Waterloo Public Square improvements

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Construction is complete on the Waterloo Public Square improvements!

  • The new permanent shade structures have been installed. Learn more about the final design.
  • A moveable shade element (giant umbrella) is available throughout the summer months.
  • The water fountain is in place but will be turned off during the winter months.


Project background

On April 25, 2022 Council approved the Waterloo Public Square Improvements report (IPPW 2022-021, report begins on page 55 of the Council packet). This included the detailed design of the Waterloo Public Square water feature, as well as both moveable and permanent shade structures.

Image of Waterloo Public Square indicating that the shade structures will be installed on the ledges in front of the Shoppers Drug Mart and the water feature will replace the garden area just in front of Beertown.


Construction is complete on the Waterloo Public Square improvements!

  • The new permanent shade structures have been installed. Learn more about the final design.
  • A moveable shade element (giant umbrella) is available throughout the summer months.
  • The water fountain is in place but will be turned off during the winter months.


Project background

On April 25, 2022 Council approved the Waterloo Public Square Improvements report (IPPW 2022-021, report begins on page 55 of the Council packet). This included the detailed design of the Waterloo Public Square water feature, as well as both moveable and permanent shade structures.

Image of Waterloo Public Square indicating that the shade structures will be installed on the ledges in front of the Shoppers Drug Mart and the water feature will replace the garden area just in front of Beertown.


  • Water fountain - construction complete

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    The construction of the water fountain in the Waterloo Public Square is complete, and the water is on! The fountain follows the shape of the previous garden in front of Beertown, featuring a water wall with a series of cascading pools. At night, the fountain lights up, adding to the ambience of the square. The water feature was made possible in part through a donation from TerraCorp Management and The Barrel Yards for the enjoyment of the City of Waterloo community.

    With the fountain in place, all the approved upgrades to Waterloo Public Square are now complete. Stay tuned for an opening celebration in Spring 2024 to celebrate these new additions.

    Note: The water fountain will not be operational during the winter months.

    Check out this video we posted on social media highlighting the upgrades in the square:

  • Shade structure - construction complete

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    supporting image

    We're happy to share that the new shade structures at Waterloo Public Square are now installed. The square is still under construction as we continue to work on the new fountain.

    About the design of the new shade structures:

    The design for these structures draws on the industrial origins of the town square. Once home to factories including the company that made the famous Waterloo Thresher, the idea is that the materials of these structures could have been found among the remains of the steel and timber buildings of the time. Sprouting from the ground, they will provide dappled shade through reclaimed timber slats, which are shaped to provide a softer, more organic feel to the square.

    Arching up overhead, they shade the steps of the square, while providing a sense of enclosure and scale that draws attention upwards and defines the square as its own space.

    The materials used are selected with sustainability in mind, using a very simple palette of wood and steel. The wood is reclaimed from an old arena in Barrie, Ontario, and the structural steel can be recycled or repurposed easily. The materials were selected and designed to be easily replaceable or repurposed if needed.

    A moveable shade element, featuring oversized fabric umbrellas will also be coming to the square, towards the end of summer 2023.


    New shade structures at Waterloo Public Square, made with timber slats in the shape of five sprouting leaf-like structures.




  • Water feature design

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    The water feature was part of the public square's original design approved in 2007. It was delayed due to budget constraints and the unknown impacts of the coming ION construction at the square. Crystal Fountains Inc. was retained in 2020 to complete the detailed architectural design of the water feature, and WalterFedy Inc. was retained in 2021 to complete the detailed structural, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering design, and Ghent Landscape received the tender for construction.

    The water feature will follow a similar shape to the existing garden in front of Beertown. Instead of a garden, it will be a water wall with a series of cascading pools. Some of the required plumbing and electrical work were put into place when the square was constructed, and some additional work is needed to be done to ready it for the new water feature. While construction is happening, the area immediately in front of Beertown will be fenced off, and pedestrians will need to access the main steps in front of the Shops entrance or use the ramp along the south end of the square. For a small portion of time, work will need to extend out towards King Street, and pedestrians will have to detour along the Laurel Trail out to King Street to get around this corner.

    Artist's rendering of the new fountain, using the same footprint as the current garden in front of Beertown facing the square, there is a waterfall wall with several cascading pools that follow the stairway down from the shops entry level to the square level.

  • Shade structures design

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    To bring shade to the square, permanent structures will be installed on the south end of the square, on the existing ledges in front of Shoppers Drug Mart. These will be incorporated into existing infrastructure and other features already in place, and will cast a dappled shade over the tiered seating and south end of the square. One movable shade element should be brought to the square in the summer as well. For more details on the shade structures and the process is available on the engagement page for this project.

    The shade structures are being partially constructed off-site. To get the space ready for the structures, the ramp along the south edge of the square will be closed for a brief period of time. The ramp will be temporarily closed again while the structures are installed. The sidewalk along Willis Way will remain available for access up to the main entrance of the Shops at Waterloo Town Square.

Page last updated: 07 Nov 2023, 11:14 AM