Conference 2024

CURAC Conference May 22-24, 2024


Full-conference registration is open. One-day registrations will be available after April 21, space permitting. To register, first review the conference programme for details about the conference, plenaries, and breakout sessions. Then visit the registration website to register, indicate your preferred breakout sessions, select your options, and pay. Note that a partner/spouse registration requires an accompanying regular (full conference) registration.

The UWRA looks forward to welcoming you to Thriving in Retirement, the CURAC 2024 National Conference.

Conference Theme

“Thriving in Retirement” is the theme for the CURAC 2024 National Conference, hosted by the University of Waterloo Retirees Association. The conference aims to provide retirees (and the soon-to-retire) with useful and practical information in key areas:

  • Health and wellness
  • Housing options
  • Services for seniors
  • Finance
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Safety and security

Don’t just survive in retirement; thrive in retirement!

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The CURAC 2024 National Conference aims to deliver insightful, thought-provoking, and practical information to help you make the most of your retirement years.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

 Thriving in Retirement opens with a reception the evening of Wednesday, May 22, 7:30 – 9:30 PM. Your host is one of the conference’s platinum sponsors, Schlegel Villages; the location is the Village at University Gates, situated on the north campus of the University of Waterloo. The Village at University Gates is also home to the Research Institute for Aging, another conference sponsor.

Thursday, May 23

Thursday presents plenaries, breakout sessions morning and afternoon, lightning tables, and the CURAC Awards banquet in the evening.

Don’t worry:  the schedule has been designed to allow plenty of time for the most important activities—meeting, socializing, and networking with friends old and new.

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Morning plenary

Designing Your Retirement: Thriving in Life’s Next Chapter

Howard M. Armitage, PhD, FCPA, FCMA

Thriving in retirement is more than just passing the time; it's about finding fulfillment, purpose, and a profound sense of well-being during the post-employment phase of life. It involves actively engaging in activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional health, allowing individuals to lead enriching and satisfying lives beyond their careers. Howard Armitage's plenary highlights the latest research that illuminates the path to a longer, healthier, and more gratifying retirement. His observations establish a foundation for this year’s CURAC conference, which explores “thriving” topics of interest to retirees in greater depth, empowering individuals to unlock the full potential of their retirement years. 

Morning breakout sessions

Four sessions are offered concurrently. Indicate your preference when you register, but please note that enrolment in each session is limited.

Aging Well with Artificial Intelligence: Possibility or Pipe Dream?

Jesse Hoey, PhD, Professor, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo

Artificial intelligence (AI) may hold a key for alleviating the increasing burden of care for persons with age-related cognitive disabilities, such as Alzheimer's disease. While much research has gone into this promise, and some AI-based assistive technologies have been developed, most have not been widely adopted, if adopted at all.

One of the main reasons is that most AI has very little ability to interact with humans, primarily because it does not make use of human emotion. Research has shown that emotions are largely preserved during the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's and other dementias. To build AI that can be usable by older adults with cognitive impairments, human emotion must be a central element. It matters less if AI does not perform well in what it is meant to do. What matters is how people feel about it, whether it succeeds or fails.

The presentation examines computational models of emotions and of emotional identity, considering how these models may provide an important (currently missing) component for assistive technologies for aging. Dr. Hoey argues that technologies which can align with users on an emotional level will be more readily adopted. In reviewing his experiences in developing AI and assistive technologies over the past twenty years, he examines how technologies could be built to understand and make use of human emotion to deliver better care. The presentation concludes with a brief consideration of ethical and privacy issues, which should spark a lively discussion about aging and technology.

Enjoying Retirement with Minimal Back Pain

Stuart McGill, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Kinesiology and Health Sciences,  University of Waterloo

The health of all systems in the body requires optimal movement and exercise. Too little or too much compromises resilience and performance. There is no such thing as non-specific back pain – it is very specific. As you have found, back pain and its triggers change with age and body mileage.

Join Professor Stuart McGill for a pep talk about self-assessment and learning how to spot the features that thwart obtaining less pain together with tips to enhance a resilient life.

Embracing the Challenge: Building Habits for Lifelong Physical Activity

Caryl Russell, MSc, Instructor and Clinical Programs Director, Director – UW Fitness, Program Director - Centre for Community, Clinical and Applied Research Excellence (CCCARE)

Physical activity and exercise are integral components of healthy aging, yet understanding how individuals change their behavior and enabling them to adopt physical activity remains a challenge. Effective public messaging must recognize individual differences and preferences, encouraging people to engage with physical activity in their unique manner, pace, and space, ultimately aiming to transform their behavior.

