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Forest Hill Area in Kitchener

Welcome to the WRX Property Group series on the neighbourhoods of Kitchener-Waterloo. We’ve gone from Uptown to Downtown, old neighbourhoods to new developments, and quiet suburban streets to bustling urban cores. Today we’re going to be investigating one of Kitchener’s suburban areas: Forest Hill. Forest Hill is located just east of Forest Heights, which we covered recently as well. Forest Hill’s boundaries are roughly defined by Highland Road West in the north, Westmount Road East in the east, the Conestoga Parkway in the south, and Fischer-Hallman Road in the west. It’s located in the central, western area of Kitchener. There is a pretty even split between families, couples, and singles living here, but there are more families than either of the other two household makeups. Homes here were mostly built before 1980, and prices tend to range between $300 000 and $700 000, though condos here can often be lower in price.

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Location

Forest Hill, like Forest Heights, is a suburban neighbourhood. Its location enables it to take advantage of a variety of shopping opportunities, though, and its proximity to the highway makes it feel connected to the disparate regions of the Waterloo Region. There are on- and off-ramps to the Conestoga Parkway at the southwestern corner of Forest Hill, by the intersection of Fischer-Hallman Road and Greenbrook Drive. This connection to Highways 7 and 8 opens up travel opportunities within Kitchener, the Tri-Cities (Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge), the surrounding rural areas, and the rest of Ontario (Highway 8 links up with the 401, which goes as far west as Windsor, and as far east as Cornwall, passing many of Canada’s largest cities along the way). In terms of shopping, there are two plazas within Forest Hill’s boundaries: in the northeast corner are ‘The Shops at Highland and Westmount,’ which, as you can probably guess, is at the intersection of Highland and Westmount (it’s not a creative name, but it’s an accurate one). Larger shops here include Dollarama and Shoppers Drug Mart (both of which have groceries available), and there are a Food Basics and a Sobeys (and more) just up the road. You can also find a variety of restaurants, from fast food to more formal, as well as banks, car shops, and more. Near the centre of Forest Hill is a smaller plaza called (again, quite accurately) ‘Forest Hill Centre,’ at the intersection of Greenbrook and Stonybrook. It includes a Giant Tiger (you can find everything from groceries to clothing here), a couple restaurants (including the charmingly-named ‘A Dish Called Wanda), and several medically-oriented establishments (such as Laurentian Optical, Greenbrook Pharmacy, and the New Vision Family Health Network).

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Arguably more exciting than these are the larger shopping options located quite nearby. The Sunrise Shopping Centre is located just on the other side of the Conestoga Parkway, and it has numerous big box stores (including a Walmart Supercentre and a Home Depot), numerous clothing shops, a wide variety of food options (with such options as Kelseys Original Roadhouse and Pho Dau Bo, a fine Vietnamese establishment), and quite a bit more. Though it’s a bit further away, Forest Hill is reasonably close to downtown Kitchener, as well, opening up the diverse, local options provided there. Finally, beside the northwest quadrant of Forest Hill (in Forest Heights) is yet another nearby shopping area, which includes a GoodLife Fitness Centre, a Real Canadian Superstore, and more. Also in this area are a few things of note for Forest Hill residents, which we’ll explore in the next paragraph.


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Activities

Throughout Kitchener-Waterloo, there are organizations known as Neighbourhood or Community Associations. These are groups of residents who work together to provide opportunities for their fellow residents within any given neighbourhood. While not every neighbourhood in the Waterloo Region has one, many do, and those that do tend to agree: they’re great. Forest Hill shares a Community Association with Forest Heights; its name is Forest Heights Community Association (FHCA). This group dates back to the early ‘70s, when a group of neighbours came together to raise funds for neighbourhood projects and host a variety of events. The FHCA runs from the Forest Heights Community Centre, which was constructed in 1998 to accommodate the rapidly growing population (particularly families) in the area. Today, the FHCA offers over 100 programs, ranging from life skills to technology, and from sports to cooking (with everything in between). Families are welcome to take part in the plethora of events and activities offered, and there are always opportunities for volunteers to help out with events, or to run specific programs.

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Also near the Forest Heights Community Centre are the Forest Heights Community Library and the Forest Heights Pool. The Forest Heights Community Library is part of the Kitchener Public Library (KPL) network, and it has been an important part of the community for over 40 years. Forest Heights Pool features two accessible indoor pools (a 25 metre lap pool, and a smaller, warmer one); male, female, and family change rooms; and a variety of lessons and classes. Fischer Park, which is between the Community Centre and the Library, offers numerous walking trails, a soccer field, tennis courts, a skatepark, and more. Forest Hill is great for families in a very large part because of these facilities and programs: there are activities for all age (and skill) ranges, and adults and kids alike can take advantage of them quite easily. Note that there are also green areas (with potential for strolls, sports, and evets) within Forest Hill-proper, as well, including the sizable Forest Hill Park right by the Forest Hill Centre, and Queensmount Park (which features baseball diamonds, painted soccer fields, and the Queensmount Arena, one of Kitchener’s ice skating facilities).

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Education

There are several schools within Forest Hill (another reason why it’s a good neighbourhood for families): Forest Hill Public School, Queensmount Public School, Saint Paul, and Southridge Public School. Students in the public school board (WRDSB) will attend Southridge if they live in the northwest half of the neighbourhood, and Forest Hill if they live in the southeast. These are both Kindergarten – Grade 6 schools (only Southridge offers French Immersion, so students interested in this program will go here regardless of residence). For Grades 7 and 8, students will attend Queensmount. For secondary school, they will attend Forest Heights Collegiate Institute, which is quite close by (it shares a building with the Forest Heights Community Library). You can learn more about this high school in the WRX article on it here. Students in the Catholic board (WCDSB) will attend Saint Paul for elementary school, and Resurrection Catholic Secondary School for high school. Resurrection is the newest Catholic secondary school in Kitchener-Waterloo, and can be found in northwest Kitchener along the border with Waterloo (bussing is available).


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Conclusion

As a neighbourhood, Forest Hill has a bit of everything. It’s one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s more established suburbs, yet its community offerings appeal to families, couples, and singles alike, so its population has grown considerably over the past several decades. If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact WRX – we’re always happy to help.

Written by Will Kummer

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