115km (71 miles) W of Toronto

The twin cities of Kitchener and Waterloo have established themselves as Canada’s answer to Silicon Valley. Large-scale tech employers in the region include OpenText, Google, D2L, and the University of Waterloo, which promotes incubator hubs such as Communitech, where scrappy start-ups are encouraged to disrupt established industries through techno-innovation.

Although BlackBerry is no longer ubiquitous, the pioneering smartphone firm was born and based here, and was largely responsible for kick-starting Kitchener–Waterloo’s techno-cultural revolution.

The twin cities, 3km (1 mile) apart, are a tale of contrasts. While AI breakthroughs are happening in ultra-modern coworking facilities, outside of the town you’ll also see Old Order Mennonites—similar to the Amish in their beliefs and way of life—in their horse-drawn carriages clip-clopping down the roads.