TheBeast wrote:With regards to research UToronto has a much larger and diversified department than Waterloo. That's good because you'll have a chance to be exposed to a larger variety of physics research and thus have a better idea in figuring exactly which subfield in physics you wish to apply to for grad school. I can't stress enough the importance of getting research experience in a field you're interested in; not only will it help your grad school application, but it will give you a chance to see if your expectations of the field match the reality.
By now you must be almost getting acceptance letters from all the programs you applied. But TheBeast is extremely correct in that there are better research opportunities at U of T. If your goal is eventually to go to graduate school for physics (keep in mind your ideas might change over time!), this point cannot be emphasized enough.
While your ideas might change over time, don't worry too much about it either way. Aim where you want to end up eventually, and you can always adjust your course as you go.
From what I've heard (ie. may not be true), Waterloo compSci, math and engineering are really quite good, but the downside is that most good physics students just ends up in engineering and/or math programs at Waterloo, and so I'm not certain how good your classmates are going to be at Waterloo physics - this will lower teaching standards, make things easier, etc. I suspect the physics program at U of T is probably better, if only because you'll be taught by top researchers in the field, with a great selection of experimentalists (keep in mind, Perimeter Institute is very theoretical). Co-op is good for making money, and good for finding industry jobs later on, but it does not replace research postings. I had a friend in math at 'Loo who quit the coop program to do NSERC USRA's because they're more fun and more useful for apps later on. He got in to U Chicago (for math), as far as I know.
If you do decide to go to Waterloo, look out for research awards at the top schools during summers (usu. through this NSERC USRA), and participate in those contests to make yourself stand out. If you go to U of T, involve yourself in research as much as possible, even through the school semesters, and do your best in both classes and research. Remember, a good GPA isn't the full story - you'll need research too. Also consider any and all scholarships they might be giving you. You should give more consideration to the place that costs you less overall. But if they're giving you a free education, that's a privilege - don't be one of those snobby kids on campus.
Regarding U of T, don't be afraid of the program. It always looks more scary than it actually is. Just do your best, and you'll be fine! And remember, an 85% is a 4.0 grade point, so if you know everything, that's not difficult to get.