Things to Do in Waterloo Region in April 

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by Alex Kinsella | April 2024

Spring is the season to explore the tastes and scenic views of Waterloo Region. This month, take a ghostly tour of Castle Kilbride, spice up your life with international comedy talent, and get your tabletop game going at Ragnarok. Plus, we’ve got two road trip plans for book lovers (book club road trip, anyone?) 

Here’s our list of amazing events to check out this April across Waterloo Region! 

Building More Than Real Estate: A Fireside Chat with Scott Higgins | April 3 

The City of Waterloo is proud to host the 2024 Ontario Bike Summit across venues in Uptown Waterloo.
On Wednesday, April 3, you can purchase tickets to an exclusive fireside chat with community builder Scott Higgins at the Centre for International Government Innovation (CIGI). Higgins will discuss creating supportive public spaces that inspire community confidence and joy, designing cities built for the human spirit, and active transportation’s role in it all.
Pro tip: CIGI is located right off the Laurel Trail. It connects to Waterloo Park to the north and Downtown Kitchener to the south. That means you can bike to this event: it’s a great way to see Waterloo Region’s cycling infrastructure in action! 

St Jacobs Market Food Tour | April 4, 11, 18, and 25 

Whether you want to learn more about your favourites or discover something new, the St. Jacobs Market Food Tour is your guide to exploring the delectable delights of Ontario’s best local food market. The Stroll Walking Tours team offers tours every Thursday in April. 

Spice Up Your Life Comedy Tour | April 4 

Some of Toronto’s top comedians are here for an evening of laughs with the Spice Up Your Life Comedy Tour. Bonggun B. Kim, Freddy Jan, and Harvasp Khatow have performed on Just For Laughs, Roast Battle, Toronto Fringe and more—now see them live in person at The Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre. 

KW Wine & Food Show | April 5 

The KW Wine & Food Show is a two-day celebration of food and drink from across Ontario, featuring offerings from local restaurants, breweries, cideries, and distilleries. Guests can indulge in craft beers, cocktails, wines, and delicious food tastings. There will also be live cooking demonstrations, wine pairing seminars, live music, and themed lounges to explore. Tickets include a souvenir tasting glass and entry to all the festivities. 

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival | April 6 

This year marks the 60th edition of the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival – Canada’s largest single-day festival of things syrup! Celebrate with thousands of your friends and enjoy over 100 vendors, maple syrup and taffy tastings, and an exciting family fun area. You can also take a sugar bush tour to see how maple syrup gets from trees to your table.
April 7 and 7 are Maple Weekend in Ontario, and you can discover dozens of unique maple producers to visit while you’re here!
Pro tip: Leave the car at home and take the train to the festival. Waterloo Central Railway offers commuter rail service for this year’s Elmira Maple Syrup Festival from the ION Northfield LRT and St. Jacobs Farmers Market stations. 

Button Factory Arts 90s Dance Fundraiser  | April 6 

Dance the night away for a fantastic cause at Button Factory Arts’ 90s Dance Fundraiser! The community art centre is celebrating 30 years of shows, exhibitions, workshops, and more. DJ King Kadee will spin 90s hits for you to get your groove on, and there will be a candy table and cash bar. 

Eclipse Day at THEMUSEUM | April 8 

The Great North American Eclipse happens on April 8, and THEMUSEUM has a special day of programming to learn about this once-in-a-lifetime event. This day of “eclipse programming” is included with your regular admission fee, so you can enjoy various activities and learn more about this fascinating astronomical phenomenon. 

Blue Jays Home Opener Tailgate Party | April 8 

Hey, Blue Jays fans! The Gaslight District is throwing its first BYO… tailgate party of the season to celebrate the Toronto Blue Jays’ Home Opener against the Seattle Mariners! Cheer on the Jays on Canada’s biggest screen as you enjoy this free, rain-or-shine event. Bring your own food, drinks, grills, decorations, and most importantly, your game day spirit!  Leave the car at home – District Square will buzz with fellow fans, but open to anything else you need for the ultimate tailgate experience. 

Scrapfest Kitchener | April 12 & 13 

Scrapbookers, cardmakers, stampers, and mixed-media artists are in for a treat at this year’s Scrapfest at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. Over 25 exhibitors will be on hand to help you discover the latest products on the market, learn a new technique, and purchase some needed crafting supplies.  

Ghost Walks at Castle Kilbride | April 13 

Think ghosts aren’t real? Find out for yourself with a haunted adventure at Castle Kilbride! This unique ghost tour, led by Ghost Walks, explores the mansion’s rumoured hauntings. Hear tales of a persistent artist, playful spirits, and a ghostly antique’s homecoming. You’ll even learn a theory about how a resident ghost scared away a minister! Space is limited, so register in advance for this thrilling journey through the castle’s paranormal past. 

KW Titans Basketball | April 13, 17, 20, 27, and 30 

You have opportunities to catch thrilling Basketball Super League action at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium in April! Your KW Titans play the Jamestown Jackals on April 13, the rivals the London Lightning on April 17, the Derby City Distillers from Kentucky on April 20, the Sudbury Five on April 27, and last but not least, the Reading Rebels on April 30. 

Champagne Weather | April 17 

Experience the ethereal sounds of Canadian folk fusion band Champagne Weather at Emmanuel United Church. Expect intricate cello, ukulele, violin, and vocal harmonies, all grounded by a low-fi synth hum. If you love genre-bending artists like Laurie Anderson and Jane Siberry, don’t miss Champagne Weather’s mesmerizing live performance. 