Recognizing the diversity of individuals' circumstances and preferences, the goal of this presentation is to share lessons learned from exercise programs at the University of Waterloo’s Center for Community, Clinical and Applied research Excellence with a focus on individuals with cancer, stroke, and dementia. The same strategies can be applied across the health continuum with the hope of providing ways to empower individuals to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives.

The approach presented here emphasizes starting with manageable activities and gradually progressing, fostering self-efficacy, and acknowledging successes along the way. Motivational strategies rooted in evidence are essential. By embracing flexibility and empathy, efforts to incorporate physical activity as we plan for retirement, enter retirement or well into retirement, increases the likelihood of sustained behavior change and contributing to overall healthy aging initiatives.

Health Enabling Through Walking and Neighbouring

Troy Glover, PhD, Chair – Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, Director of the Healthy Communities Research Network, University of Waterloo

The best thing we can do to optimize our health is to cultivate warm relationships of all kinds. Social connectedness, in other words, matters tremendously to our health and wellbeing. From reducing inflammation to motivating greater self-regulation, reducing the likelihood of perceiving challenging situations as stressful, and lowering anxiety and depression, an impressive body of evidence supports the enormous difference social connectedness plays in helping us live healthier lives. More than ever, at a time when social isolation and loneliness pervades disturbingly, we need strategies to strengthen connections with others.    

In his talk, Troy Glover will outline the roles everyday neighbourhood walking can play in strengthening our relationships with a variety of social ties within our community. Based on his research on neighbourhood walking and social connectedness, Dr. Glover will explain how routine strolls in our neighbourhoods serve as a vital form of social fitness. In doing so, he will underscore the transformative possibilities neighbourhood walking offers in building our stocks of social capital and advancing our personal health and wellbeing to combat the current scourge of social isolation and loneliness in our communities. 

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Lunch Plenary

Enjoy lunch and Dr. Ken Shonk’s presentation: Jest For The Health of It: The Science of Laughter in a Mirthful Message with a Chuckles Checkup Included.

Citing recent research on laughter and play, including the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and classification of humour, Dr. Shonk reveals how this information can bring more laughter, play, and joy into our lives. His presentation is sprinkled with examples of humour and its applications to improve communication and social interactions. Appropriately, given the audience and the presenter, Dr. Shonk will pay special attention to using humour to cope with the foibles of aging.

Afternoon breakout sessions

After lunch, four sessions again are offered concurrently. And again, please remember that enrolment is limited.

YourCare+: A Self-Referral and Social Prescribing Platform for Navigating Home and Community Care

Sydney Jones, BSc, Project Manager – YourCare+

YourCare+ ( is a social prescribing platform that provides practical information, state-of-the-art tools, validated health assessments, and service navigation to help people self-manage care at home and in the community. The platform is helpful for older adults living with chronic disease, informal/unpaid caregivers (i.e., family, friends), and anyone accessing home and community care or experiencing care transitions.

Older adults with supportive care needs, and their caregivers, have poor knowledge of and access to community services. The health system is fragmented and there is a lack of central points of navigation and access. YourCare+ is a comprehensive, central resource that links individual's care needs with relevant resources and service recommendations.

Eating for Vitality: Nutrient-dense Diets to Promote Physical and Cognitive Wellbeing as We Age

Heather Keller, PhD, Professor – Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition and Aging, University of Waterloo

As we age, our nutrition becomes even more important than in most of our adulthood. With endocrine and other changes in the body that naturally occur with age, as well as subclinical disease states, our need for a nutrient dense diet increases. A nutrient dense diet (high in vitamins, minerals, protein, and phytochemicals) is associated with improved function both physically and mentally. Further, we need some nutrients in higher amounts than when we were younger.

This presentation reviews the science behind recent recommendations for nutrient dense diets. It compares key diet plans that have demonstrated benefits for physical and mental health. Finally, it addresses the question of whether nutrient supplements are required as we age. The main take-aways from this presentation will be understanding a) why nutrition is so important to health as we age and b) what exactly is a nutrient dense diet.

