The system performed its first ride at its opening event at Fairway Station in Kitchener, Ont. on Friday at 10:30 a.m. The route stops at 19 stations through the Waterloo Region. The Ion will be free to ride until Canada Day on July 1. Cambridge is the next city slated to get the LRT-based transit system, but it’s years away from starting. (CBC, Global News)
Talking point: This is the region’s first light rail transit (LRT) system; its launch comes after years of delays since the system was first approved in 2011. Much of the delay stemmed from manufacturer Bombardier, which was supposed to deliver the trains by December 2016; the final vehicles arrived in October the year after. Ion is meant to help with the 200,000 new residents expected to move into the Waterloo Region over the next 20 years, providing a more efficient and environmentally sustainable transit system. Much of that population growth comes from the tech industry—the region has the third-largest tech sector in Canada.