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About the Laurelwood Area in Waterloo
Listen closely; can you hear that sound? It’s the sound of a newborn WRX Property Group article! Is it a boy or a girl, you ask? Neither: it’s an in-depth look at the Laurelwood area of Waterloo. So please, read on, and we hope you enjoy this latest instalment in the WRX series on Kitchener-Waterloo neighbourhoods.
If you’re thinking of moving to Waterloo, or purchasing a home here, then Laurelwood is very much worth your consideration. Located between Conservation Drive and Columbia Street, north to south, and Fischer-Hallman/Bearinger/Westmount Roads and Erbsville Road, east to west, Laurelwood is one of the largest neighbourhoods in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Real-estate in Kitchener-Waterloo is a very sound investment – it’s a great time to get a house in the region. And if the Waterloo real-estate market is hot, then the Laurelwood market is hotter than hot. It’s one of the most desirable locations in Kitchener-Waterloo, for reasons that will be outlined below.
Laurelwood is in northwest Waterloo, slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of the universities, Conestoga Mall, and Uptown Waterloo. But Laurelwood has just about everything you could need within its boundaries. In the southeastern corner of the neighbourhood, by Fischer-Hallman and Columbia, is the Laurelwood Shopping Centre. This has various shopping destinations, which include: Sobeys (which has a florist and a Canada Post office), Starbucks, Petro-Canada, CIBC, and TD Canada Trust. Another major shopping area within Laurelwood can be found at the corner of Laurelwood Drive and Erbsville Road, which has a Food Basics, Shoppers Drug Mart, and several other stores and restaurants. Speaking of Erbsville, in the northwestern tip of Laurelwood is the Erbsville Kartway, where families can race around a 1 kilometer track (the longest in Southwestern Ontario, according to the Erbsville Kartway website).
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Laurelwood is served by the John M. Harper Branch of the Waterloo Public Library, at the corner of Laurelwood and Fischer-Hallman. This branch is quite new – it opened its doors in 2011 – and it has 21 000 square feet of library space available for the public to enjoy, with all the fixings modern technology has to offer. A good book or DVD, and the community-building opportunities inherent in a public library, are never very far away. Attached to the John M. Harper Branch is the Stork Family YMCA, a large, impressive facility completed at the same time. It has a 4-lane pool for swimming lessons, aquafit, and aquatic programming, a warm-water leisure pool, an indoor track, squash and racquetball courts, a full-size gymnasium (3 badminton courts, 1 volleyball court, 6 basketball hoops), and fully-equipped weightlifting and cardio-conditioning areas – and more (YMCA). Verily, Laurelwood has everything you could need – and we haven’t even gotten into two of its most appealing aspects: its schools, and its outdoor offerings (including the Conservation Area that shares part of its name). But first, education.
As we’ve noted in the past, Waterloo is renowned for its top-tier education facilities. And Laurelwood truly lives up to – perhaps exceeds – this reputation. There are four schools in the Laurelwood area: Abraham Erb and Laurelwood Public Schools, St. Nicholas Catholic School, and Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School. According to the Fraser Institute’s school rankings, Laurelwood and St. Nicholas were tied as the best school in Waterloo in 2015-16, with Abraham Erb placing fifth (out of 26). Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School was ranked 2nd (out of 4) among Waterloo high schools. Not only are these results quite impressive on their own, but it should also be noted that these schools were ranked higher than almost every other school in the wider Kitchener-Waterloo region, too. Indeed, these are schools that rank among the best in all of Ontario.
Abraham Erb Public School has a student population of approximately 430, serves Kindergarten to Grade 6, and offers French Immersion up to Grade 3. Laurelwood Public School has roughly 570 students, from Kindergarten to Grade 8, and it offers French Immersion throughout. St. Nicholas Catholic Elementary School provides faith-based education for Kindergarten students up to Grade 8. Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School (or as the locals call it, SJAM) is the newest high school in Waterloo, with a student population of over 1500, and special programs including Fast-Forward and Advanced Placement. You can read all about SJAM here, in its article from the WRX series on secondary schools in Kitchener and Waterloo.
Last, but most certainly not least, is one of the biggest and best parts of life in Laurelwood: its beautiful trails and abundant opportunities in outdoor living. To start on the somewhat smaller end of the spectrum (though by no means tiny) are Gatestone Park in the southeast (which has trails; a baseball diamond; playground equipment; a large, open field; and a forested area) and Old Oak Park in the west (which, as the name suggests, is replete with old oak trees, and serves as a field for Waterloo Minor Soccer). But the true draw to Laurelwood, in terms of environmental attractions, is the Laurel Creek Conservation Area that makes up most of the neighbourhood’s northern region.
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Laurel Creek Conservation Area is huge, it’s beautiful, and it offers a wide variety of activities and experiences. Laurelwood residents who’ve lived in the neighbourhood for years can still find new parts of the Conservation Area to explore – it’s the natural gift that keeps on giving. Spanning nearly 300 acres, Laurel Creek Conservation Area consists of several ecosystems, including mature forests and wetlands. There’s an abundance of things to do here, including canoeing, kayaking, camping, picnicking, swimming at the sandy beach on its reservoir, skiing during the winter, and hiking its many trails. A network of multiple trails weave their way through Laurel Creek, several of which lead eventually to the Laurel Creek Nature Centre. This is situated near the middle of the area, and it offers everything from school programs to Eco-adventure birthday parties. Not far from here is the Laurel Creek Look-Out Tower, a perfect place for birdwatchers, selfie-takers, and selfie-taking birdwatchers (why not multitask?). Dominating the centre of the Conservation Area is the Laurel Creek Reservoir, the calm blue waters of which are captivating to young and old alike. Honestly, residents of Laurelwood have it good. And if you’re particularly drawn to the Laurel Creek Conservation Area, there are several residential areas right next to it, around Beaver Creek Road.
As you may have noticed, Laurelwood has everything you could want within its borders. It has all the basic necessities in terms of shopping, and it’s not very far from the busier parts of Waterloo, if the need for more arises. Laurelwood has some of the best schools in Ontario, and one of the biggest and most beautiful nature reserves in all of Kitchener-Waterloo. Families looking for a home in Waterloo can find their little slice of suburban bliss in Laurelwood. If you want to find out more, don’t hesitate to ask!
Written by Will Kummer