Take me to:
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
I was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario and still live in the area. My Grandfather was born here but his parents came from Ireland. My Grandmother came to Canada from County Cork, her maiden name was McGarry. They raised my father, his brother and two sisters in Geulph, Ontario. My grand parents passed away while I was still very young so I learned very little from them about Irish traditions and culture. My Grandmother spoke Irish but this was not passed on to her children or grandchildren.
Since childhood I have had a huge interest in Ireland and have made it a hobby to learn as much as I can about the land of my ancestors. I enjoy reading about Ireland, for example The Red Branch, Lion of Ireland and researching the country on the internet.
Through researching my family name Carroll, I have learned of Carroll Castle, the place of Cuchulainn's final stand. I hope to take a visit to it one day.
The city of Kitchener is located in southwestern Ontario. Between 1854 and 1912 Kitchener was known as the town of Berlin and the city of Berlin until 1916.
The current population of Kitchener is approximately 214,000. The metropolitan area, which includes neighbouring Waterloo and Cambridge, has 451,235 people, making it the eleventh largest metropolitan area in Canada.
Kitchener and Waterloo are often referred to as the twin cities, although they do have their own separate municipal governments.
In 2004, Kitchener celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Compared to the rest of Canada, Kitchener has a moderate, middle-of-the-road climate. During winter Kitchener experiences cold and snow, summers are hot humid. There is the odd tornado but overall ideal weather for the seasons.
Public transit within Kitchener is good overall and very reasonably priced. About $2.00 will get you anywhere you wish to go within the city. Taxis are also freely available and there are no special considerations which need to be taken into account when driving.
Kitchener has a strong property market. House prices have been rising steadily and a 2006 report by Re/Max suggests that 2007 will see a 5% rise in property prices. The most expensive property in this area is to be found in the Hidden Valley area.
The Canadian dollar is the major currency. It's currently almost at par with the US$ (23rd of July 2007), trading at 30 year highs.
Canadians have government covered health care, similar to Britain. Good care is available, but waiting lists are common for major surgery, visits to specialists and emergency waiting rooms. Visitors should make sure to purchase coverage before traveling.
The Canadian education system is overall very good, especially when you compare it to that of our closest neighbours the US. This area is home to two of Canada’s best University's are here Wilfrid Laurier and University Of Waterloo.
Like everywhere in the world sadly there is some crime here but there is nothing you need to particularly be aware of.
Leisure and Culture:
Kitchener's cultural highlights include the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area (CAFKA), The Open Ears Festival, Multicultural Festival, and Blues, Brews & Barbecues.
Kitchener is the home of the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany. The annual nine-day event is based on the original German Oktoberfest and is billed as the largest Barvarian festival in North America. It begins the Friday before Thanksgiving and runs until the following Saturday.
While Oktoberfest is best know for it’s beer based celebration, there are many other cultural events which take place during this week. The most popular being the Thanksgiving parade, which is the only major one in Canada and is televised nationally.
Another popular televised event which takes place is the Miss Oktoberfest beauty pageant. The applicants for the pageant come from across North America. The position is selected by a closed committee of judges from a panel of local applicants; community involvement and personal character form the main criteria under the new system. A spin-off of the Miss Oktoberfest pageant is celebrated in some local high schools, in which all participants are male, but dressed as women.