Kitchener may be part of a three-city region known as the Tri-Cities, but it has a unique identity all its own. Historically a manufacturing city,
Kitchener has diversified its economy in recent years and has some of Canada’s lowest unemployment and crime rates.
If you are ready to move to this safe and adaptable city, this guide can give you more details.
Kitchener has a typical humid continental climate and experiences all four seasons with warm summers and cold winters. The average summer high is 26 degrees Celsius while the winter’s lows are around -10.
Kitchener experiences a fair amount of precipitation including snow during the winter months, but it is not close enough to the ocean or the Great Lakes to experience any lake-effect or marine weather patterns.
Kitchener is a low-crime city that shares a lot of its identity and even a few of its neighbourhoods with the adjacent Waterloo. There are 29 official neighbourhood associations within the city and some of them bleed over the city border into Waterloo.
Although Kitchener does have a downtown area, many of its neighbourhoods are quite suburban. For example, Doon is a Kitchener neighbourhood notable for drawing wealthy residents outside of the city centre. If you want to live in a more central location, Victoria Park and the Civic District are urban neighbourhoods with good reputations.
No matter where you choose to live in Kitchener, crime should not be a major concern. Kitchener-Waterloo consistently ranks among the safest places to live in Canada.
Registering Your Car in Kitchener
If you are planning to move to Kitchener from outside of Southern Ontario, you will need to register your car with the province after your arrival. Requirements usually include proof of ownership and insurance, identification and a passed inspection. For more specific vehicle registration information, head to Service Ontario
Grand River Transit’s bus service serves as Kitchener’s primary means of public transportation. Some of its routes extend to Waterloo and Cambridge, the other two cities in the Tri-City region.
A proposed light-rail system that will connect the downtown areas of all three cities, called Ion Rapid Transit, should greatly expedite travel within the Tri-Cities when complete (scheduled for 2017).
If you need to travel out of the Waterloo-Kitchener region, Via Rail and Go Transit provide train and bus transportation to other major cities in Ontario. Kitchener is home to the Region of Waterloo International Airport, but since it has limited service from major carriers, many travellers fly in and out of the area from Toronto or Hamilton.
Kitchener has many primary, secondary and post-secondary schools that educate its populace. The Waterloo Regional School Board is the city’s most prominent board of education.
Notable Kitchener post-secondary institutions include:
- Conestoga College: This Doon institution is one of the most prestigious colleges in the province.
- University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy: The UW School of Pharmacy opened in downtown Kitchener in 2008.
- Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work of Wilfrid Laurier University: This satellite of another Waterloo university is located in Kitchener.
Manufacturing has historically fueled Kitchener’s economy, but times have changed, and so has the city. Factory work now accounts for one fifth of the city’s industry, with digital media, health science and education sectors gaining prominence.
The fate of the Lang Tannery building is a prime example of this shift in Kitchener’s economy. The building was formerly an industrial tannery, but is now an office building for a variety of tech and digital media companies, including Google.
Kitchener’s economy is healthy--as of March of 2015, the unemployment rate is just 5.5 percent, a full percent lower than the national average.
Kitchener’s Cost of Living
Kitchener’s cost of living is relatively low. The average prices for necessities like food, shelter and utilities is equal to or lower than most similarly sized Canadian cities.
Rent is a little bit higher than average in the city’s core, but the prices drop substantially farther from the urban centre. On average, rent prices are lower in Kitchener than the neighbouring Waterloo.
Kitchener Culture and Contemporary Life
Kitchener’s biggest festival is its Waterloo-Kitchener Oktoberfest, which is the biggest Oktoberfest outside of Germany. This is appropriate because Kitchener has many German immigrants. The fall event lasts nine days and coincides with Canada’s Thanksgiving. It culminates in a nationally televised parade.
Kitchener also hosts the following seasonal festivals:
- The Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Festival: This two-day summer event showcases many cultures that inhabit Canada and draws 50,000 visitors each year.
- The Kitchener Blues Festival: Held in downtown Kitchener every August, this celebration of blues music usually has over 90 performances and 150,000 attendees.
- Kidspark: An annual free carnival for children held in Victoria Park.
If you can't attend a seasonal event, Kitchener has several attractions that are available year-round. Victoria Park is home to many of the aforementioned festivals, is always open to the public, and prominently displays a bronze statue of Queen Victoria.
Additionally, Kitchener features several natural parks with extensive trails sheltered by vegetation and the Grand River.
For art lovers, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery and the Homer Watson House & Gallery have a wide variety of pieces and exhibits to discover. Kitchener is also home to the awkwardly named THEMUSEUM, which is a more interactive venue for children.
Kitchener Moving Resources
Have you decided to move to Kitchener? Topmoving.ca has a database of companies in the Kitchener area that can provide you with the moving services you need. Always get at least three different quotes from multiple companies to ensure that you get the best price for your unique needs.
Kitchener Relocation Tips
- If you’re interested in living in the Waterloo-Kitchener area, renting in Kitchener is usually cheaper.
- There is a pretty big difference between the rent prices inside and outside of Kitchener’s city centre, so budget accordingly when looking for a home.
- Kitchener fully experiences winter and summer, so pack your full wardrobe if you plan on staying all year.
- If you are flying into the area, you may have to come in through Hamilton or Toronto because Kitchener’s airport does not have a lot of service from major carriers.