GRT - ION LRT & Bus Tour

Tour 1: Sunday, October 20

1:00 - 5:00 pm

In June 2019, the Region of Waterloo and Grand River Transit officially launched the ION line.

ION light rail travels between Conestoga station in Waterloo and Fairway station in Kitchener, with a total of 19 stations along the route. At Fairway station, ION light rail connects to ION bus (Route 302) and travels to the Ainslie Street Terminal in Cambridge.

Be among the first to ride ION LRT and Bus with Region staff. Attendees will learn about key station and vehicle features, new developments and active transportation infrastructure along the route, and the plans for continuing light rail to Cambridge. There will be a brief walking tour in the historic core of Cambridge (Galt) before returning to the Crowne Plaza for the evening welcome reception.

NOTE: This tour has a 30 person registration limit. Please indicate your interest when registering.

Communitech Tour

Tour 2: Monday, October 21

3:30 - 4:30

The Waterloo innovation centre, Communitech,  will speak to the importance of sustainable transportation to the local tech industry.

What is Communitech
Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed. That’s our mission, our mantra, our reason for being. Everything we do ties back to collaboration and helping—values that run deep in our organization.

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.

Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways:

  • Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool stuff and great companies.
  • Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to go from a small startup to a global giant.

 Our team is dedicated and passionate. Regardless of role, we work together every day to help our tech companies overcome barriers to success. 

The Communitech Hub and the Data Hub
Our Hubs are the places we call home and are a clubhouse for the Waterloo Region tech community. We have 120,000+ square feet dedicated to world-leading collaboration and innovation. We bring together key players—from startups and global brands, to government agencies, academic institutions, tech incubators and accelerators—to create an environment like no other.

Focused on fuelling job creation and company growth, the Hubs keep buzzing well beyond typical business hours. They play host to events, special guests and other shenanigans, serve as collaborative office space for a mix of tech and non-tech companies, and offer drop-in space for guests.

Located in Uptown Waterloo, the Communitech Data Hub is our second home and a gathering point for the Region’s data-driven tech community. It is a 19,000+ square foot collaborative space in a heritage building at the heart of the Data District.

Like the name says, it focuses on the area of tech pushing the next wave if disruption: data. It’s a place for events, leading-edge speakers and deep data discussions that skew a bit more techy, even for Communitech.

A Guided Bike Ride in Kitchener:
Making Active Transportation Safe, Comfortable and … Beautiful

Tour 3: Tuesday October 22

3:00 to 5:00 pm

Through a guided bike ride, city staff will highlight the strategies, programs, and investments that are making active transportation the safe, comfortable and beautiful way to get around.
Make it safe.
Implemented in 2019, a 5km network of roadway was converted from four lanes to three lanes with separated bike lanes, providing a safe route for people to commute downtown or access community centres, schools, shopping centres, medical services and residences located along the route. This pilot project is being used to inform the creation of a new Cycling and Trails Master Plan focused on an all ages and abilities network, and Complete Streets guidelines to enhance active transportation facilities.
Make it comfortable.
The Iron Horse Trail is the city’s premier active transportation and recreational trail, used over 250,000 times per year. Recent investments in the trail focused on making a more comfortable walking and cycling experience through trail widening, improved amenities, year-round maintenance and 24/7 lighting, funded in part by grants focused on enhancing access to transit.
Make it beautiful.
The city’s Love My Hood resident-led traffic calming program encourages residents to make their street a canvas of creativity. On-street murals and painted crosswalks add vibrancy and a sense of place, making active transportation an attractive and memorable experience. The program is an important form of outreach and engagement, fostering partnerships with schools, the LGBTQ+ community, neighbourhood associations and informal groups of residents.
This guided tour will visit all these sites and more through a 10 km circular route, using both on-road and off-road facilities. Bikes will be provided by Drop Mobility, a bike share provider operating in Waterloo Region.

NOTE: This tour is full.

University of Waterloo:
Autonomous Vehicle Lab Tour

Tour 4: Wednesday, October 23

1:00 - 4:00 pm

To cap off an exciting conference, the University of Waterloo will be giving tours of their Autonomous Vehicle Lab! Come see the future of transportation and meet the people behind WatCAR!

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