Only half an hour or so from Stratford, the twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo have two drawing cards: the Farmers' Market and the famous 9-day Oktoberfest (tel. 888/294-HANS [888/294-4267] or 519/570-HANS [519/570-4267]; www.oktoberfest.ca). The cities still have a large population of descendents of German settlers, and many are also Mennonites. On Saturday, starting at 6am, you can sample shoofly pie, apple butter, birch beer, summer sausage, and other Mennonite specialties at the market in the Market Square complex, at Duke and Frederick streets in Kitchener. For additional information, contact the Kitchener-Waterloo Area Visitors and Convention Bureau (2848 King St. E., Kitchener; tel. 519/748-0800; www.explorewaterlooregion.com). It's open in winter from 9am to 5pm weekdays only, daily in summer.
Eight kilometers (5 miles) north of Kitchener is the town of St. Jacobs. It has close to 100 shops in venues such as a converted mill, silo, and other factory buildings. The Meetingplace (33 King St.; tel. 519/664-3518) runs a short film about the Amish-Mennonite way of life (daily in summer, weekends only in winter). There's also the St. Jacobs Outlet Mall at 25 Benjamin Rd. E.; its offerings include Levi's, Lego, Reebok, CorningWare, Liz Claiborne, and Paderno. The mall is open Monday through Friday 9:30am to 9pm, Saturday 8:30am to 6pm, and Sunday noon to 5pm (closed Jan 1 and Dec 25). Call tel. 519/888-0138 for more information.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.