About Waterloo, Waterloo and Waterloo

About the University of Waterloo

The best and brightest are drawn to the University of Waterloo for its renowned academic programs, its world-leading co-operative education program, and its teaching and research excellence. The university embraces the opportunity to collaborate with — and be elevated by — a world-class peer group.

University of Waterloo during the fall

The University of Waterloo champions a culture of curiosity, exploration, risk-taking, entrepreneurship, global stewardship and leadership. Waterloo brings bold ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovation with global impact today and in the future.

University of Waterloo facts — computer science

  • Waterloo is ranked number one for computer science for the fourth year in a row based on program and research reputation according to the Maclean’s 2023 university rankings, and among the top 25 internationally for computer science according to the 202420232022 and 2021 Quacquarelli Symonds worldwide university subject rankings.
  • Nationally and internationally recognized faculty — the Cheriton School of Computer Science is home to nine Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, ten Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery, seven Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, three Canada Research Chairs, two NSERC Industrial Research Chairs, and 17 Ontario Early Researcher Award winners; find out more about our award-winning faculty.
  • Waterloo is the only Canadian university to win the International Collegiate Programming Competition, taking the prized title in 1994 and again in 1999. Since 1993, Waterloo has qualified for the ICPC World Finals 28 times, been ICPC World Champions twice, and ICPC North American Champions seven times. Learn more about our history at the ICPC.
  • Cheriton School of Computer Science faculty have launched more than 50 companies and start-ups, among them AxelarBioinformatics Solutions Inc. (BSI)InductivMaplesoftOpenText, Rapid NovorRapidMind, and RSVP.ai
  • Waterloo’s youngest graduate student, Erik Demaine, was just over 14 years old when he enrolled in computer science at Waterloo. He completed his PhD by age 20 under the supervision of Cheriton School of Computer Science Professors Anna Lubiw and Ian Munro. Erik Demaine is now a professor in computer science at MIT.
  • Cheriton School of Computer Science doctoral students have become professors at universities across the globe, including at MIT, Harvard, Cornell, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford, the University of Alberta and UBC.

  • Cheriton School of Computer Science undergraduate alumni excel in graduate programs around the world, and are sought after by tech giants, innovative startups, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. Cheriton undergrads have founded multi-million dollar companies, among them Wish and Maluuba.

photo of the Davis Centre and bridge to MC

The Davis Centre (L), lit up as the sun sets, is where the Cheriton School of Computer Science resides. DC is connected to the Math and Computer Building by a two-story accessible bridge — a bridge that’s both physical and metaphorical. The MC Building is where computer science at Waterloo started. We continue to have deep connections to the other four academic departments within Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics.

At most universities, departmental branches of computer science and mathematics are typically housed within a faculty of science or a faculty of arts. But at Waterloo mathematics is a faculty.

University of Waterloo facts — general

Peter Russell Rock Garden in spring

photo of Waterloo's Peter Russell Rock Garden

Waterloo’s Peter Russell Rock Garden was created in 1982 to commemorate the university’s 25th anniversary. Voted best outdoor space, this educational and beautiful landmark in the heart of campus has grown steadily over the years to contain more than 70 specimens of rocks and minerals.

The rock garden is a few minutes away by foot from the Cheriton School of Computer Science. It's a beautiful spot all year long, but especially in the spring and fall.

Beyond Tradition — A documentary about the University of Waterloo and its early days in CS research and application

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ken McLaughlin has spent his career uncovering and shaping the stories of our local communities into urban portraits that breathe with the life of great biographies. 

Take a walk through time as he uncovers Waterloo’s historic legacies, including the introduction of co-operative education, early entrepreneurial ventures that lead to revolutionary spin-off companies, and the integration of computers and computer science in the post-secondary world. 

The video captures key moments of Waterloo’s history, and starting at ~6:40 it recounts our early days in computer science research and application, pioneered by Wes Graham, a professor and the first director of the university’s computer centre.

About Waterloo Region and the City of Waterloo

Waterloo is a dynamic urban centre well known for its cultural diversity and high-tech savvy.

Often rated as one of the top 10 cities to live in Canada, Waterloo attracts business talent and students from around the world, advancing its reputation as one of the country’s smartest communities.

The cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge are known as the tri-cities. Over time, they have grown so that their borders are no longer distinct and they now share several services, such as bussing, through the larger Region of Waterloo.

The City of Waterloo’s population in 2020 was about 150,000. The Region of Waterloo — made up of the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, and four surrounding townships — is the 10th largest community in Canada with a population of 620,000. The region is targeting to reach a population of 740,000 by 2031.

According to the Waterloo Region Association of Realtors, in April 2024 the following were the average prices for housing in the area:

  • Detached home — $938k Cdn
  • Semi-detached home — $666k Cdn
  • Townhouse — $661k Cdn
  • Condominium — $486k Cdn

The University of Waterloo is within commuting distance of several nearby towns and cities. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to drive across Kitchener-Waterloo. Based on Google Maps, the following are approximate drive times to nearby cities and points of interest: 

  • Pearson International Airport: 60 minutes
  • Toronto, Ontario (provincial capital): 90 minutes
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario: 90 minutes
  • Buffalo, New York: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Detroit, Michigan: 3 hours
  • Ottawa, Ontario (capital of Canada): 6 hours

If you are interested in moving to Waterloo, the following links give insight into what the city offers. Some of the links are to realtor or commercial business sites. These resources have been marked with an asterisk. This is not an endorsement or recommendation, but the information may be useful.

General information about the region

Why Waterloo is a great place to live

Neighbourhoods, schools and multicultural services

Kitchener-Waterloo is made up of several distinct neighbourhoods. The following links will help you understand the neighbourhoods and find ones that are best for you.

Ontario has two publicly funded school boards — the public school board and the Catholic school board. In addition to these boards are a variety of private schools that may meet your family’s educational needs.

Waterloo is proud of the diversity of its population. The following sites can help you find a community within your new community.

Getting around the Region of Waterloo

Waterloo Region has invested heavily in alternative modes of transportation. From the new Ion Light Rail system to get you around the city, a GO station to help you commute to Toronto, and a network of well-maintained bike trails, Waterloo wants you to get around in the way that best suits your needs.

University of Waterloo Ion station

The University of Waterloo Ion station provides easy access for students, staff and faculty from the university’s main campus. The station is between Engineering 5 and the Davis Centre, which houses the Cheriton School of Computer Science, on main campus.

Finding employment

If you are moving to work at the University of Waterloo, the following sites may be great resources to help others who move with you to find work. 

Entertainment, children’s activities and restaurants

From the world-class exhibits that come through THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener to the art-house movies shown at the Princess and Apollo Cinemas, the region offers a wide range of entertainment.

If you are interested in live entertainment, the Centre In The Square has one of the best acoustic performance areas in the world and is home to the KW Symphony. The Aud in Kitchener is home to the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers and, like the Centre In The Square, also hosts a variety of music and entertainment acts.

Waterloo Region is a great place for families. From nontraditional camps to house-league sports, you can find an activity to suit anyone’s interest.

Looking to try a new place to eat? The following links are a good start to learn about the variety of dining options in the city.