Living in the Region of Waterloo

Both the Cities of Waterloo and Kitchener have official websites with information about recreation, living in K-W, and city governance.

Public transportation

You are able to get around Waterloo and Kitchener by Grand River Transit Bus and Light Rail (ION).   The Grand River transit bus and light rail (ION) have stops throughout the University of Waterloo (on Ring Road).  If you use public transit regularly, you can save money by getting a monthly pass.

GO transit is convenient for travelling to Toronto/Toronto Pearson International Airport and other locations in Ontario.  GO buses run daily, while GO trains can be used to get into Toronto on a week-day.  VIA rail runs to Toronto every day but is more expensive.

Photo card and drivers license

You can use your valid driver’s license from another province, state or country for up to 60 days.  After 60 days, you must switch to an Ontario driver’s license.   You may be able to exchange your license or you may be required to take an eye test, a written test and/or a road test before you can get a license.  You need to apply in-person at a DriveTest centre to exchange or apply for a new driver’s license.

A driver’s license is frequently used as a form of official identification and proof of address in Ontario.  If you do not drive, you may find it helpful to obtain an Ontario Photo Card at a ServiceOntario location.  You can walk in but it can be a good idea to make an appointment online.

Health care

The Family Health Clinic in Health Services on campus provides primary health care for postdoctoral researchers and their families.  There is a pharmacy in the Student Life Building.

If you would prefer a different health care provider, you can register with health care connect to find a family doctor who is accepting new patients.  Wait lists are long and many people use walk-in clinics for non-emergency medical care.  The nearest walk-in clinic to campus is Campus Pharmacy and Walk-In Clinic in the University Plaza.


While working and living in Canada, you will need to file a tax return each year. The deadline for submitting your taxes for the previous year is typically April 30th, however, the deadline may change so it is important to look up important key dates online to avoid penalties.

Typically, during the late winter (end of February), you will receive important forms (such as a T4) from your employer to use while filing your tax return.  You can obtain your T4 from WorkDay.

For information about filing tax returns in Canada, please visit the Government of Canada website.

International Foods

There are dedicated international food stores in Kitchener-Waterloo.  There are also international aisles/sections in Walmart, The Bulk Barn, Zehrs and Sobeys. 

You can often find international foods on Amazon or other companies dedicated to specific countries.


The Toronto Pearson Airport is one of the major airports in Ontario that has many international flights (approximately 1 hour away from the University of Waterloo).

The Region of Waterloo Airport is a smaller airport located in Breslau (approximately 25 minutes from the University of Waterloo) that has flights to major Canadian cities including Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax.  

Statutory holidays in Ontario

Ontario celebrates 9 public holidays per year.  If the holiday falls on a weekend, then it will be celebrated on either the Friday before or the Monday after.   

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Family Day (Third Monday in February)
  • Good Friday (First Friday after spring full moon – March or April)
  • Victoria Day (Monday before May 24)
  • Canada Day (July 1)
  • Labour Day (First Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Second Monday in October)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
  • Boxing Day (December 26)

Please note the University shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Year.  The Physics building will be locked during this week.  This week is in addition to your allocated vacation days.

Explore Waterloo Region ... and beyond

To learn more about things to do, upcoming events and places to eat, the Explore Waterloo Region website is a great resource.

Living in Kitchener-Waterloo with a family

The Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs website lists some resources for postdocs with a family.

Some ideas for things to do with young children:

Second-hand clothes and baby item stores beyond Kijiji and Marketplace: