By Sarah-Louis Ruder
On the case of Waterloo Wonders
Studying at the University of Waterloo is an exciting opportunity to connect with a diverse and engaging academic community, but you are also a part of greater Kitchener-Waterloo. With your student bus pass, you can venture out into KW in all directions to find places to explore. When you aren’t studying or spending time on campus with your friends, try some of these spots to relax and unwind.
The St. Jacob’s Market is Canada’s largest farmer’s market. Here, you can find a variety of fresh produce, breads, pastries, crafts, warm lunches, and much more from the hundreds of vendors at the market. If that isn’t enough, we are lucky to also be near the Kitchener Market. Though smaller than St. Jacobs, there is no shortage of delicious food and other mementos. At the Kitchener Market, you can find some of the cheapest produce from near or far. Beyond the vibrant urban centre, the Waterloo Region is home to many farmers. You can buy local food from vendors from the region’s two large markets.
In addition to their environmental importance, urban parks offer space for community building and recreation. There is a lot of greenspace across Kitchener-Waterloo, including Waterloo Park just South of UW campus. In its 111 acres, you can find a place to read a book, toss a frisbee, have a picnic, or just get away from the city in its winding paths. The park has gazebos, a baseball diamond, a petting zoo, playgrounds, and a skatepark.
If you are an outdoor enthusiast, try the Laurel Trail and the Iron Horse Trail near campus. Laurel Creek Conservation Area and Snyder’s Flats have beautiful winding trails to explore and outdoor space for you to hang out with friends or take in the breath of fresh air.
Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery
If you are looking for a place to wander or take your next hipster Insta post, this is the place for you. This public art gallery is the only one of its kind in Canada. Outside of its seasonal exhibits of ceramic, glass, enamel and stained glass works of art, there is also a phenomenal gift shop to explore. Best of all, the admission is free.
For Coffee Consumers
Finding the right coffee shop for you is a rite of passage for undergraduate students. In Uptown Waterloo, Settlement Co. and Princess Café are open late for your evening studies. Seven Shores has a wide selection of baked goods and treats to accompany your morning latte. If you are looking to go a little further, Kitchener is bursting with talented baristas at Berlin Bicycle Café, Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters, Show & Tell Coffee, and many others to discover. You don’t have to go far to find good coffee.
Princess Twin Cinemas
This quaint independent movie theatre is a great place to plan an outing or study break. Princess Twin hosts both indie films and blockbusters alike for several weeks. As owner-operated and owner-programmed cinema, this is also an opportunity to support a local business and alternative artists. To top it off, the theatre is connected to Princess Café, another hip spot to hang out.
Shopping and Thrifting
You don’t need to go to Toronto to catch up with the trends. You can find all of your familiar brands across the city. There is a lot to choose from at Conestoga Mall and Fairview Mall. There are many smaller boutiques like Belmont Village in Kitchener, and King St in Downtown Kitchener.
Vintage and Second Hand
If you are looking to save some money, reduce waste, or find something unique, you might also want to check out the many thrift shops and consignment boutiques in KW. Luster & Oak is a vintage consignment store with clothing for all genders and other unique finds. It’s worthwhile to check it out for the aesthetic alone. Meow! is an elegant boutique run by UW fine arts graduates. You can find clothing, purses, jewelry, and the like from the 1930’s to more recently pre-loved items. Twice is Nice is a high-quality consignment store with daily arrivals. Some lesser known, but still trusty spots are the White Tiger, Second Hand World, The Green Door, and Thrift on Kent.
More of a book worm? Give yourself an afternoon to get lost in the vast collection of used books at Old Goat Books. Also, consider supporting Wordsworth Books, your local independent bookstore, before adding the used or new book to your cart on Amazon.