If you live in Kitchener-Waterloo you may have seen some disheartening posts from citiesjournal.com (defunct) that placed Kitchener-Waterloo on a list of Top 15 Cities and Towns To Move Away From In Canada and Immigroup naming Kitchener-Waterloo #4 on a list of Top 10 Worst Places to Move to in Canada. Both posts implied that Kitchener-Waterloo is unwelcoming to newcomers and immigrants.
Granted, every city has its things to work on. However, having said that, there are a lot of great things happening in the Waterloo Region that celebrates our ethnic diversity and makes it a great place to move to if you’re a newcomer to Canada:
#1 – Waterloo Region is Top 5 in Canada for ethnic diversity
Waterloo Region has the fifth-highest per capita immigrant population of all Canadian urban areas, and by 2031 over one-third of Kitchener-Waterloo’s population will be immigrants.
These stats are significant because, in all of Canada, the foreign-born population makes up only 20% of the national population. In comparison to the national statistics, Waterloo Region over indexes when it comes to ethnic diversity.
#2 – Waterloo Region has programs to help newcomers feel welcome
Waterloo Region has many immigrant settlement programs that serve over 10,000 newcomers each year. Jointly funded by the federal government, United Way K-W and the YMCA K-W, these programs help newcomers with job search services, mentoring programs and language classes among a multitude of other services.
#3 – Waterloo Region celebrates other cultures
For over 40 years the Waterloo Region has hosted the annual Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Festival which draws thousands of people and features ethnic foods, dance, and crafts.
#4 – Waterloo Region has culturally diverse universities and colleges
Waterloo Region is home to two of Canada’s top universities and a top-ranked college that attracts top talent from around the world each year. For example, 1 in every 10 undergrad students at the University of Waterloo is an international student and 1 in 3 graduate students is an international student, making it a very culturally diverse campus.
Students have indicated the University of Waterloo has many campus clubs that celebrate the campus’s unique ethnic diversity. “I study at the University of Waterloo and there are many cultural clubs and groups on campus organized by ethnic groups and promoted for their expression of culture. It’s nice to see passionate people try to bring their cultural identity to those who are not familiar with it”, says Frank Leng, a University of Waterloo student.
#5 – Waterloo Region’s culture of innovation creates diversity
Waterloo was named the Top Intelligent Community in 2007 and is home to over 1000 technology companies, which includes world-renowned companies such as Google and Open Text. These companies bring in top talent from around the world to make Waterloo Region their home.
Also, organizations like The Perimeter Institute, a major centre for theoretical physics research, attracts scientists from around the world.
What do you think?
Is Kitchener-Waterloo a welcoming community to all people? Are there things you love about the Kitchener-Waterloo community and make it a great place to live? Please tweet using the hashtag #ILoveKW or comment in the comment section below.