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Visit Kitchener

The city of Kitchener is found in Southern Ontario.  It is commonly referred to jointly with Waterloo (Kitchener-Waterloo).  However, each city is actually it’s own municipality.  Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge together are known as the “Tri-Cities”.

Kitchener is the largest of the “Tri-Cities” with a population of approx. 204 000.  Although Kitchener is rarely mentioned without Waterloo, it can definitely hold it’s own when it comes to attractions.  Here are 3 of the best:

1. Oktoberfest: At the turn of the last century Kitchener was known as Berlin.  It was not  just a clever name, Kitchener is home to one of Canada’s largest German populations.  The German population brought a lot of culture with them – from music to food.  Maybe the most treasured gift they brought though was Oktoberfest.

Kitchener’s Oktoberfest is billed as Canada’s Greatest Bavarian Festival.  It is actually the largest Bavarian festival held outside of Germany.  Although the beer fueled celebrations are the biggest draw for the event, their are other more laid back family activities as well.  One of the most popular is the Oktoberfest Thanksgiving parade, which receives national TV coverage.

2. The Aud Skatepark: The Aud itself is an attraction – the 50+ year old auditorium has played host to some of the biggest acts that have performed in Southern Ontario. It is also home to a successful OHL franchise – The Kitchener Rangers.  It isn’t what goes on inside that is the most interesting though, it is what is happening outside the Aud that might catch your attention.

Skateboarding has become a pretty mainstream activity, and cities across our country have been trying to accommodate the past time.  Few have done it as well as Kitchener – the Aud Skatepark is a popular destination for the city’s youth.  It should be too, the smooth concrete area is an extreme sports delight.  It is a well kept area that offers BMX riders, skateboarders and inline skaters a safe and fun time…for free!  

3. Centre In The Square: Maybe extreme sports aren’t your thing.  Maybe you are more interested in the theatre or classical music.  Kitchener has you covered there as well.  The Centre in The Square is an acoustical and architectural jewel that was built to showcase the best in Kitchener culture.

The main draw in the square is the Raffi Armenian Theatre, well known for it’s great acoustics.  It is host to a number of wonderful acts throughout the year.  The 2,047 seat venue also offers one of the largest stages in North America.  The Centre in The Square area boasts art studios and galleries as well.  Over 190 000 people a year attend a variety of events – symphony, dance, musical and corporate events included.

Of late Kitchener has been cast in the shadow of little brother Waterloo.  While Waterloo has benefited from it’s educational and technology boom, Kitchener’s more blue-collar populace has been hit hard in the current economic times.  Regardless of that though, Kitchener is dedicated to reinvigorating it’s downtown core and recreating itself through the hard work it is so known for.  If the above attractions are any indicator, they are well on their way.

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