Deceptive Realities: The Growing Threat of Fraud and Scams in the Era of Deep Fake Technology

Mike Payne, BA, Detective Constable – Waterloo Regional Police Service, Chair – Waterloo-Wellington Elder Abuse Prevention Council, Vice-chairperson – Law Enforcement Agencies and Partners Protecting Seniors, Member – Ontario Securities Commission: Seniors Expert Advisory Committee

Fraud has a long history, but with the advent of the Internet, it has taken on new dimensions. Fraudsters leverage advanced algorithms and automation to orchestrate intricate schemes that often bypass traditional security measures. Furthermore, the rise of deep fake technology has enabled perpetrators to manipulate data, audio, video, and even text to deceive unsuspecting individuals and organizations.

The presenter, a seasoned financial crime investigator will delve into the current fraud trends and provide tips to prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud!

Managing Knee/Hip Pain and Arthritis

Ryan Wark, MPT, Clinical Director, SOS Physiotherapy

This workshop will cover

  • The most common causes of knee and hip pain
  • The biggest mistake people with knee/hip pain make
  • What successful treatment and management of knee/hip pain look like

Ryan will share his Top 3 Exercises to help your knees and hips and keep you doing the activities you love.

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Lightning Tables

Want more? If you answered “Yes!”, you’ll enjoy the lightning tables. Presented are 10 or more tables, each with a host. You choose. The lightning part? You’ll spend 10-15 minutes at a table and then move on: just enough time to glean some information and a contact.

Some tentative lightning topics:

  • Investing and finance 
  • Aches and pains
  • Home, car, travel insurance
  • Downsizing and reverse mortgages
  • Nutrition and recipe ideas
  • Travel
  • Pickleball
  • Tech talk, troubleshooting
  • Homecare resources
  • Coping with the loss of a loved one
  • International volunteering
  • Healthy living
  • Ask CURAC

Have ideas for other topics? Please email us!

CURAC Awards Banquet

Thursday evening is the CURAC Awards evening, featuring great food, conversation, and inspiring award winners from across Canada. Join in the celebration!

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Friday, May 24

Friday offers another plenary and roundtable sessions in the morning and ends with lunch. Optional tours and excursions are available in the afternoon, plus some options for the weekend.

Morning plenary

Resilience in Retirement

Donald Meichenbaum, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Psychology, University of Waterloo

Resilience is the ability to bounce back following trauma and loss – and the ability to deal with ongoing adversities.  Following trauma, 25% of individuals develop adjustment disorders and psychopathology, while 75% of individuals evidence resilience.  Dr. Meichenbaum’s presentation examines how these two groups differ and what implications there are for psychological adjustment.  A second focus of the presentation is how to manage the transition to retirement and how to bolster resilience in the elderly.

Dr. Meichenbaum will join us via Zoom.

Roundtable Discussion

The morning will conclude with roundtable discussions – your best ideas to guide us as individuals and organizations as we work to apply the principles of Thriving in Retirement. Roundtable discussion topics will be announced at the conference.

Thriving in Retirement, the CURAC 2024 national conference, ends with lunch.

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Presenters’ biographies

Howard Armitage

After over forty years at the University of Waterloo, Howard Armitage thrives in retirement as an educator, athlete, speaker, mentor, and volunteer.

He is the founding director of Canada’s pioneering Conrad School for Entrepreneurship and Business, and served as Special Advisor on Entrepreneurship to the UW President. His inspirational teaching and commitment to student success earned him the 3M Teaching Award, the LS Rosen Award for Outstanding Canadian Educator, the UW Outstanding Teacher Award, and Start-Up Canada’s Entrepreneur Educator of the Year. In retirement, Armitage continues to support start-ups and students.

His athletic résumé sports numerous titles, including the 75+ Canadian Squash Champion and 75+ World Masters Squash Champion. He is keen to repeat at the 80+ World Squash Championships in Amsterdam in August 2024.


Troy Glover

Troy Glover is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies and Director of the Healthy Communities Research Network at the University of Waterloo. Professor Glover's research explores the process of transformative placemaking that shapes the public realm to facilitate social connectedness and improve the quality of community life.


Jesse Hoey

Dr. Jesse Hoey is a professor in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, where he leads the Computational Health Informatics Laboratory (CHIL). He is a Faculty Affiliate at the Vector Institute, and an adjunct scientist at KITE/TRI, both in Toronto. Dr. Hoey holds a PhD (2004) in computer science from the University of British Columbia. He has published over one-hundred peer reviewed scientific papers.  He is Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing and an Area Chair for the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2024).


