Waterloo is a city in Southern Ontario. Located in the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, in the Region of Waterloo. It is the smallest of three towns 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 “Twin Cities.” A diverse population lives in the area, including students and other foreign/temporary residents and by the end of 2016, was of 134,600 people. It is a dynamic and vibrant urban municipality having a strong cultural and economic base.
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Just like many other areas in the region, Waterloo was settled by people coming from Pennsylvania, usually Mennonites and United Empire Loyalists. In 1806 a Mennonite named Abraham Erb purchased 363 hectares (896 acres) of land from the German Tract Co. and quickly erected a sawmill in 1816 on Beaver Creek, which is now Laurel Creek. Mister Erb’s mill attracted wheat growers and farmers from miles around who would bring their produce to be ground into flour at his mill. This business would launch Waterloo as a significant commercial and social center. The place was named by Erb as Waterloo after the famous battlefield in Belgium. Waterloo was officially incorporated into a village in 1857, a town in 1876 and a city in 1948.
The region is the 10th most populous Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in Canada, with 583,500 residents in 2016. The Province’s Growth Plan projects that Waterloo Region’s population will reach 742,000 by 2031, which makes it one of the fastest growing regions in Ontario. Waterloo Region’s population is younger on average, 39.0 years of age, than the Ontario average, and most other comparable municipalities. This lower average age is due in part to large numbers of students, as well as young families attracted to a low cost of living and high quality of life.
Incomes in Waterloo Region consistently rank among the highest in Ontario. Poverty rates are also low in comparison to other communities, as well as Ontario and Canadian averages.
In the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge CMA data, 22.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as being or having been an immigrant. In the Waterloo Region data, 22.6 percent of people describe themselves as an immigrant. Within Waterloo Region itself, the largest proportion of immigrants live in the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, representing about four percent of residents in those communities, with over three percent arriving since 2011 in Kitchener and Waterloo, with 1.5 percent of immigrants to Cambridge coming in the past six years.
The school system seems to be in good shape in the Waterloo area as The Fraser Institute’s annual School Report Card consistently shows over the years that most schools in Waterloo Region are scoring above average. The figures for the years 2014 to 2016 are encouraging for parents as they show permanent good quality regarding the performance of many schools in the area.
The highest ranking score in Waterloo Region elementary schools was Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Waterloo, with a rating of 8.7. It was followed by four schools with scores of 8.0: Lackner Woods Public School in Kitchener, Brigadoon Public School, Waterloo’s French elementary school, L’Harmonié and Waterloo’s French Catholic school, Mère-Élisabeth-Bruyère. Several schools in Kitchener and Waterloo, for the year 2014, scored between 7.0 and 7.9. Locally, Waterloo’s Laurelwood Public School finished with top honors with a score of 8.8 out of 10 in 2016, enough to earn the position of 73 overall out of 2,700 Ontario schools. Data released for the year of 2017 show similar results with schools like Elmira Secondary School No 57 out of 740 in Ontario.
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