OWN IT 2018


photo of young girls running through the Kitchener Public Library  

As thriving businesses move downtown, so do their employees. Catering to this new population, an influx of programs and events have flourished. Here's a list of top picks for families no matter their make-up.



Kitchener Public Library's (KPL) newly renovated main branch is a perfect first stop. It's bright and airy, and has a large section where kids can be kids, snacks can be eaten and the books are endless. Free programs range from newborn to toddler, and when class is over, find a seat in one of the comfortable chairs by the front windows to chat with a friend and grab a treat from Hacienda Coffee.



Continue with "One is Fun" programming at KPL or stop by Bethany Evangelical Church every Wednesday morning for "Toddler Time." No tot would want to miss Thursday and Friday mornings at Kitchener's Farmer's Market: it makes for a fantastic Kitchener tradition. 


For more indoor activity, the padded toddler room at THEMUSEUM is the best place for babies to take their first step, and the permanent collection stays fun and engaging as your children grow. Most parents find the annual pass is the best value for families with young kids.


School-age children

Start looking for activities that engage your family's minds and their energy. Victoria Park has a newly-renovated playground, with equipment that is interesting for kids of all ages. In the summer, rent a canoe, have lunch on The Boathouse's patio, visit the splash pad, or watch the hot air balloons slowly take off at dusk. 


A short walk away, Schneider Haus has year-round learning and activities, and always finds unique ways to celebrate the holidays. Schneider Haus is part of the Region's museum membership: great value for local families. 


The festivals abound downtown, from the Multicultural Festival to Kidspark to the ever-expanding neighbourhood porch parties. From May to October, the fun, free outdoor festivals are too plentiful to list.


As the weather gets colder, outdoor fun is still prevalent downtown. Victoria Park boasts several small toboggan hills and a skating rink at the foot of the clock tower. 



There is no shortage of spaces for teenagers to discover in Downtown Kitchener. Comic book shops, board game cafes, plus vintage video game and record stores are abundant in the core. Growing film buffs will be in awe of the Apollo Cinema's retro movies or current box office fare (and you'll be in awe of the local brew you can enjoy in your seat). Young makers can flourish back at KPL among the coding courses, homework help programs, VR machine or 3D printers.


It's no surprise that families are attracted to the urban landscapes, historic homes and walkable destinations of Downtown Kitchener. Residents feel connected to their community and like that they can grow from the diversity of people. 


With dozens of outdoor and indoor activities to entertain kids and parents all year round, Downtown Kitchener is waiting to be explored.


Laura McBride  |  @centralfairies lauramcbride.yolasite.com

Photography: Laura McBride  +  Dean Landry Al Doerksen




young boy going down a snow hill in his snow suit



On stage with Alysha Brilla at the 2017 Multicultural Festival



young kids watching a puppet show in Victoria Park



young boy enjoying an interactive display at THE MUSEUM