Arts, Culture and Heritage

The Region of Waterloo recognizes the important role that arts, culture and heritage play enriching the lives of residents and attracting talent and visitors to Waterloo Region

Region of Waterloo Archives

The Region of Waterloo Archives is a research centre for Waterloo Region. The Archives preserves and provides access to the archives of the:

  • County of Waterloo (1829-1972)
  • Region of Waterloo (1973-present)
  • Township of Woolwich (1851-present)
  • Town of Elmira (1886-1972)
  • Waterloo Regional Police Service (1851-present)
  • related agencies, boards, commissions and individuals

The Archives is a public space. Records are kept in a secure vault, yet are accessible to citizens. Visit the Region of Waterloo Archives for more information.

Region of Waterloo Museums

As centres of discovery, the Region of Waterloo museums are essential to understanding our place in the world - past, present and future.

Visit a site below for details on facilities, events, hours of operation and more:

Heritage Conservation Toolbox 

The Heritage Conservation Toolbox is your source for information, policies and guidelines related to cultural heritage resource conservation in Waterloo Region. In it you'll find information on:

  • Resources for heritage property owners
  • Conservation incentives
  • Polices, planning and guidelines 
  • Heritage organizations
  • Waterloo Region Public Building Inventory
  • Heritage Designation Resources
  • Spanning the Generations: A Study of Old Bridges in Waterloo Region
  • Historic Countryside Tours

Heritage Bridges 

The Region of Waterloo has unveiled plaques across Waterloo Region to commemorate many of our most significant historic bridges. Bridges play an important role that goes beyond their obvious transportation function. The best of them become familiar and distinctive landmarks that contribute to a strong sense of place and help to tell the story of our communities. Find out more about our heritage bridges by visiting the Heritage Bridge Recognition Program page. 

News Updates

Sign up for the local cultural heritage information update. Provide your contact information and select the Local Cultural Heritage Information category.

Historic Countryside Tours

This package of four tours, one for each township in Waterloo Region, includes a variety of historic and scenic attractions. They're great for cyclists, hikers, day trippers, heritage enthusiasts, local residents and visitors. 

Heritage Planning Advisory Committee

The Heritage Planning Advisory Committee advises the Region on heritage policies, issues and strategies. It also develops resources and hosts workshops about various aspects of heritage conservation. 

Key Cultural Institutions

The Region of Waterloo and area municipalities of Kitchener and Waterloo provide financial support to Key Cultural Institutions that are recognized as unique and intrinsic to the cultural infrastructure of the greater region. The artistic and cultural programming they present and the facilities that they manage contribute to the artistic, social and economic vitality of the region. This program provides stipulated operating assistance, in the form of a stable funding base to enhance the ability of key cultural institutions to produce, perform or present artistic works and cultural programming and to manage their facilities for the benefit of the people of the region.

Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation 

The Waterloo Region Heritage Foundation offers funding for investment in heritage-related initiatives through an annual per capita allocation from the Region of Waterloo. Grants are available for projects/events, buildings and publications. 

Doors Open 

On the third Saturday of every September, you're invited to tour noteworthy buildings, interesting places and heritage sites in Waterloo Region, many of which are not regularly open to the public. Visit the Doors Open Waterloo Region page for details. 

Tourism and Events 

Whether you're a visitor or resident of Waterloo Region, there's plenty to see and do year round. Our region provides the perfect balance between new and old, rural and urban, nature and technology, classical and contemporary, tranquility and adventure. Visit Explore Waterloo Region, the region's tourism site, to get information on events, places to stay and eat, and things to see and do.

Public Art

Public art enhances the positive perception of a community and raises its cultural profile. Visit the Public Art Program page for information on public art in Waterloo Region and upcoming projects.

Major Arts and Culture Organizations Grant Program

This grant program aims to support the vibrancy and resiliency of Arts and Culture Organizations with artistic and cultural programming presented in public facilities, contributing to the artistic, social and economic vitality of the region. This support ensures the stability, accessibility, and accountability of their programs for the benefit of our growing and evolving community.

This grant program provides one-time operating funding to eligible organizations to enhance their ability to produce and/or present artistic works and cultural programming.

This program supports the Region of Waterloo in its strategic objective to support the arts, culture and heritage sectors to enrich the lives of residents and attract visitors to Waterloo Region.

This grant program has been modelled off the Key Cultural Institutions guidelines, with alterations to the
guidelines eligibility criteria and expedited assessment process. Unlike the KCI process, this is not a collaborative
funding program.

For more information, please visit the Major Arts and Culture Organizations Grant Program guidelines.

Eligible cultural organizations in Waterloo Region are encouraged to apply by downloading and completing the Major Arts and Culture Organizations Grant Program application form. Please note this application will reopen in May 2025. 

Questions? Email Cultural Services.

 Cultural Drivers of Tourism Incentive Program

This incentive program aims to develop Waterloo Region's cultural assets that create local distinctiveness to increase comparative advantages in an increasingly competitive tourism marketplace. 

The grant provides one-time funding to arts, cultural and heritage organizations in recognition of their role in attracting and extending tourist stays to the Region. Funding to eligible organizations is based on the number of tourists attending eligible public programs and events in the Region. The budget for this program is set annually by Council. 

For more information, please visit the Cultural Drivers of Tourism Incentive Program guidelines. 

Eligible cultural organizations in Waterloo Region are encouraged to apply by downloading and completing the Cultural Drivers Worksheet and the Cultural Drivers of Tourism Incentive Program application form, which opens Monday, May 27, 2024. Please note the Cultural Drivers application deadline is Friday, June 28, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. 

Questions? Email Cultural Services. 

Region of Waterloo Arts Fund 

The Region of Waterloo Arts Fund is a not-for-profit corporation established in 2002 by the Region of Waterloo. It was created to operate at arm's length from the Region to grant funding for the performing, visual and literary arts through an annual per capita allocation.

Photo and Video Consent Form (Cultural Services only)

Please complete the photo or video consent form if requested.

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