The history-rich city of Kitchener is situated in the heart of Ontario Province, approximately one hour away from several other major cities including Mississauga and Toronto. The city is the headquarters of the Kitchener metro area which also includes the cities of Cambridge and Waterloo. They jointly form the "tri-cities." Kitchener and Waterloo are in some cases referred jointly as a single entity, the Kitchener-Waterloo area, although they both possess independent governments. As of 2016, Kitchener city had a population of a little over 233,000 people, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in Ontario.
The story of Kitchener started in the mid-1780s when the British colonialists issued a grant of over 200,000 hectares of land to the Six Nations as a token of appreciation for their unwavering support during the American fight for independence. The Six Nations eventually sold the most remote section of their land to Richard Beasley who in turn sold it to a group of German Mennonite originating from Pennsylvania. The Mennonites were drawn to the area by its remoteness which provided them with the freedom they needed to farm and practice their faith without fear of prosecution.
The end of the 17th century and the early part of the 19th century was marked by the arrival of more and more new settlers from Pennsylvania. The area had become the ultimate destination for German immigrants. The settlement was put under the jurisdiction of Waterloo Township in 1816, a move that saw it transform rapidly into a thriving agricultural and industrial center.
It was in this area that Phineas Varnum established a town that would later become Berlin or modern-day Kitchener city. Berlin was officially confirmed to be a town in 1833. It was later chosen as the government seat of Waterloo County upon its formation in 1853. Berlin soon developed into a city thanks to the improved infrastructural development especially in the transport sector during the 1850s.
Due to political reasons, the residents of the city voted in favor of a name change from Berlin to Kitchener in 1916 through a referendum. Modern-day Kitchener is still home to one of the largest German communities in the nation. Outside Germany, the city is home to the largest Oktoberfest carnival in the world. The festival attracts well over half a million participants to the city every year.
Kitchener's well-established neighborhoods, reputable education system, and numerous public amenities make it one of the most coveted cities in Ontario, outside the Greater Toronto Area. Economically, the city relies mostly on manufacturing, tourism, finance, insurance, and technology.