Sydney Jones

Sydney Jones is the project manager for YourCare+ (, a nationally funded project supported by McMaster University and St. Joseph's Centre for Integrated Care. It provides free resources and self-referral tools for people receiving or providing care at home or in the community. Sydney joined McMaster as a co-op student in 2018 while she was completing her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. 
Sydney’s areas of interest include healthy aging, caregiver support, and the impacts of exercise on aging. Through her work at McMaster, she hopes to continue to develop and test supportive tools for older adults and caregivers living at home and in the community, and to further understand the intersection between formal home and community care and social prescribing care models.


Heather Keller

Heather Keller RD, PhD, FDC, FCAHS is a Professor and the Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging at the University of Waterloo and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging.

She is an internationally recognized expert in geriatric nutrition, assessment, and treatment. Research areas focus on nutrition risk and malnutrition identification and treatment across care sectors; improving nutrition care processes and implementing screening and other best practices; supporting food intake of diverse groups living in the community, including those living with dementia; and improving hospital and residential food and promoting food intake and the mealtime experience in these settings.


Stuart McGill

Dr. Stuart M. McGill is a distinguished professor emeritus of Kinesiology and Health Science of the University of Waterloo, where he was a professor for over 30 years. His laboratory and experimental research clinic investigated causes of back pain, and rehabilitation, emphasizing both injury resilience and performance. His advice is regularly sought by governments, corporations, legal experts, medical groups and elite athletes and teams from around the world.

His work produced over 245 peer-reviewed scientific journal papers and several textbooks. The recipient of several international awards, including the Order of Canada in 2020 for leadership in back pain studies, Dr. McGill has mentored more than 37 graduate students and taught thousands of clinicians and practitioners in professional development and continuing education courses globally.


Donald Meichenbaum

Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo since his retirement in 1996, Dr. Meichenbaum is one of the world’s leading experts on psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). He has dedicated his life to advancing the understanding and treatment of mental health issues through research, clinical practice, and education.

In addition to co-founding cognitive-behavioural therapy, he is a leader in the treatment and prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a clinician and researcher, he has treated all age groups for traumas suffered from violence, abuse, accidents, and illness. His innovative approach has become a cornerstone of trauma therapy.

Dr. Meichenbaum’s book, Cognitive Behavior Modification: An Integrative Approach, is considered a classic. His popular publication Roadmap to Resilience, which offers manageable strategies for building and maintaining resilience, has been downloaded, at no charge, by more than 45,000 people in 138 countries.

Dr. Meichenbaum’s contributions to psychology have earned him accolades and awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Clinical Division of the American Psychological Association. In 1991, a North American survey of clinical psychologists named Dr. Meichenbaum one of the ten most influential psychotherapists of the 20th century.


Mike Payne

Detective Constable Mike Payne is a police officer with Waterloo Regional Police Service.  Currently assigned to the Fraud Unit, a significant portion of his over 27-year career has been victim-focused, investigating offences against seniors and providing education and training regarding elder abuse and financial exploitation.

Mike is Chair of the Waterloo-Wellington Elder Abuse Prevention Council, Vice-chairperson of Law Enforcement Agencies and Partners Protecting Seniors, and a member of the Ontario Securities Commission – Seniors Expert Advisory Committee.  Graduating from the University of Waterloo in 1994 with a BA in Sociology (Legal Studies), Mike is an active Warrior Hockey alumnus.


Caryl Russell

Caryl Russell has been part of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences teaching staff since 1980 and is the program director of CCCARE. Caryl is dedicated to advancing knowledge of exercise for health and performance through her teaching and community outreach. In conjunction with professional fitness staff, she has developed and implemented exercise-based programs and assessments for a variety of participants along the health continuum.

Caryl has held various positions with Hardy Hearts. As a member of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), she has attended and presented at annual conferences and been part of the certification process. Her research, publications, and invited talks focus on exercise physiology, cardiac and cancer rehabilitation. Caryl received the Professional Standards Program Recognition Award from CSEP earlier this year.


Ken Shonk

Ken Shonk graduated in medicine in 1970 from the University of Western Ontario and established a family practice in Kitchener-Waterloo for 48 years. His interest in humour was sparked in 1988. Since then, he has attended six international conferences on laughter and play, recently completing his 1000th presentation. His aim is to demonstrate that "there is not much fun in medicine but there is a lot of medicine in fun."

