The city of Waterloo is the smallest of the three cities in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo in Southwestern Ontario. The 2006 census put Waterloo's permanent population at 99,000 residents, but due to Waterloo's two major universities, the overall population including temporary residents and student swells to over 114,000 during the school semesters.
The larger metro area including Kitchener and Cambridge has a population of over 477,000. Waterloo borders the larger city of Kitchener to the south, and the sister cities are colloquially referred to as "Kitchener-Waterloo"; though each city has its own local municipal government, many services are shared and managed jointly by the regional governing body including police, medical and transit services.
The city of Waterloo is known throughout Ontario for being a hub of education and innovation, and is the home of major post secondary institutions including the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University. The technology and science sectors have thrived and flourished, and major organizations such as Research in Motion, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Oracle, Google, the Institute for Quantum Computing, and Intel have offices or research and development centres within the city.
Waterloo has over 1,700 hectars of parkland and 150 kilometres of multi-use trails throughout the city and along the Grand River. Iron Horse Trail runs 5.5 kilometres, from Waterloo Park in Uptown Waterloo to Victoria Park in Downtown Kitchener, and is one of the most popular trail systems used by both Kitchener and Waterloo residents.
Waterloo Park can be found in Uptown, and its 111 acre mix of natural environment and historic buildings make it a great place to explore, learn, and enjoy and active lifestyle in the heart of the city. Historic landmarks in Waterloo Park include a replica of Abraham Erb's Grist Mill, Eby Farm, Waterloo first school house, and the award winning Victoria Gardens. This central park is also the location for many of the festivals and special events held annually in Waterloo, including the Christmas light spectacular Wonders of Winter.
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