University Downs Area in Waterloo
Hello, and welcome to the WRX Property Group blog. Today, we’ll continue our journey through the diverse neighbourhoods of Kitchener-Waterloo – it is a journey of discovery and thrills, yes, but it is also a journey of contemplative edification. Where shall we cast our scrutinous gaze today?
Why, it’s University Downs, the pride of eastern Waterloo.
The primary residential area of University Downs is in the east of Waterloo, with its boundaries roughly defined by University Avenue in the north, Woolwich Street in the east, Bridle Trail in the south, and Bridge Street in the west.
However, affiliated regions and residential streets stretch northward, between the eastern side of University Avenue and the Grand River, up to RIM Park where the Eastbridge and Country Squire neighbourhoods begin. Many University Downs properties can be found on Woolwich Street, which runs alongside the Bridgeport North neighbourhood of Kitchener.
We will have more to say about the Grand River and this northern stretch of University Downs, but first, let’s assess the neighbourhood’s location.
Houses here vary in size, shape, and price. You can find beautiful homes valued around (and well over) $1 million, as well as single family homes around $400 000, with options in between. Because of all that University Downs has to offer (and all that Waterloo itself has to offer), people in a variety of circumstances choose to make this neighbourhood their home.
Young families live here, as well as older residents and university students. If you’d like to know more about University Downs, or any Kitchener- Waterloo neighbourhoods and properties, please feel free to contact WRX, and we’ll happily help in any way we can.
University Downs residents need never worry about shopping or dining. At the intersection of University and Bridge, in the western corner of University Downs, is a well-equipped shopping plaza. Included here are multiple eateries, including two places with pizza [three if you count Subway’s world-renowned ‘pizza sub’]); Tim Hortons; and the University Garden Chinese Cuisine.
The plaza has both a dentist’s office (Dentistry at University Downs) and a family medical practice (University Downs Family Practice), both of which sport inarguably descriptive names. A Rexall Pharma Plus here can serve all of your pharmaceutical needs, and a Great Clips location ensures your hair will be cared for.
There’s a sizable FreshCo, here, making groceries a breeze for University Downs residents (FreshCo has great prices, and even does price match for thrifty shoppers), and a 24-hour 7-Eleven is great for quick stops, emergencies, and insomniacs.
I can sense what some of you are thinking: what if I want more shopping and dining options? Well, there’s no need to worry, as University Downs is well-situated to take advantage of the plethora of shopping and dining options Kitchener-Waterloo has to offer
First of all, University Downs is quite close to the Conestoga Parkway (Highway 85) – accessing it is as simple as driving west along University Avenue, where there are sets of on- and off-ramps heading north and south, respectively.
To the north can be found such marvels as Conestoga Mall (at the King Street exit), the largest mall in Waterloo; and the famous St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, in St. Jacobs, Woolwich Township, which is a very popular attraction for tourists and residents (they have excellent apple fritters).
St. Jacobs offers horse-drawn trolley tours, and is open Thursdays and Saturdays from 7:00 am – 3:00 pm. South along the Conestoga Parkway, residents can head into Kitchener and Cambridge, following Highways 7 and 8, or proceed to other parts of Southern Ontario along the 401 (also known as the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway, one of Ontario’s most important highways).
Popular destinations include Conestoga College, Fairview Park Mall, and Sky Zone Trampoline Park – all quite close to off-ramps from Highway 8 or the 401.
Activities and Environment
In the heart of University Downs is the large, well-maintained University Downs Park. It features a baseball diamond in the midst of a sizable green field, a playground area, and swing sets. The huge, grassy field is perfect for soccer, and during the winter, University Downs Park has an outdoor ice rink on the baseball diamond, perfect for public skating and hockey.
One of the best parts of University Downs Park is the network of trails running through it and around the field, connecting it to Rosette Drive, Auburn Drive, Carriage House Court, and along a long, tree-lined path that passes numerous homes, to Pastern Trail.
Another huge green area lies west of University Downs: Bechtel Park. Here, you can find everything from tree-lined trails to an immaculate baseball diamond and multiple soccer fields.
The Manulife Financial Soccer and Sports Complex is here, too – an impressive facility that offers such sports as field hockey, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, and more.
East of here is the sprawling Melitzer Woodlot, a densely forested swathe of land packed with trees and streams, and the still waters of Mill Pond. Several walking paths run through this area, for University Downs residents looking for a less manicured outdoor experience. Further east is the sprawling, beautiful Carisbrook Drive Natural Area.
Though part of Kitchener, University Downs residents are quite close to it (merely a short drive or walk away). More trails run through this forested area, leading up to the majestically flowing Grand River, one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s finest natural wonders.
A Scouts Canada group meets here, too, at Camp Mohawk (open to young people of any gender, ages 5-26). As alluded to earlier, the northern stretch of University Downs has excellent access to the Grand River. The enormous, picture-perfect Walter Bean Grand River Trail follows along the Grand River as it flows throughout the Waterloo Region, and Woolwich Street has direct access to this trail.
Though there are no schools within University Downs itself, several are nearby, including Lexington Public School and Saint Luke Catholic School. University Downs students are zoned for (and bussed to) either Bridgeport Public School or Lexington Public School, depending on location, for Kindergarten to Grade 6.
Most attend Margaret Avenue for Grade 7 and 8. High school students will attend Bluevale Collegiate Institute, a highly-ranked school that you can learn more about in our article here. Students in the Catholic board are zoned for the nearby Saint Matthew’s Catholic Elementary School, and for high school they will attend St. David Catholic Secondary School.
As suggested by University Downs’ name, Waterloo’s two universities (Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo) are fairly nearby – just a jaunty drive up University Avenue will get you to either campus, as well as the Waterloo Campus of Conestoga College.
As such, University Downs is a great option for students attending any of these institutions who want to be close, but don’t necessarily want to be part of the bustling central hubs of the respective campuses.
Tucked away in the eastern end of Waterloo, University Downs is a great place to call home. It’s close to everything you could need: multiple parks, the Grand River to the east, shopping within the neighbourhood itself and more nearby, the Conestoga Parkway, and more.
As for its name: yes, it’s on University Avenue, and close to the universities, but no, there’s nothing to feel down about with this neighbourhood. As far as neighbourhoods go, I would venture to say that this one is quite uplifting.
Written by Will Kummer