Victoria Hills is a pleasant neighbourhood that has been on the up and up for a couple of decades, now. Since the 1990s this area has seen a lot of development and clean-up, and has become a community-oriented place that is good to raise a family.
The neighbourhood is divided fairly evenly between owners and renters, with 43% of the population owning property and 57% renting. The area has several high-rise buildings, as well as semi-detached and single dwellings. Demographics include 39% of the population as families, 32% couples, and 29% singles. It is a very multicultural neighbourhood, speaking English, Spanish and other languages. Many of the residents in Victoria Hills are new immigrants or second generation Canadians, and there are many European and Southeast Asian roots here. Many people settle here to raise families. The area is not characterized by a high number of bars or shopping centres; rather, the most popular spots include playgrounds, family restaurants and community centres. It is a more affordable area surrounded by more expensive and lively spots that are a short drive away. It is known to be a safe and quiet area, and tends to quiet down significantly in the evening.
The safety of this neighbourhood is largely due to police efforts in the last twenty or so years. Waterloo Regional Police Constable Rob Davis transformed the area by implementing a community garden, which would turn an unsafe, unused (vacant) lot into a place for safe activity. Residents now have access to fresh vegetables and crime has dropped 75% in the last twenty years, as the community garden encourages them to get out and know their neighbours, plus the feeling of safety comes from feelings of trust, friendship, and knowing that neighbours are watching out for the property and children in the area.
First time buyers and low income families can settle here and enjoy the comfort of home ownership. Recent years have seen an increase in police effort to keep the area safe.
The average household income is $57 697; 51% make under $50 000, while 46% make $50-150 000. Most people commute by car or public transit. Victoria Hills is directly between Kitchener and Waterloo. Westmount Road is a major street going through the neighbourhood and beyond, making it easy to access highways 7, 8 and the Conestoga Parkway. Several bus lines go through Victoria Hills, so getting around the tri-cities (Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge) is simple. Additionally, the Region of Waterloo airport is a twenty-minute drive from here.
The most popular leisure activities include exhibitions, carnivals and markets, or visiting restaurants and pubs. It is a popular area for reading, gardening and swimming.
There are many parks in the area, plus half a dozen schools, shopping malls and various churches. The Victoria Hills Community Centre offers youth drop-in programs in the summer, such as sports, games, music and crafts that are free of charge. The community centre provides an outdoor rink in the winter.
One of the main attractions is Flag Raiders Indoor Paintball at 259 Gage Avenue, a popular attraction for groups of friends. It’s great for birthday parties, offering a nice arena with good game times and helpful staff. You can either bring your own equipment or rent while there. They can support a large range of ages as they have Nerf guns and .50 paintballs. The field is designed to resemble some scenes from World War Two, such as storming the Beach of Normandy. Rentals are $10 and $35 per 500 paintballs. It has a great variety of games and smooth check-in. If you’re not ready for paintball, you can go for a splatmaster night with your kids.
There are several natural areas including Filsinger Natural Area, Timm Park, and Belmont Park.
Shopping & General Needs
Highland and Westmount intersect on the border of this neighbourhood, an intersection with several plazas that include Purolator, Food Basics, LCBO. You will also find The Beat Goes On, a secondhand music store that carries CDs and vinyl plus TV and movies on DVD. On Hazelglen Drive you will find Onkar Foods & Spices, an Indian specialty food store with pantry staples, spices, and refrigerated items. If you’re in the market for Halal food, try Sadaqat Halal Food Market at 427 Belmont Ave. West. They sell halal groceries and have a butcher, plus a grill serving up kebabs and wraps.
Prime Bar-B-Q Restaurant is a popular meetup spot in this neighbourhood, whether for drinks and classic barbecued food on a Thursday night, or breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. They are open every day of the week with entrees, and have a fully stocked bar. It is family friendly.
Try Angel’s Restaurant, a cozy and casual family restaurant located at 751 Victoria Street South. If you like sweets, we recommend La Patisserie Fine Cakes and Desserts, a haven of Victoria Hills! They make cakes, tarts, and all kinds of fine dessert goods. Their turtle cheesecake receives nothing but praise.