Married for 56 years, Dr. Shonk has three children and nine grandchildren. Wilderness white-water canoeing is a passion, and he has enjoyed several high-arctic trips.


Ryan Wark

Ryan is the Clinical Director and a Registered Physiotherapist at SOS Physiotherapy Elmira. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Kinesiology degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and obtained his Master’s in Physical Therapy at Western University.

Ryan has a passion for helping individuals achieve their highest level of function by collaborating with clients to create individualized plans, with education and exercise being central to his active approach to rehab. Ryan has pursued ongoing education in the areas of acupuncture, dry needling, and advanced manual therapy.

In his free time, Ryan loves to keep active by playing racket sports, volleyball, baseball, roundnet, or walking 18 holes at some of the local golf courses.


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Thank you to our sponsors!

Platinum Sponsors:

University of Waterloo logo   

 Schlegel Villages

Gold Sponsors:


Johnson Insurance Travel logo

Silver Sponsors:

Raymond James Wealth logo     


 Krista Jonker, Realtor business card and contact

Research Institute for Aging logo

SOS Physiotherapy logo

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CURAC/ARUCC is the College and University Retiree Associations of Canada, Associations de retraités des universités et collèges du Canada, a not-for-profit federation of retiree organizations at colleges and universities across Canada. CURAC’s objectives are

  • to coordinate activities that promote communication among member associations,
  • to share information about activities of member organizations,
  • to provide mutual assistance, and
  • to speak publicly on issues of concern to the over fifteen thousand individual college and university retirees across Canada.

CURAC/ARUCC logo white background with red text.

The UWRA is a member of CURAC, along with more than 35 retiree associations across Canada.

The conference is actually a conference within a conference: the CURAC Board of Directors and association delegates will conduct CURAC business at the conference. More information will be posted here when the CURAC schedule is confirmed.

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Optional tours and excursions

Come for the conference. Stay for the weekend!

Waterloo Region and southwestern Ontario have much to offer, and your conference hosts are happy to recommend some local attractions:

Or take in some theatre. The Stratford Festival is less than an hour from Waterloo. Closer to home, Drayton Entertainment has several venues, including theatres in St. Jacobs, Waterloo, and Cambridge.

PLEASE NOTE: Some tours and excursions require a minimum number of participants. Transportation will be arranged for some but not all tours and excursions. Fees vary. Details will be provided at registration time.

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Where to stay

Waterloo Region offers a range of accommodation, including B&Bs, hotels, inns, university residences, and a Relais & Châteaux property—should you wish to splurge.

Note, however, that the conference will provide shuttle transportation only from the three official conference hotels (Courtyard, Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites – all located on Benjamin Road in Waterloo) to the conference venues. Shuttles will also be provided to transport conference attendees from campus to the Wednesday evening reception at the Village at University Gates.

University of Waterloo logo

On-campus accommodation

Two university residences are within walking distance of Federation Hall, the conference venue Thursday and Friday. Rooms may be booked for all or part of the period May 20-25, 2024.

The University of Waterloo campus offers more than 27 food service outlets, including Tim Hortons and Starbucks.  For a full list and hours of operation please visit the UW Food Service website.  

Mackenzie King Village (MKV)

  • 7-minute walk to Federation Hall
  • Air-conditioned 4-bedroom apartments with different booking options:
    • $95/night + HST – Access to 2 bedrooms
    • $108/night + HST – Access to 3 bedrooms
    • $135/night + HST – Access to 4 bedrooms

These rates include free WiFi, parking for one vehicle, linens & towels upon check in, and weekly linen/towel exchange

  • Each bedroom includes a twin sized bed and mattress, desk, desk lamp & chair, dresser & closet, bookshelves & wastebasket; each bedroom is approximately 3m x 2.4m
  • All suites fully furnished and include living room (two chairs, love seat & end tables), kitchen (table with four chairs, fridge & stove), two full bathrooms and two storage closets.  The suite is split into two sections with two bedrooms on each side. Each side has its own bathroom and storage closet. The living room, kitchen and entrance are placed between the two sections.
  • Dishes and glassware can be rented for $50 a kit.
  • To book, CLICK HERE 

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Ron Eydt Village (REV)

This rate includes free WiFi, parking for one vehicle, linens & towels upon check in, daily cleaning of the common areas and weekly linen/towel exchange.

