Why Waterloo Region Makes the Perfect Day Trip From Toronto

Between its natural beauty, rich history and delicious food, this picturesque slice of southwestern Ontario has something for everyone.

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Best things to do in Waterloo Region - St Jacobs Farmers' Market
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The Best Things to Do in Waterloo Region

St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market

Canada’s largest year-round farmers’ market, the St. Jacobs Farmer’s Market hosts hundreds of vendors from across Ontario. Browse the fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts and clothing every Thursday and Saturday year-round, and on Tuesdays from June to August.

Devastated by a fire in 2013 that reduced the main building to charred timbers, the owners rebuilt and the market continues to go strong.

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Best things to do in Waterloo Region - West Montrose Covered Bridge
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The West Montrose Covered Bridge

Just 20 minutes outside the City of Waterloo, the covered bridge of West Montrose (also called the Kissing Bridge) is one of the most iconic landmarks in Waterloo Region and a popular destination for wedding photos.

Built in 1881 by John and Benjamin Bear for about $3,200, the red bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in Ontario from the 1800s, and the eighth-oldest covered bridge in the country.

Explore more of Canada’s prettiest covered bridges.
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Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory
Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

Visit a tropical rainforest without even leaving the city. With nearly 50 varieties of butterflies and about a dozen species of birds flying freely overhead, the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory is a humid 24-28 degrees Celsius year-round. Between the waterfall, lush foliage, and winged wonders, it’s one of the best things to do in Waterloo Region.

Discover more hidden gems in Ontario.

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Fashion History Museum, Cambridge
Fashion History Museum

The Fashion History Museum

Explore the history of clothing and accessories from the 1660s to the present at Cambridge’s Fashion History Museum. Founded in 2004, the museum’s board of governors and advisory committee is made up of specialists from a diverse range of fields, from education and conservation to fashion design. The museum also contains a comprehensive library and archive of fashion-related publications and documents.

Check out 20 mind-blowing artifacts you’ll find in Canadian museums.

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Sunset at the Rare Charitable Research Reserve, Cambridge, Ontario
Rare Charitable Research Reserve

Rare Charitable Research Reserve

Want to get lost? Try hiking the trails set on the 900-acre Rare Charitable Research Reserve just outside the city of Cambridge at the meeting point of the Grand and Speed Rivers. It’s an important habitat of profound biodiversity, with some trees more than 250 years old, and other vegetation of regional—and even international—significance.

Here are more great hikes across Canada.

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Abe Erb Brewing Company, Waterloo
Abe Erb Brewing Company

The Abe Erb Brewing Company in Waterloo

Why just sip craft beer when you can enjoy a pint while watching the brew master go about his work? Located in the heart of the City of Waterloo, the Abe Erb Brewing Company is named after Abe Erb, widely recognized as the founder of the city (who just happened to have the word “beer” in his name). The barn board, steel and glass building is home to some of the best food in the city. Don’t forget to look up while you dine: The brewers are at work above you, perfecting the beer that’s served from their own taps.

For more culinary adventures, follow the nearby Oxford County Cheese Trail.

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CTRL-V virtual reality arcade, Waterloo Region
CTRL-V Virtual Reality Arcade

CTRL-V virtual reality arcade in Waterloo

Waterloo Region has always had a reputation as a major tech hub, so it’s appropriate that one of its major draws for day trippers is a virtual reality arcade.

The first of its kind in Canada, the CTRL-V arcade opened in 2017 and uses the most immersive technology available to transport gamers into another world. Whether you’re defending your castle or just standing atop a mountain and enjoying the scenery, you’ll soon forget you’re in the heart of the city.

Now that you know the best things to do in Waterloo Region, check out these other inspired day trips from Toronto.

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