Views of Berlin and Kitchener: Local Souvenir Albums

By the end of the 19th century, the town of Berlin was a major industrial centre within the Dominion of Canada, with furniture factories, tanneries, a foundry and button factories. These factories, the homes of their industrialists and labourers, as well as schools, churches, a hospital, a court house, transportation infrastructure, and other buildings and public services had taken the place of the structures of Berlin's pioneer era. Canada’s German Capital, which officially became a city in 1912, was also home to beautiful parks and recreation areas along the Grand River. These souvenir albums were produced to capture some of these images of Berlin and present the best features of the town, and then city, at that time. They tell part of the story about how Berlin became the industrial city of Kitchener.

Such albums were popular throughout Canada from the 1880s through the 1930s, and were produced to boost tourism, settlement, and investment in numerous Canadian towns and cities. They typically contain photomechanically reproduced images based on scenic photography, for which the artists are rarely credited, and the text is usually limited to image captions and sometimes an introduction full of civic pride. Souvenir albums, illustrating a period of rapid growth and great ambition for a young Canada, are useful for researchers in history, architecture, urban development and planning, art, and photography.

The Berlin and Kitchener souvenir albums in this collection all have unique features, whether in content or physical format. For example, one is hand-made, and one was published just as the name change from Berlin to Kitchener occurred. Click on the links below for more details and to view the albums.