Family in canoe on river

“We started travelling and adventuring outdoors before we had kids and have just made it a part of who we are as a family,” Charlene said. “People think that the adventures end when you have kids, but that’s not how it has to be. Now we have two more awesome adventure buddies we get to share these great experiences with.”

From the Grand Canyon to Cuba, this Kitchener family never shies away from exploring new places and doing new things. For Graham, the lure of adventure started close to home.

“We would swim in the Grand River and ride our bikes down the trails for hours,” Graham remembered. “Now that my kids are getting older, I want them to be able to explore the way I did growing up.”

They would rather be stamping their passports for trips abroad, but like everyone else, their travel plans have been grounded by the pandemic.

Lately, they’ve traded their wanderlust ways for hometown tourism.

“We’ve definitely enjoyed getting to know our city more,” Charlene said. “We love exploring different places like Huron Natural Area, the Walter Bean Trail and the Grand River, getting out and biking, hiking and taking advantage of this beautiful city we live in.”

“There are so many things to do in Waterloo Region,” Graham added. “The Grand River has a lot to offer as well with canoeing or kayaking, swimming, fishing and exploring the riverbank. There’s also the bike park, skate parks and splash pads.” 
Residents don’t have to look far to find ways to stay physically and mentally active in Kitchener.

“This past year has been challenging for all of us,” Charlene said. “We’ve had to cancel a lot of plans lately, but we chose to make the best of it. Having this mindset turned a year that could have been viewed as a big disappointment, into a year we will never forget.”

Two kids playing at edge of river
Family standing by river
Woman in field with many dogs

Lili Romeo provides professional dog services, and local parks and open spaces are where she spends much of her time.

“One of my favourite things to do during the pandemic has been to explore new spots with my dogs,” Romeo said. “With so many people spending more time indoors and isolated, finding the time to get out and be outdoors and stay connected with friends and family, even at a distance, has been a huge help to stay in good spirits over this past year.”

If you’re a Kitchener resident looking for things to do in your neighbourhood, create a MyKitchener account and use the What’s Near Me widget for parks, trails, community centres and other amenities close to home.