The Waterloo Hotel
Greetings, and welcome to the WRX Property Group website and blog! As we continue our exploration of this fine region’s history, today we find ourselves once more in the unparalleled Uptown area of the wondrous City of Waterloo.
Specifically, we’ll be looking at the historic Waterloo Hotel. And don’t worry – no reservations needed for this little tour!
Rooms with a View: Location
You can debate things like “What’s in a name?” and say thoughtful things like, ‘A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.’ But the question ‘Does location matter?’
Well, the answer is almost always yes! And the Waterloo Hotel stands in a very, very fine location indeed – particularly for a hotel. Indeed, not one but two (or more, depending on how you look at it) hotels have made use of this building over the years. But more on that later.
The Waterloo Hotel’s address is 4 King Street North, which places it right on the intersection of King Street and Erb Street in Uptown Waterloo.
Interestingly, and in an indication of the historical centrality of this location, the Waterloo Hotel stands right at the place where Erb Street West becomes Erb Street East, and King Street North becomes King Street South.
This is not only one of the earliest areas in Waterloo’s history; it’s also one of the most exciting places to visit, with dozens of unique shops, restaurants, cafés, pubs, and more, up and down the streets of Uptown.
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If Hotels Could Talk: History
The first figure in our tale is a man by the name of Henry W. Bowman (it’s unclear if his family was proficient with bows and arrows, tying pretty bows, or respectfully bowing – perhaps a combination of the three?).
In 1830, he built a hotel at the location we just described. He called it ‘the Farmer’s Inn,’ owing to the volume of farmers who passed through its doors. As to what came first, the farmers or the name, it’s best not to question such things. Tragically, the Farmer’s Inn was destroyed by fire in 1850.
But fortunately, a brand new building – similar in almost every way – popped up shortly after, and ownership passed to, who had a two storey addition attached to the rear of the hotel (it still stands today).
Ownership again changed, this time ending up with Henry Zimmerman.
Another fire destroyed all but the two-storey addition, and thus, Zimmerman had the property rebuilt to match its style. Because no structural changes have been made since then, Zimmerman can be considered the original owner of today’s Waterloo Hotel, having owned it in its full and final fundamental state.
Zimmerman decided to change his property from an Inn to a Hotel (a semantic difference that likely meant more back then), and ended up selling it in 1904.
For the next thirty years, the Waterloo Hotel was no longer really a hotel: for example, the Royal Bank operated a branch in a corner of the main floor for just over a decade, and the Waterloo Social Club used the rest [presumably for socializing]).
What’s in a Name?
In the year 1935, ownership passed again, this time to a man by the name of Stanley Chadder. It was Chadder’s decision to bestow upon this historic building the name we know it by today: the Waterloo Hotel. And it was, by all accounts, a wise decision – it’s not a name anyone from Waterloo, or just passing through, is liable to forget.
And it must have worked out pretty well for him, as the Waterloo Hotel remained with the Chadder family for over half a century. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, however, purchased it in 1990.
The Hotel Itself
With its yellow brick façade, and ornate wooden sign with its name in golden script, the Waterloo Hotel doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a historic building. The more modern buildings across the street also serve to accentuate this difference.
The Waterloo Hotel looms a fair bit larger than most of the other nearby buildings, particularly owing to the elevated, peaked, triangular segment of its roof, right above the main entrance on King Street North.
The Present Situation
Unlike some of the commercial Heritage Properties in Kitchener-Waterloo, the Waterloo Hotel is currently up and running and available for rent. So if you’d really like to take a closer look, be sure to check out their website: Waterloo Hotel.
Adding to its unique and historic character, the Waterloo Hotel presently offers a range of distinctly-themed rooms to rent. There’s an overall, unifying style that ties every room together – think something along the lines of a Victorian hotel, but with free Wi-Fi, free parking, Air Conditioning, and LCD TVs – but the variety of individually named rooms adds some fun to the experience.
Example rooms include: the Music Room (great for a rest – a 4/4 score!); the Library Room (be sure to book it early); and the Elephant Room (don’t forget your travel trunk).
Conveniently, the Uptown Waterloo location of the popular Symposium Café Restaurant and Lounge also stands in the lower portion of the Waterloo Hotel. So you can get a slice of cake, and a slice of history, at the same time! Check out their website here.
Well, there you have it! Another small (or not so small – it is a fairly spacious hotel, after all) slice of Waterloo’s history. Kitchener-Waterloo has dozens of such Heritage Properties, ranging from small homes, rustic farms, massive warehouses, and, yes, hotels.
The next time you’re walking around in or driving through Uptown Waterloo, be sure to take a look at the Waterloo Hotel on the northeast side of the King/Erb intersection. It’s a beautiful building, and yet another reminder of this Region’s ongoing history!
Hopefully you’ve been enjoying this exploration of some of Kitchener-Waterloo’s Heritage Properties. I
f you’re looking for help finding a property in the present, though, we can help you out there, too. If you’re looking to buy a property in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, or the surrounding areas – please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to help!
Written by Will Kummer