Berlin to Kitchener, 1916

On September 1, 1916, the city of Berlin, Ontario changed its name to Kitchener in a controversial referendum and vote, in the middle of World War One!

World War One soldiers in Victoria Park, Berlin Ontario

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!

Led by: Todd Bowman

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

Renaming Berlin Walking Tour Details

Of course, we have the obligatory Liability Waiver and Release form that must be signed by each person in advance of joining the walk.  Why a waiver for a walking tour, you ask? Couldn’t get insurance without it. Stroll pays insurance… you sign the waiver. 

A sense of curiosity, a few questions and a willingness to learn something you didn’t know before.

Of course, dress for the weather; bring a hat, water bottle, umbrella, solid walking shoes (no flip flops!) and anything else you need to be comfortable on the walk. 

We walk rain or shine or snow! 

However, we do heed storm watches and warnings and would never put you in danger. Stroll may cancel and reschedule a walk due to an issued weather advisory. 

We don’t make scheduled bathroom breaks along the walking route. Please attend to personal needs before or after the walking tour. 

Twice a year Stroll hosts a series of public walking tours in the spring and fall. Make sure you are on the Stroll newsletter list so you know when they are available! 

Absolutely! The walking tour guides have chosen routes with the best possible accessibility in order to accommodate as many people as possible. However, construction happens and we do our best to re-route safely.

If you have any questions about the accessibility of a specific walk, please contact us in advance of booking. 

We’ll say it again… Always arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time! If you arrive exactly at departure time, you’re already late! If you arrive really late, your walking tour will likely be shorter than you planned for. 

Public Tours: We start on time so you might miss the introduction. If you’re really late, you might miss the tour if we’ve already moved on. 

We know you’re a curious bunch so we’ve been preparing blog posts with additional resources from many of the walking tours. Happy reading!

I have just finished my third walking tour with Stroll Walking Tours. Each one was unique, informative, and fascinating. Juanita has created the perfect mix of storytelling and strolling, leaving me with a greater appreciation for the history (near and far) of Waterloo Region. Both she and Todd are superb researchers and writers. I can't wait to work my way through all of the tours, meet other guides, and other hyper-local aficionados.
Paula S