Waterloo Region: Where opportunities take root and thrive

Known globally as Canada’s Technology Triangle, Waterloo Region’s distinguishing strength is its robust business ecosystem that boasts diversity, innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurialism

Ranked a Top 5 small “North American City of the Future,” by fDi Intelligence magazine and a Top 5 “Best place to do business in Canada” by Canadian Business Magazine, Waterloo Region can be seen as a study in contrasts, offering big-city amenities in a smaller comfortable setting on a livable scale. Its international recognition as “Canada’s Technology Triangle” reflects the innovative mindset that companies and research and educational institutions bring to the community. 

With a population of 543,700, Waterloo Region is composed of the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo and the townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich. Growth is projected to push the population to 729,000 by 2031. Strategically located astride the 401, Canada’s busiest highway, and not far from Toronto – Canada’s largest city, Waterloo Region is a two hour drive from US border crossings into Detroit and Buffalo. 

A significant economic engine for both Ontario and Canada, the area is home to world-leading companies such as Research In Motion (BlackBerry), OpenText and Google. Waterloo Region has a track record for reinventing itself that stretches back 150 years. Once predominantly a manufacturing hub, this community is now Canada’s fastest-growing knowledge economy region. With three internationally recognized post-secondary institutions, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College plus 150 think tanks and research institutions such as the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, the area offers an abundance of talent and access to research and development. 

Why Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region offers a unique economy diverse in industry, population, and culture.

 

  • Innovative through economic evolution
  • Collaborative via networking groups and business support groups 
  • Entrepreneurial through “what you discover belongs to you’” IP research policies
  • Industry-academic partnerships and resources for start-ups. 

 

Patents granted per capita in the Waterloo Region are approximately 4.3 times higher than the Canadian average and annual exports from the region total $11.4 billion. The projected employment growth rate is 4.5% for 2011. 

Local companies include Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. – whose precision projectors mesmerized crowds at the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the Beijing Olympics, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. is the only plant to produce the Lexus outside of Japan, and high-end suitcase manufacturer Rimowa North America Inc.

Waterloo Region companies also play a role in exploring what lies beyond… Teledyne DALSA Inc. developed the camera used on the MARS rover; Ontario Drive & Gear Ltd. works with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA; and COM DEV International Inc. manufactures components for 80% of the satellites in space. 

Business advantage

Waterloo Region boasts exceptional access to acclaimed post-secondary education institutions and their talent, including the University of Waterloo, which is consistently ranked as the nation’s most innovative university, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. In total, the area hosts 74,000 post-secondary students annually. 15,000 of these are co-operative education students working with local industry. 

The success of the Region has created a deep pool of talent and a continual inflow of educated and ambitious people. The labour resource is 272,000 people within the Waterloo Region, and 2.7 million people within a 45 minute drive.

Collaborative and facilitative groups like Canada’s Technology Triangle, Communitech, Chambers of Commerce, Waterloo Manufacturing Innovation Network, Regional and Municipal Governments and Prosperity Council offer resources and opportunities to help strengthen ideas and support economic growth.

“Why is Waterloo Region the best place to invest in Canada? Talented people! Our region is a magnet for talent.” - David Johnston, Governor General of Canada

Future plans

Plans for a light rail system between Waterloo and Kitchener have been approved while buses will provide links to Cambridge. The $818 million expansion will be the region’s largest-ever public works project and will fuel neighbourhood redevelopment, boost ridership and reduce road expansion as the population swells. Other projects include a $66 million expansion of the Kitchener Public Library. Ontario awarded $72 million to Wilfrid Laurier University to help fund construction of a global innovation exchange building for students in business, mathematics, and economics. The University of Waterloo will receive funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for state-of-the-art research leading to more effective health services and economic development in health-related areas.

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