What's in a Name?

Controversial Names and Statues: Berlin to Kitchener Over A Century Ago


Back in Spring/Summer 2023!
Or private group request

Price: $30/person (+ booking fee $1.80)

Duration: 90 minutes

Meeting Location: Victoria Park Pavilion

Distance Covered: 2.3 km
The walk ends near the Queen Victoria statue in Victoria Park (Willow River Park)

Led by: Todd Bowman

Accessibility: Route follows paved surfaces on main and neighbourhood streets. Accessible for scooters & wheelchairs.

On September 1, 1916, the city of Berlin Ontario changed its name to Kitchener in a controversial referendum and vote. It was preceded by a year of tumultuous events as this predominantly German city came to grips with the liability of its name and growing anti-German sentiments during World War One.

Take a walk through Victoria Park (Willow River Park) and downtown Kitchener to explore a controversy over names and a park statue. Though this may sound like current events, but this walk travels over 100 years ago in local history to Berlin/Kitchener during World War One.

Learn about vandalism, unruly soldiers, rioting, and two divisive votes over the city’s name. Find out why a minister was bloodied, a beloved landmark burned, and how Germany’s Kaiser made a ‘splash’ in the park!

What’s In a Name? Walking Tour Details

  • Tickets must be purchased in advance
  • Maximum 20 people per walk
  • We walk rain or shine or snow so dress for the weather! If it looks like rain, bring an umbrella. If it’s cold, wear a few extra layers.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes (i.e. no flip flops!)
  • Arrive 5 minutes in advance to check in. If you arrive exactly when the walk starts, you’re already late!
  • Our walking tours are face mask friendly – even though our walking tours are entirely outdoors, some guests may feel most comfortable wearing a mask – and we respect that!
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