Waterloo, Ontario, Canada is the smallest of the three cities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, and is adjacent to the larger city of Kitchener.
Kitchener and Waterloo are often jointly referred to as Kitchener-Waterloo (K-W), or the twin cities, although they have separate municipal governments. There have been several attempts to amalgamate the two cities (sometimes with the city of Cambridge as well), but none has been successful.
The City is responsible for fire protection, libraries, parks and recreation and secondary streets, Many municipal services are provided through the Regional Municipality of Waterloo (often referred to as Waterloo Region or the Region of Waterloo), which consists of the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge, and the townships of Woolwich, Wilmot, Wellesley, and North Dumfries. Regional responsibilities include social welfare, community health, and policing through the Waterloo Regional Police Service.
Past and present city councils have been committed to providing for the explosive population growth that is coming with the local economic boom. Rapidly developing subdivisions are often described by their critics as urban sprawl that threatens environmentally sensitive areas and valuable agricultural land.
Waterloo's city centre is located near the intersection of King and Erb streets. Since 1961, the centrepiece had been the Waterloo Town Square shopping centre, which is (as of 2006) undergoing a thorough renovation. Much of the mall has been torn down and is being replaced by buildings that emphasize street-facing storefronts.
Residents refer to the Waterloo city centre as "uptown" (often capitalized), while "downtown" is reserved for the Kitchener city centre.
Waterloo has a service-oriented economy with healthy insurance and high-tech sectors as well as two major universities. The city's largest employers are Sun Life Financial/Clarica, University of Waterloo, Manulife Financial, Research In Motion, and Wilfrid Laurier University.
The city is part of Canada's Technology Triangle (CTT), a joint economic development initiative of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and the Region of Waterloo that markets the region internationally. Despite its name, CTT does not focus exclusively on promoting technology industries, but on all aspects of economic development.
Waterloo has a strong technology sector with hundreds of high-tech firms. The dominant technology company in the city is Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, which has its headquarters in the city and owns several office buildings near the University of Waterloo main campus.
Public transport throughout Waterloo Region is provided by Grand River Transit, created by a merger of Kitchener Transit (which served Waterloo) and Cambridge Transit in January 2000. GRT operates a number of bus routes in Waterloo, with many running into Kitchener. In September 2005 an express bus route called iXpress was added that runs from downtown Cambridge through Kitchener to north Waterloo. Regional council has supported the construction of a light rail system to connect Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge. As of 2006, a study is underway to recommend a form of rapid transit, with monorails, rapid buses, subways and light rail transit all under consideration.
Waterloo no longer has any regularly-scheduled passenger rail service. VIA Rail trains between Sarnia and Toronto stop at the nearby Kitchener railway station southeast of uptown Waterloo at the corner of Victoria Street and Weber Street. The station is accessible by local buses via Kitchener's downtown Charles Street transport centre.