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Grand River North Area in Kitchener

You heard right: it’s another edition of WRX Property Group’s ongoing series of investigative looks into the neighbourhoods of Kitchener-Waterloo. The disparate areas of the greater Waterloo Region each have their own unique, distinct feels and flavours, and it is our driving ambition to uncover and expand upon these differences, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to choosing where to live. You can find the other areas we’ve covered so far at the bottom of their listings pages. As for today’s article, let’s get ready to explore: Grand River North in Kitchener.
Grand River North’s boundaries are made up approximately by Victoria Street North in the north (technically an arm of Highway 7); the Grand River in the east (fittingly); Misty Street and Ottawa Street North in the south; and Heritage Drive and Natchez Road in the west. It is one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s newer developments, with the oldest homes dating back to the 1980’s, and much of the construction having taken place within the 21st century. By far, most of the households here are owned (as opposed to rented), and though there is a large amount of couples and singles, the largest single group of homeowners is families. You’ll find many young children here, with over 60% of households including children living at home.

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History

Jacob Kolb was one of the many Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch, as in German-speaking) who moved from the United States to Canada in the early nineteenth-century. He brought very little with him – his most prized possession was his German Bible, a 1776 version among the earliest editions printed in the USA (it’s held today by the Waterloo Heritage Society). Though Kolb first lived in Preston, he followed his heart eventually to the sound of the rushing waters of the Grand River and purchased over 150 acres of land between today’s Victorian Street North and Centennial Drive. He built a log house and several farm structures, and lived out his days here happily, serving the community as a farmer, a gunsmith, the owner of a harness shop, and a deacon of the Mennonite Church (Kolb kept busy). The land stayed in the Kolb family for over a century, after which it was converted to a gravel pit. Today, it’s owned by the City of Kitchener, and it’s a beautiful green area: Kolb Park. If you’d like to know more about Kitchener (and the German Mennonites who made up its earliest residents) feel free to check out the WRX article on the city here.

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Location

There are a wide range of shops and restaurants running up and down along Victoria Street North, along the northern border of Grand River North. The Victoria Street Market is one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s finest local grocers (it dates back to 1975), and Camper’s World is great for residents eager to take advantage of Grand River North’s access to the outdoors. There are also larger chains available (such as Canadian Tire) and multiple options for dining, both unique (like Arabesque, a Lebanese café and bakery) and well-known (fast food locations ranging from AandW to McDonald’s). Oh, and there are several Tim Hortons nearby, so that’s always a plus. There’s another, smaller shopping area at the southwestern tip of the neighbourhood (the Lackner Centre) which has a few smaller shops and restaurants (Jumbo Dragon Chinese Restaurant and Ginos Pizza), and more notably, a Food Basics (for all your grocery-shopping needs). Grand River North residents are well-served by their access to Highway 7. From here, they can get to both Highway 8 and 85, and the 401, thereby accessing the other parts of Waterloo Region with ease. They are quite close, for example, to the community of Breslau – a lovely place for a visit. In the southwest of the neighbourhood, by Rosenberg Park, are several important locations for Grand River North residents: Grand River Stanley Park Community Library; Grand River Arena; and Lyle Hallman Pool, to name a few.


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Activities

As the Grand River North neighbourhood’s unofficial Facebook page attests, Grand River North is an active community perfect for active people who would like to reconvene with nature. The most immediately striking feature is, naturally, the Grand River itself. Whether you like to take a canoe or kayak up and down its steadily flowing waters, or simply gaze at its rippling surface and appreciate its primal beauty, the Grand River is certainly one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s greatest natural wonders, and Grand River North residents have unimpeded access to it. Both the Kolb Greenway and Kolb Park, large green areas which run alongside the Grand River, afford residents trails and vantage points that afford stunning views of the mighty river. Of particular note is the Peter Hallman Family Trail at Kolb Park. This is an extensive trail network that runs through Kolb Park itself (a diverse mix of mature trees, wetlands, ponds, and diverse plants), and runs parallel to the Grand River for a stretch. The Peter Hallman Family Trail serves as one of nineteen access points to the much longer Walter Bean Grand River Trail – an extensive network of trails that runs from as far south as the Township of North Dumfries (near the border of Cambridge and Kitchener) all the way to the tip of Waterloo (by the Township of Woolwich), following the Grand River the whole way. It’s hard to find a better way to get a taste of the Waterloo Region, or indeed the TriCities (Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge). The Walter Bean Trail is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a brisk jog – it’s truly one of the region’s greatest treasures, and Grand River North residents are quite lucky to have local access to it.

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Education

Students in the public board (WRDSB) will attend Mackenzie King Public School for Kindergarten to Grade 6, and Stanley Park for Grades 7 and 8. For secondary school, they will attend Grand River Collegiate Institute – you can read more about it in its WRX article here. Students in the Catholic board (WCDSB) will attend Canadian Martyrs for elementary school, and St. Mary’s High School for secondary school. Buses are available for students living outside a school’s requisite zoning area (this varies by location, but all St. Mary’s students living in Grand River North will have the option for bussing available to them).


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Conclusion

The biggest appeal to this neighbourhood is in its name: the Grand River. Grand River North is a relatively new suburb in Kitchener, and it appeals to individuals wishing to lead an active lifestyle, and young families. It has great access to trails, and its proximity to Highway 7 makes getting around the Waterloo Region (and Kitchener-Waterloo) a breeze. If you’re interested, and you have questions for us, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’ll be happy to help.

Written by Will Kummer

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