000 acres (380 km2) were sold through a Crown Grant to Richard Beasley, with the Six Nations Indians continuing to hold the mortgage on the lands. 

The first wave of immigrants to the area was Mennonites from Pennsylvania. They bought deeds to land parcels from Beasley and began moving into the area in 1804. The following year, a group of 26 Mennonites pooled resources to purchase all of the unsold land from Beasley and discharge the mortgage held by the Six Nations Indians.

The Mennonites divided the land into smaller lots; two lots initially owned by Abraham Erb became the central core of Waterloo. Erb is often called the founder of Waterloo, as it was his sawmill (1808) and grist mill (1816) that became the focal point of the area.

In 1816, the new township was named after Waterloo, Belgium, the site of the Battle of Waterloo, which had ended the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. After that war, the area became a popular destination for German immigrants. By the 1840s, German settlers had overtaken the Mennonites as the dominant segment of the population. Many Germans settled in the small hamlet to the southeast of Waterloo. In their honour, the village was named Berlin in 1833 (renamed to Kitchener in 1916). Berlin was chosen as the site of the seat for the County of Waterloo in 1853.

Waterloo was incorporated as a village in 1857 and became the Town of Waterloo in 1876 and the City of Waterloo in 1948.

Many locals are of ethnic German descent. There is also a strong Mennonite presence. The universities and colleges along with its thriving technology and electronics presence attract a large number of individuals from elsewhere in Canada and the world.

In 2021, the population of the City of Waterloo was 121,436, which represents a growth of 15.7% from 2016. The land area of Waterloo is 64 square kilometres and the population density was 1,895.8 people per square kilometre. The median age is 38 years old, which is lower than the national median age of 41.6 years old. In 2021, there were 47,040 private occupied dwellings in Waterloo, which represents an increase of 16.5% from 2016. In 2021, there were 47,040 households in Waterloo resulting in a homeownership rate of 61.3%. In 2020, the median after-tax income of households in Waterloo was $82,000, an increase of 5.1% from $78,000 in 2015. In 2021, 54.5% of people aged 25 to 64 in Waterloo had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 36.8% in Ontario and 32.9% in Canada.

Our Waterloo Office

75 King Street South, Unit 50
Waterloo, ON, N2J 1P2, Canada

Office: (519) 804-7200
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