  • Twin rooms can be reserved for single or double occupancy
  • Shared washrooms on each floor (one female and one male)
  • Each room contains two single beds, two desks with chairs, and two wardrobes 
  • Non-air-conditioned rooms
  • To book, CLICK HERE

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Courtyard by Marriott logo in gold text 

50 Benjamin Road, Waterloo, ON  N2V 2J9


  • $159.00 per night plus tax
  •  two queen beds OR one king bed and queen sofa bed
  • hot breakfast buffet
  • complimentary shuttle to the conference venue
  •  rooms furnished with a 55” tv with Marriott Guest Room Entertainment, small fridge, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board
  • complimentary high-speed wireless internet
  • the Bistro is open for breakfast, dinner, and as a lounge in the evening
  • Starbucks® coffee is proudly served throughout the day
  • fitness centre and guest laundry
  • complimentary parking

To reserve:

Click:    Book at the Courtyard
Or call: 519-884-9295

A limited number of rooms are available at this rate.  Rooms may be booked for nights between Monday, May 20 and Saturday, May 25, 2024.

April 20, 2024 is the last day to book at this rate.


Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton logo is white script text on blue backgroundHampton Inn and Suites

55 Benjamin Rd

Waterloo, ON  N2V 0C6


Homewood Suites by Hilton logo in blue text.Homewood Suites by Hilton

45 Benjamin Rd

Waterloo, ON  N2V 0C6

  • One King Studio w/ pull-out couch - $149.00 per night
  • One King (or Two Queens) One Bedroom suite w/ pull-out couch - $159.00 per night
  • Plus 4% MAT fee and 13% HST. 
  • Book online: 
  • Select dates and then select "Special Rates" -> "Corporate Account": 0002654995
  • Book by phone: please call 519-514-0088 and mention the numeric code 0002654995


Homewood Suites & Hampton Inn and Suites

 For a comparison of the two hotels, Click Here

Included in your rates at both properties:

  1. Full hot breakfast 
  2. Wi-Fi 
  3. Parking 
  4. 24H tea coffee served in lobby 
  5. Access to heated saltwater pool and fitness centre 
  6. Pet-friendly facilities (pet fees do apply: $50.00 at Hampton Inn $75.00 at Homewood Suites)
  7. 100% non-smoking hotels. 
  8. Guest coin laundry
  9. Manager’s reception Wednesdays (Homewood Suites only)   


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Getting here

Getting here

Travel by road

Finding your way may be just a matter of turning on your GPS. If you would like an independent understanding (and one pro tip that your navigation system may not know), the following directions should be useful. If coming from any substantial distance, you will probably reach Waterloo by Highway 401. Westbound, take exit 287. Eastbound, exit 287B, in both cases aiming for Highway 8 West.

In about 8.5 kilometers from Highway 401, Highway 8 will have widened from two lanes to four and you will reach the Conestoga Parkway (officially, the Kitchener-Waterloo Expressway), with a choice of King Street, Highway 7 and 8 West, and Highway 7 East.

Use the second lane from the right, onto Highway 7 East. (Pro tip:  the rightmost lane also goes to Highway 7 East, but then requires a very quick lane change to avoid exiting at Ottawa Street.)  Eventually, Highway 7 exits the expressway, which you should ignore. Remain on the expressway, which becomes Highway 85.

To proceed directly to the University campus, exit Highway 85 at University Avenue. There are two ramps:  use the second one, for University Avenue West. You will come to Wilfrid Laurier University first (at King Street) and reach the University of Waterloo immediately beyond it.

To reach the conference hotels, stay on Highway 85 and take the Northfield Drive West exit. Drive west on Northfield Drive to Weber Street. Turn left (north) and drive to Benjamin Road (less than 2 km) and the conference hotels.

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Travel by rail

For those coming from a substantial distance, rail travel implies first reaching Toronto Union Station. Those living along the rail line serving Kitchener don’t need to go through Toronto and almost certainly don’t need any instructions. Service between Toronto and Kitchener is provided by Via Rail (only one train per day) and GO Transit (several trains per day).

GO service is primarily aimed at commuters who live in Waterloo Region and work in Toronto. There are 7-8 trains into Toronto before noon and about as many out of Toronto after noon. In both cases, there are only two trains in the opposite direction. From the Kitchener rail station, a taxi is the only plausible option. (Municipal buses and the LRT are an inconvenient distance away if you’re managing luggage.

