Located in southwestern Ontario, Kitchener was formerly known as the city of Berlin until anti-German sentiment forced the city to be renamed in 1916. Now, with approximately 220,000 residents, Kitchener has an economic base in manufacturing with finance, insurance, digital media and health science sectors emerging in the city. Known as one part of Ontario's "tri-cities," with Waterloo and Cambridge, Kitchener hosts numerous festivals each year attracting hundreds to its downtown. The Open Ears Festival, Blues Festival and Multicultural Festival are all highlights.
It's Kitchener-Waterloo's Oktoberfest, however, that steals the show. The annual event has been called Canada's Greatest Bavarian Festival, and one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany. A popular feature of the beer-based gala is the Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade, televised nationally. But it's not only during October that Kitchener comes alive. The Centre and Market districts are home to pubs and nightclubs that accommodate a variety of music tastes, while stylish restaurants and cafés in the city centre provide a great place to meet up with friends.