Theatre Wellesley presents “Making God Laugh” | April 18–21 and 25–28 

Theatre Wellesley presents “Making God Laugh,” a heartwarming and honest look at a family’s journey across four decades. The play unfolds through four scenes, capturing the hopes, fears, and unspoken truths that bind and challenge a family. Don’t miss this funny, poignant, and thought-provoking exploration of family ties. 

Cambridge Food Tour | April 19 

Explore Downtown Cambridge’s delicious diversity with Stroll Walking Tours! Savour six tastings from unique restaurants, gourmet shops, and hidden gems. Meet passionate chefs and enjoy sweet treats, local bites, and historic Galt along the Grand River. You’ll discover hidden gems and leave with a full stomach and a taste for more! 

Matt Weidinger | April 20 

Head to Farm League Brewing in Cambridge for an electrifying night with Matt Weidinger. Get ready for two sets by the local Hammond Organ maestro and his stellar lineup of musicians. Don’t miss your chance to experience Matt’s distinctive blend of rock, blues, and nostalgia. 

Ragnarok Tabletop Convention | April 20–21 

Grab your dice for Ontario’s fastest-growing tabletop game convention—Ragnarok! Ragnarok is a tabletop gaming convention created by local gamers to bring the community together. It offers a welcoming space to play board games, RPGs, card games, and miniature games at THEMUSEUM in Downtown Kitchener. 

The Will They Or Won’t They Tour | April 27 

Get ready for an evening of laughs and Canadian icons! Jann Arden and Rick Mercer have joined forces for their “Will They or Won’t They Tour,” coming to Centre in the Square on April 27. It’s an unscripted and unrehearsed show that promises an unforgettable experience. 

Two Book Lover Road Trips to Waterloo Region 

We all love reading as a way to escape, whether that’s to another country, era, or even planet. This month, we have two weekend road trip itineraries that will help you escape to Waterloo Region to explore some fantastic literary treasures.  

Itinerary 1 – Explore the Literary Scene in Cambridge 
You’ve seen landmarks from Cambridge in Hollywood productions of literary classics, including “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Queen’s Gambit”. Visit Cambridge in April to see your favourite literary television and movie scenes in real life and make some memories while you’re here! 

There are many beautiful places to stay in Cambridge, including the recently opened Laundry Rooms (15 Glebe St.) in The Gas Light District. Located close by is Cambridge’s Old Post Office, a branch of the city’s Idea Exchange library system. This award-winning facility provides breathtaking views of the Grand River, with something new to discover on each floor. 

While in Cambridge, stop by Phidon Pens (63 Dickson St.) to shop its collection of fountain pens, mechanical pencils, inks, specialty calligraphy papers, and premium notebooks. Owners Mano and Baldeep Duggal have curated products from around the world, including Japanese fountain pens by Platinum and Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. Mano’s favourite reading spot is right next door at Disko Coffee (63 Dickson St.).  

“It’s an amazing coffee shop that sells magazines you cannot find easily,” says Mano. 

Phidon Pens and Disko Coffee are hosting a sketching workshop with artist Marek Badzynski on Saturday, April 6, from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. Later that evening, grab dinner and a drink at the Foundry Tavern in The Gaslight District. They’ll have live music from Brown & Cooper to dine and dance along to. 

On Sunday, head to Castle Kilbride National Historic Site in Baden to see your favourite literary classics come to life at its Fabled Exhibit. Explore the grand rooms of the castle transformed by scenes from classic tales like Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and even Romeo & Juliet. The “Fabled” exhibit, co-curated with the Stratford Festival Archives, showcases Laura Louise Livingston’s childhood books alongside costumes from famous Stratford productions. It’s a magical journey through the power of storytelling, perfect for visitors of all ages. 

Itinerary 2 – Explore the Literary Scene of Kitchener and Waterloo 

Kitchener and Waterloo are home to some of our favourite Canadian authors, including Newbery winner Erin Bow, TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award winner Heather Smith, Tasneem Jamal, and Emily Urquhart. This month, explore the communities they call home with this getaway on the weekend of April 6. 

Book a room at the Walper Hotel in Downtown Kitchener. The hotel recently celebrated its 130th anniversary, and its Lokal Lounge overlooking King St. is the perfect spot for an afternoon reading session. Kayleigh Platz, one of the founders of Romance by the Book, said while her favourite reading spot is curled up with her cat and glass of wine, her favourite writing spot can be found in Downtown Kitchener.  

“For writing, I love the reading area at Kitchener Public Library’s central branch on Queen St.,” says Kayleigh. 

The latest book on her reading list also happens to be from another local author, Robin Lefler. 

“I read multiple books at once, and right now, I have ‘Not How I Pictured It’ by Robin Lefler. It’s fiction with a romance sub-plot out and comes out on April 23,” she says.

If you finish your current read while you’re here, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with two great independent bookshops. A Second Look Books (109 King St. W.) recently moved into its new space, where you’ll find an extensive collection of new and used books for every taste.  

Down King St. in Waterloo, you’ll find one of our favourite local bookstores—Words Worth Books (96 King St. S.). Co-owner Mandy Brouse said her favourite spot to read is down the street at Café 22 (22 King. St. S.). Prefer a beer over coffee while you read? Co-owner David Worsley has his favourite close by. 

“The patio next door at the Duke of Wellington is great,” says David. 

Miss the days of school book fairs? Counterpoint Brewing has you covered with Books and Brews on Saturday, April 13. This event brings you a curated selection of independent publishers, offering unique books, comics, and greeting cards you won’t find anywhere else. Get ready to meet some friends you might recognize from the local literary scene! 

For dinner, grab a table at the Grand Trunk Saloon (30 Ontario St. S.). Their cocktails and Southern-inspired dishes are favourites of local authors and journalists alike. 

Whatever your literary (or culinary) tastes, Waterloo Region has something for everyone! 

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