Friday June 8th was not only my birthday but also the city of my birth, Kitchener Ontario. The city was 35 when I was born and I think that is about all I will say of that. Its original name was Berlin and it was renamed when the first World War took place. I guess our city fathers felt Berlin was a little Germanic considering so it was named after Lord Kitchener. It did not change the fact that the largest population was German. The city apparently boasted a spectacular bust of Kaiser Whilhelm 1 and a few days after war was declared three young Berlin men (Fred Bolton, Alan Smith and John Ferguson) toppled the bust and dumped it into the lake at Victoria Park. Unfortunately in 1916 there was considerable animosity from the non-German residents.
It has been interesting reading the history pages on line as many of the names we have for parks and streets are linked to the actual people living at the time.
In 1920 Charles How’s Royal Cafe was raided by Kitchener police who seized a large amount of opium and smoking equipment so I guess drugs in the cities have a long history.
In 1922 we were visited by William Lyon Mackenzie King who was then Prime Minister and a native son of our wee town. Not so wee since 10,000 people came out to meet him .
Canadians are known to be generally a polite tolerable people however 1925 saw a clandestine attempt to oraganize a Kitchener chapter fo the Ku klux Kan that ended through disinterest. The organizers met in a private home but two Daily Record reporters ‘were able to glimpse a’crowd’ of three around a table.’
In 1927 it seemed there were bootleggers to be caught and in 1928 the city’s Health Department found two gypsy families living in an abandoned store and shooed them out.
The first of the famous Five and Dime stores opened in 1932 by Walter Zeller. I remember my mom still calling them Five and Dimes. In 1936 specific mention is made of a shoemaker William Thoms who road his bicycle from home to work every day for a distance of 12 miles. It was estimated he cycled a total of 131,400 miles. The distance would have been much greater but during the winters he had to walk and they did not tally up those miles. He stopped, or retired I guess at the age of 82.
One hanging was detailed in 1940. Reginal White who was the third and final person to ever be so disposed of for a crime in the city.
1942 mention of note was that the local library reported many strange things found in books used as markers, but none so strange as a slice of bacon.
It was not until 1946, on Devember 24th that Canadian women were given equal status under the new Citizenship Act.
There are many interesting facts listed at kitchener100.ca by decade.
So while my own history did not come close to the city of my birth it was an incredible event. This was our first Terramundi party. I had decided I did not want any gifts as I could not think of a single desire. Terramundi is perfect.
According to the accompanying tag: (In the picture below mine is the blue and pink). ‘This is an Etruscan Money Amphora. These money pots have been used in Italy for the last 2,000 years and their hand thrown design has remained the same. Examples can be seen in the British Museum. TRADITION: ONce the first coin is dropped the money pot must be fed til full, then smashed whilst making a wish. It is customary to replace pot and spend money on good things. Pots bring fortune. There is a fortune coin in each pot.
The whole idea was that instead of bringing a gift bring a Loonie or Toonie ($1.00 or 2.00 coin) and throw it in the pot and make a wish. Everyone was way to generous with me but the idea remains pure.
So folks that was my start to an amazing weekend!