Rock around Kitchener event highlights city's geological history

Thursday, May 19, 2016

From vibrant serpentine outside the Crabby Joe's to the crinoid fossils on the outer walls of Immigration Canada, Kitchener is home to a rich geological history. Ancient rocks and fossils can be found in the buildings and surrounding landscapes throughout the city.

On Friday, May 6th, the Faculty of Science Outreach Team, in partnership with the Jane’s Walk initiative hosted a “Rock around Kitchener” walking tour that explored the unique history of the city as told by its buildings.  

Jane's Walk 2016.

Guided by Peter Russell, Laura Scaife and Alisia Mar from the University of Waterloo’s Earth Science Museum, the tour attracted around 80 curious members of the local community.

Many may be familiar with the Kitchener Public Library, but they may not know the history behind the rocks that shape it. The outer wall of the library along Queen Street is made of natural sandstone ranging from cream to dark brown, with polished black granite used on the benches. If you look closely on the sidewalk, you can even see some fossilized remains, as one community member pointed out.

Shell fossil in walkway.

A highlight of the trip was certainly the dozens of fossilized bryozoans and crinoid fossils found in the Indiana limestone walls of the Immigration Canada building. The limestone is over 300 million years old, formed during the early Carboniferous Period.

Through tours like this, Science Outreach hopes to increase the awareness and accessibility of science to the community. By merging education with recreation and discovery, our community not only learned something new, but they had a ton of fun doing it. So next time you’re walking around downtown make sure to take a moment to observe some of the rocks, maybe you’ll even see some fossils!

Special thanks to Jane’s Walk for partnering for this event. Jane’s Walks offer locally organized walking tours for people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods. Their mission is to develop urban literacy and to encouraging walking tours that allow people to observe, reflect, share, question and collectively reimagine the places in which they live, work and play.

For more information about walking tours or if you want to learn more about the rocks discussed on the tour, please visit the Earth Sciences Museum website