I am kind of embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Waterloo, Ontario before I met my husband Roger. Waterloo, Iowa, yes. But Waterloo, Ontario? Sorry, but it was not on my radar. I'm sure I had passed through on one of my trips to Toronto or Niagra Falls, but I probably wasn't paying attention to the signs. Little did I know then that I would one day make this place my home.
Roger, on the other hand, has been a life-long resident of Waterloo region and was proud to show off his home. What I remember most from my whirlwind tour guided by Roger that beautiful spring weekend was the sights, sounds and smells of the St. Jacobs Market, the flowers growing in perfect little rows as we drove through Mennonite country, the gorgeous town of Elora with all of the stone churches, quaint shops and, of course, the rushing water. And when I experienced Kitchener-Waterloo, I loved the wonderful mix of old and new. I loved Waterloo Park and Victoria Park. I loved the fact that it wasn't a grid and that many of the streets had curves and interest. I considered Waterloo to have everything one would need in terms of shopping, education, work, etc., and I loved the fact that this location is just minutes away from country living and a short drive to Toronto anytime I wanted a more urban experience.
All of my observations that weekend were based on the "feel" of the area. I was looking to "Startup" a relationship, not a business. So, in my mind, I wanted to know if I would be happy making this place my home. Did it feel warm and cozy, without being boring? Was it pretty and clean? Was it cultural and interesting? I must admit, it felt right.
It wasn't until after I moved here and began to settle in that I realized that I got the best of all worlds...an amazing partner-for-life, a beautiful community to call my home AND it really is an amazing place to be in business.
I feel very blessed to work in this region, and I know that it has become my home because when I've been away and return back here, I feel like I'm in the right place. And when I run across an article like this one, I feel very proud that this city that I had never heard of until I met Roger Martin is a city that made it to the top 20 cities in the world to start-up a business.