Waterloo, Ontario: a city of about 90,000 people all on its own, it is face to face and practically the same town as Kitchener, Ontario. Kitchener has another 130,000 people, and runs smack dab into the city of Cambridge. Cambridge has another 100,000 people. Together, these make up the Regional Municipality of Waterloo. There have been attempts to merge the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo into some K/W entitiy (which it already is, really), but so far these have failed.
Waterloo has two universities, both of which are well known in their areas: the University of Waterloo (home to The Death Path, Waterloo, Ontario) is the larger one, with approximately 20,000 students. Wilfrid Laurier University, affectionately (or not) called the High School Down the Street by UW students, has far fewer students, but an excellent Business program, as
well as far better music programs.
The Paradox of King and Weber
Waterloo is (or should be) world reknowned for the idiocy of its main streets. There are arguably three or four MAIN main roads in Waterloo (King St, Weber St, University Ave, Columbia St), maybe one or two more, but undoubtedly, King and Weber are the two main ones. They are one block apart and run parallel to one another. As anyone who knows anything about parallel lines understands, these mathematical devices do not cross. Parallel is parallel, yes? Well, in Waterloo, the home to an amazing faculty of Math, parallel lines DO cross! Don't tell someone to meet you "at King and Weber", because they'll be entirely confused. You see, King and Weber do not cross only once. Not just twice, even. No, they cross an amazing and outstanding THREE TIMES. Yes, three times. Once out the edge of town just past the St Jacob's Farmers Market, once at the Starbucks and Chapters near Canadian Tire and East Side Mario's, and once off in the distance down either road quite a way off.
The Uptown/Downtown thingy
Don't tell someone to go to "downtown Waterloo". There isn't one. You see, given that Kitchener and Waterloo are so close together (the two cores are indistinguishable), residents have to use different ways to differentiate between the two towns. So, the core of Kitchener is referred to as "downtown Kitchener", while the Waterloo core is referred to as "uptown Waterloo". Whether this has something to do with geography (altitude? latitude?) or some Waterloo supremist scheme I don't know. The truth of the facts, though, is
irrefutable unassailable (why do I try hard words) self-evident.
Waterloo is big enough to have pretty much all the amenities required for normal human life, close enough to other centers like Toronto that things unavailable in Waterloo can still be found, while remaining small enough that the university students make up a quarter of the population. There are parks, like RIM Park, and conservation areas like Laurel Creek, a mall, Conestoga Mall, and a bajillion high-tech companies, like
PixStream, Research in Motion, Sybase, Open Text, Waterloo Maple, and others. All together, for a geek, it's a pretty good place to live - that's because geeks don't care that Waterloo is UGLY.
Other Waterloo Nodes
Mel's Diner - a yummy yummy (cheap cheap) All Day Breakfast joint.
Zehrs - an Ontario grocery store chain... I think it's based in Waterloo.
Village I - The first on-campus residence at UW, it is very confusing to navigate.
KW Area, Ontario - another local node.