Downtown revitalization in action

A couple of Saturdays ago I attended a celebration commemorating 50 years of geography at Wilfrid Laurier University – I obtained my BA and MA there a “few” years ago. And hey, what’s a geography get together without a field trip? I picked the tour of Downtown Kitchener led by my thesis advisor, Dr. Bob Sharpe. Anyone whose last exposure to Downtown Kitchener was a decade or longer ago should visit again and see the remarkable transformation of the core.

Spurred on by a $100+ million economic development fund, an old shoe factory has been turned into trendy lofts, coal tar has been cleaned out from the ground, there’s a new intermodal transit station and a tannery that houses hi-tech companies like Google and Communitech, one of the finest examples of business incubation anywhere. Some things still don’t look ideal, so it’s clear the transformation is still in progress, but isn’t it always? Kudos to the staff and political visionaries who could see what others couldn’t and for making a calculated investment in what is the heart and soul of their community. You can see more of the great work being done in Kitchener here, including a Downtown Kitchener project map.