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Travel by air

There are three airports serving Waterloo. In order of distance:  Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF, located just outside of Kitchener), Pearson International Airport (YYZ), and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ).

YKF offers fairly limited services. WestJet has one flight a day to and from Calgary. Flair Airlines provides service to several cities in Canada:  Abbotsford (BC), Charlottetown (PE), Deer Lake (NL), Edmonton (AB), Halifax (NS), Kelowna (BC), and Winnipeg (MB). All of these Flair services are seasonal and will resume in early May, in time for the conference.

YYZ, being the largest airport in Canada, has service to and from very many cities in Canada.

Porter Airlines provides most of the service at YTZ, connecting Toronto with 18 other cities in Canada, including at least one in every province except Saskatchewan (direct flights to and from Toronto in all cases except Charlottetown). Air Canada has limited service, to and from only Montreal and Ottawa.

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Discounted fares available on WestJet

A fare discount is available for conference attendees on WestJet, which is applicable for travel to and from the conference during the period May 13 to June 1. The discount, for travel within Canada, is 5% off Econo fares and 10% off EconoFlex and Premium fares (no discount for Basic or Business fares). To make a booking online, go to and use the discount code 7G9Z7AC. (If you are booking through a travel agent, give them the code YBJ08 for use on GDS.)

Getting to the conference from the airport

There are very many options for ground transportation; the material below covers most of the reasonable ones. Please be aware that change happens. As an extreme example, GO Transit advises that the PDF versions of their schedules on their website may be out of date.

From YKF (Kitchener), a taxi is appropriate. Alternatively, rental cars are available, but only Avis and Enterprise. On leaving the airport, turn right onto Fountain Street/Regional Road 17 and in about 5 km., turn left onto Victoria Street/Highway 7. Go about 5.5 km., into Kitchener, turn left onto Bruce Street, then almost immediately right onto the expressway on-ramp for Highway 85 North, then follow the final part of the “by road” directions above.

From YYZ (Pearson Airport, Toronto), a taxi is also appropriate, but needs to be pre-booked. All three Kitchener-Waterloo taxi companies provide a Toronto-airport service:  City Cabs (, United Taxi (, and Waterloo Taxi ( A wide choice of rental cars is also available. When leaving the airport, look for Highway 427 South and then Highway 401 West. Then follow the road directions given above for Highway 401 westbound.

  • Air Canada has announced that on May 1 it will launch bus service linking Pearson and Hamilton Airports to Waterloo Region Airport. Some information is available on the Air Canada website, but details are still being worked out.

From YTZ (Toronto Island), the best option is likely to take the free shuttle to Union Station, then follow the rail directions, above. (You need to get from the airport to the mainland, either using the ferry or the pedestrian tunnel. The shuttle generally operates every 15 minutes and takes 15 minutes to reach Union Station.)  Rental cars are also available, but only Hertz and Enterprise. This option is not for the faint of heart—Toronto has the worst traffic congestion of any city in North America, and you will be starting out from deep inside the city core.

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Shuttles from hotel to conference venues

The conference will provide shuttle transportation between the conference hotels and conference venues on the UWaterloo campus (Thursday and Friday) and the Village at University Gates (Wednesday evening). Shuttles will also be provided for conference attendees residing on the UWaterloo campus, from Federation Hall to the Village at University Gates (Wednesday evening).

Shuttle service will be arranged for CURAC Board Members and Delegates for their meetings before and after the conference.

Detailed information and shuttle schedules will be included in your conference kit.

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University of Waterloo Campus Map

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Contact us

The conference co-chairs welcome your questions, requests, or suggestions.

Ron Champion

Jim Frank

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Let us know if you have a question. Others are probably wondering the same thing. (See “Contact us” for email addresses).

How can I register?

Visit the registration website to register. Full conference registrations are available now; one-day registrations will be available April 21, space permitting.

Must I stay at one of the conference hotels?

No. You can stay where you wish, but a conference shuttle service will be provided only between the conference hotels and the conference venues (Federation Hall on campus and the Village at University Gates for the Wednesday evening reception).

I have mobility issues. How much walking will there be?

All conference facilities are accessible. Conference sessions will be held on campus at Federation Hall. The Village at University Gates is also accessible.

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