Waterloo Region

The Regional Municipality of Waterloo consists of four townships and three cities and is found in Southern Ontario. The area enjoys considerable growth mainly because of the presence of major tech companies


The Municipality at a Glance

Waterloo consists of the townships of Woolwich, North Dumfries, Wilmot, and Wellesley and the cities of Cambridge, Waterloo, and Kitchener. As of 2016, the total population stands at 535,154 and is expected to increase to 729,000 by the end of the next decade. Population growth is mainly attributed to the fact that the region is a tech hub attracting many skilled professionals.

Key Sectors

The main economic sectors in the region are digital media and high tech, food processing, and automotive. Other sectors are aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Over 1,570 tech businesses operate in the area, manufacturing e-learning, satellite, and software solutions. Major ICT companies include Honeywell Aerospace, D2L, OpenText, and BlackBerry. Food processing is also a major sector, with companies specializing in beverage, bakery, confectionary, snack food, and animal and crop processing and manufacturing. Major companies that operate here are Grand River Foods, Elmira Pet Foods, and Weston Bakeries.

Many companies choose to move their operations to Waterloo because of the significantly lower corporate taxes compared to the U.S. and lower labor costs compared to countries such as Japan, Germany, Italy, France, the UK, and the U.S. Leasing and purchasing real estate also costs less. Housing is affordable, with prices 50 percent lower than in the Greater Toronto Area and 30 percent lower than Ontario’s average. A detached home in Waterloo and Kitchener costs around $586,000.

Services

Services offered in the region include waste management, emergency medical services, public transit, recycling, etc. Three healthcare establishments provide medical care – the Cambridge Memorial Hospital, St. Mary’s General Hospital, and Grand River Hospital. Long-term care facilities are also available. The municipality is served by road infrastructure and a well-developed public transportation network. The average commute time is just 16 minutes. The region also offers a variety of recreational activities, including events, sports, and culture and arts. In addition to several conservation areas, there are many parks for outdoor recreation and relaxation.

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University of Waterloo

Founded in 1959, the University of Waterloo is a public institution of higher learning with a student population of over 36,670. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs that are open to domestic and international students.


Satellite Campuses and Affiliated Colleges

The three satellite campuses are Cambridge (architecture), Kitchener (pharmacy), and Stratford (interaction design and business). There are also four affiliated institutions, among which the Renison University College and Conrad Grebel University College.

Faculties

Waterloo is the home to 6 faculties, including Mathematics, Engineering, Arts, and Applied Health Sciences. The Engineering School offers undergraduate and graduate degrees for BASc, MASc, MArch, MEng, MBET, and PhD. Prospective students can choose from a number of focus areas, including mechanical, geological, environmental, electrical, and computer engineering. The Faculty of Arts offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Religious Studies, Philosophy, Fine Arts, Classical Studies, etc. Classical Studies programs offer students the opportunity to explore themes in areas such as ancient law, medieval society, magic and astrology, and complex cultures. The Department of Political Science has programs with a focus on global and Canadian politics, administration and public policy, and business. Students learn more about global governance, international security, and cultural politics.

Waterloo also offers degree programs in public health, kinesiology, and health studies. Students enrolled in the Health Studies program can choose from different focus areas, including health research, gerontology, and pre-clinical specialization. The Faculty of Environment welcomes students committed to shaping a sustainable world. They can choose from a number of professional development and undergraduate programs, including Social and Ecological Sustainability, International Development, and Global Governance.

Fees vary depending on the program of choice and are charged on a per-course basis. First-year students in Arts degree programs, for example, pay $3,263.88 per term.

Student Life and Organizations

There are two unions, the Graduate Student Association and Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association. Students can also join different varsity teams such as figure skating, track and field, swimming, and Canadian football. They are offered access to a variety of sports facilities, including squash rooms, beach volleyball courts, and gymnasiums. To support students, the university also operates different centres and offices such as the Centre for Extended Learning and Centre for Academic Policy Support. Counseling and creative services are also available. Students are offered the chance to participate in seminars with a focus on habit change, resiliency cultivation, emotional triggers, and other topics.

Research

The University of Waterloo also operates a number of institutes and research centres, among which the Institute for Quantum Computing and Centre for Applied Cryptographic Research. The Artificial Intelligence Institute was founded in 2018, with faculties from different areas joining the interdisciplinary team, including computer science, mathematics, engineering, and arts. Some of the research areas are human-machine interaction, decision making and optimization, and statistical and machine learning. Academics are involved in research with a focus on evolutionary deep intelligence, automotive autonomy, living architecture systems, and other areas.