Waterloo Region Emergency Services Training and Research Centre (WRESTRC)

The Waterloo Region Emergency Services Training and Research Centre (WRESTRC) is a large-scale training facility developed to serve all of the Region's Municipal Fire Departments, the Regional Police Service, and the Region's Emergency Medical Service.

Please contact 519-575-4400.   


Arial view of the WRESTRC training and research facility

History of our Facility:

The WRESTRC facility opened in April of 2003. As was mentioned in a feasibility report by the University of Waterloo, a joint cooperative venture was worth considering. The need for this facility to be located away from populated areas would necessitate land purchase and site services, both of which would put the project out of the reach of one municipality. With the Regional land adjacent to the Region's Waste Management Centre being proposed as a viable site, it now required a partnership between the potential users if this was to become financially feasible.

A proposal was made by Regional staff that the Region own and operate the facility, allowing Region and non-Region emergency services access for training activities. Capital funding required to build the facility would come from municipal and Regional government. All emergency services interest groups agreed to this management and development formula.

With this single owner model, the Region would be responsible for managing the site and its structures while the core users would be responsible for their training activities on the site. Future expansion would be a collaborative effort by all.

The other partnership that makes this facility so unique is the participation of the University of Waterloo. The University, specifically the Mechanical Engineering Department, and the Applied Health Sciences Department, are always looking for opportunities to expand their research capabilities. After extensive written proposals by the University, the funding was secured for the development and construction of a fire science research building. The Region saw this as a viable extension of the facility's mandate and invited the University to locate their research building on the Regional training site. The University would construct a building on land provided by the Region at a token rent.

This unique partnership between various emergency services, different levels of government, and local post-secondary educational institutions is a glowing example of local cooperation meeting the challenge of limited resources and funding. This synergistic approach has provided a world class facility which would never have been feasible by the individual groups alone.

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The WRESTRC training facility has the following key features:

Administration Building: 

The Administration Building is the first structure encountered upon entering the complex property. This building has approximately 16,000 sq. ft. of floor space all on one level and is divided into three functional areas: administration/classroom area; employee fitness centre and emergency services area. The parking area can accommodate up to 56 vehicles.

Classrooms/Meeting Rooms:

  • Two classrooms which can be joined into one large room accommodating 80 to 100 people comfortably.  Each room includes a video projector which can work separately or concurrently, a white board and a built-in PA system for use with the double room.
  • A small meeting room accommodating approximately 12 people, which has a smart board with built in video projector, and a white board.
  • A lunch room with small kitchenette.  No cooking facilities.

Emergency Services Area:

Large double garage bay with a lockable gear storage room, a workshop and SCBA air supply equipment.  There is also access to locker rooms and showers for after training. 

Region Employee Fitness Centre:

A well equipped gym for members only. The facility is accessible 24 hours.

Training Ground:

Firefighter training photo

The driver training track is approximately 1.2 km of paved road surface with a 40 m by 200 m "skid pad" area designed for vehicle manoeuvring and control exercises.

The fire training building is a 3000 square feet, multi-level concrete building.  The high-rise section is seven stories.  The low-rise section varies in height from one to five stories and has three burn rooms. Fire crews can simulate "class A" structure fires in the low-rise area and smoke exercises with minimal heat in the high-rise area.  With the assistance of the University of Waterloo Engineering Dept., we can monitor temperatures throughout the training structure.

 Vehicle emergency training photo



Prop sites are available for specific and specialized training such as hydro emergencies, confined space emergencies, vehicle fires, trench rescue and flash-over simulation. These sites are located on the interior road system within the driver training track loop and adjacent to the fire training building.


The entire complex is fenced and gated for authorized users only.  It is accessible on a 24 hour, seven day basis to user groups.

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U of W Research Facility:


The University Research Building is managed and maintained by the University of Waterloo and is used to advance the fire science and fire fighting industry.

U of W Research Building

Community links:

Cambridge Fire Department

Kitchener Fire Department

Waterloo Fire Department

North Dumfries Fire Department

Wellesley Fire Department

Wilmot Fire Department

Woolwich Fire Department

Waterloo Regional  Police Services

Waterloo Region Paramedic Services (Ambulance)

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