Laurelwood is a fast-growing community located in the north-west corner of Waterloo (real estate area 0441). It’s mostly residential, quiet and close to nature, yet not too far to enjoy a trip into UpTown Waterloo, downtown Kitchener, the Boardwalk shopping area and the University of Waterloo or Wilfrid Laurier University.
Walkability of the Area
Laurelwood is conveniently located close to the Laurelwood Shopping Centre. This mall features Starbucks, Sobeys, CIBC, TD Canada Trust as well as a variety of restaurants and retail stores. Residents are close to Old Oak Park and the Laurel Creek Conservation Area, which features the Laurel Creek Reservoir and the Laurel Creek Look-Out Tower. Besides year round hiking and dog-walking, swimming is popular in the summertime and the conservation area is a popular destination for cross-country skiing in the winter. Erbsville Kartway is also nearby, offering the excitement of Go-Kart racing to residents. The new Stork Family YMCA and John M Harper branch of the Waterloo Public Library are located at 500 Fischer-Hallman Road, the entrance to Laurelwood.
Local Access and Public Transportation
Grand River Transit provides public transportation for the people of Laurelwood, with service recently increased to halve the wait time for people who travel by bus. Recently, the Waterloo Regional Council decided to go ahead with plans to build a light rail transit (LRT) line to provide faster public transit in the Waterloo Region. Pre-construction has already begun on the line and it is scheduled to begin operating in 2017. The major artery into the area is Laurelwood Dr., which connects to Erbsville Road to the west and Bearinger Road and Fischer-Hallman Road North to the east. Bearinger connects to Westmount Road North, leading to Northfield Drive West, toward the Conestoga Mall and St Jacobs market and outlet mall and connecting to Conestoga Parkway. Fischer-Hallman leads to Columbia Street West, past the Universities and the High Tech area into the top end of Waterloo retail business district.
Education: Elementary and Secondary Schools
Laurelwood Public School is the highest ranked public school in the Waterloo Region, improving its rating score from 8.6 to 9.7 in the Education Quality and Accountability Office test that monitors the reading, writing and mathematical progress of students in grade three and grade six. This score is good enough to place it among the top 25 of all public schools in Ontario. St. Nicholas is another top-ten school in the Waterloo Region, scoring 7.8 in the EQAO test performed by the Fraser Institute. Laurelwood’s high school is the Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School (SJAM), with an enrolment of 1,519 students as of the 2011-2012 semester. This high school is lauded for its jazz program and its drama department, which tend to do well in regional competitions. Their rugby team travels the world to compete and their girls’ field hockey team placed second in Ontario for the last two years straight. SJAM is one of the highest ranked secondary schools in the region.
Income Demographics and Local Tax Rates
The residential tax rate for Laurelwood is 1.210081 percent, with 0.370238 percent going to the city of Waterloo, 0.627843 percent going to the region of Waterloo and 0.212 percent diverted to all school boards. The median household income is $65,522 and after tax that adjusts to $55,186. The largest income group is comprised of households that make over $100,000 per year, with approximately 25 percent occupying this income bracket.
Annual Events and Festivals
The biggest local event in Laurelwood is the Family Fun Fair, which features a variety of vendors and carnival frivolity. The proceeds benefited the local library and the YMCA. The largest event in the Waterloo region is Oktoberfest, which has grown to become North America’s premiere Bavarian festival. The Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of biggest in the world and part of the week-long Oktoberfest festivities.
Kitchener Waterloo is great for people who enjoy all four seasons, featuring warm summers, winter snow, a blooming spring and a temperate fall season. The hottest month is July, with an average high of 26 degrees between 1981 and 2010, while the coldest month is January, with an average high of minus 2.6 degrees.
Issues Facing the Laurelwood Community
According to the Laurelwood Community Association, the latest Family Fun Fair resulted in unsatisfactory noise levels and some damage to the lawns of residents. The area recently fought against Hydro One to get rid of herbicide use. Residents have been urged to keep their eyes peeled when in the area of St. Nicholas Catholic School, as illegitimate activities have been an issue when the sun goes down. In terms of traffic, roundabouts have caused controversy as they are considered a headache to navigate for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, Waterloo Region as a whole is considered the roundabout capital of Canada, much to the ire of Laurelwood and Waterloo residents.
Call to action
Despite these issues, Laurelwood real estate offers excellent residential living and is close to the University of Waterloo, a world-class scholastic institution. This area in the Region of Waterloo is also close to nature, offering a quiet respite from busy city life. If you like mountain biking, north through the rolling hills toward St Clements is a popular route. Laurelwood, because of it’s great schools and close proximity to the Universities and high-tech science park is considered by many people to be the most popular neighbourhood to live in all of Waterloo Region. Please call or email if you are interested in looking at homes in Laurelwood.