Berlin’s name change to Kitchener was not just a simple vote. Tumultuous times divided the otherwise peaceful city into two groups, reflecting the Great War that had erupted in Europe two years prior and, in the end, made the name change in 1916 Berlin/Kitchener anything but simple.
Join us for a panel discussion with local historian rych mills and University of Waterloo professors Geoffrey Hayes (History) and Mat Schulze (German). Carl Zehr, former mayor of Kitchener, will moderate. The panel will speak to exactly what fuelled and propelled such a peaceful city into a time of conflict and disarray. You’ll learn about nationalist divides, local stories, and how the bilingual nature of Berlin/Kitchener affected the entire controversy.
This event is being organized in partnership with the Kitchener Public Library. Photo of the Victoria Park Pavillion on fire in 1916 courtesy of University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections & Archives, Kitchener Waterloo Record Fonds.
Couldn't Make It? Here's the Video
Carl Zehr - Moderator
Carl Zehr is the former Mayor of the City of Kitchener (1997-2014), was a Councillor for nine years prior to that, and a Region of Waterloo Councillor for seven terms. He served on many committees and community boards. He played an active role in the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Big City Mayors’ Caucus and was its Chair (2008-2011).
Mr. Zehr has the professional designation FCPA, FCGA and has extensive experience in both private and public sectors. He is a Past Governor & President of CGA Ontario as well as a Past Director of CGA Canada.
Mr. Zehr is currently a member of the Metrolinx Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Southwestern Ontario Chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
rych mills - Panellist
Born in Kitchener in 1946, rych mills has resided in the city for all but 15 years. (Those 15 were when his family moved to live in Waterloo.) He worked in broadcasting, first as an announcer and then in production at CKKW and CFCA, today KFUN and Virgin Radio (105.3). He retired in late December 2011.
mills wrote Victoria Park: 100 Years of a Park and Its People in 1996 and Kitchener (Berlin) 1880-1960 in 2002. He helps operate the Victoria Park Gallery, a small museum in the park at the end of Schneider Avenue. He has also been an active member of the Waterloo Historical Society since the mid-1980s, where he has served as a councilor, a board member, and a two-term president. He is editor of the annual volume published by WHS and has also contributed many articles on local history to the WHS and other local publications. In May 2007, he helped arrange the largest-ever showing of works by Carl Ahrens for a one-day celebration of Waterloo County’s overly neglected landscape painter. Since January 2015, mills has been the main author of the Record’s "Flash from the Past" column, which runs Saturdays in the ETC section.
Geoff Hayes - Panellist
Geoff Hayes grew up in Waterloo Region and was educated at WLU and the University of Western Ontario. His book Waterloo County: An Illustrated History was published by the Waterloo Historical Society in 1997 and won the Fred Landon Award for the best book on Regional History from the Ontario Historical Society. For the past 25 years, Hayes has taught Canadian and Canadian military history in UW’s history department.
Mathias Schulze - Panellist
Mathias Schulze is a Professor of German Applied Linguistics at the University of Waterloo and the director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies. Together with colleagues and graduate students, he is currently working on a book that tells the story and stories of German immigrants to Waterloo Region. You can find more information on his other professional activities here. He was born 100km south of the other Berlin.