If you are a reader of this blog, you’ll know that light rail transit is not new to the Region. Street railways were a part of life in Waterloo County dating from 1886 to late December 1946. And the building pictured above housed the organization that operated our street rail system.
Built in 1931-1932, the Kitchener Public Utilities Commission building is a short walk up Gaukel Street from ION Victoria Park station. It sits directly across from Kitchener City Hall on King Street. It was built of cut granite and sandstone in a similar style to Kitchener’s old city hall, which was built in 1924.
It housed the offices of the Kitchener Public Utilities Commission which ran the street railway Kitchener and Waterloo starting 1906 when the Town of Berlin took over operation of the street railway. This lovely three-storey Beaux Arts building, pictured above in the 1950s, lends a sense of grandeur to the Commission’s many operations. Among its many achievements, the Commission helped bring Niagara generated hydroelectric to Berlin on 10 October 1910, making it the first municipality in Ontario to do so.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of the street railways in Kitchener and Waterloo, you can read Part 1 here. (Part 2 will follow later this summer).
This is post 12 of 19 in the Stories That Move You series.
Stories that Move You is a Kitchener Public Library project that celebrates the launch of ION service with curated collections of reads, music, audio, learning resources, and local history to help people make the most of an unique window of time during their public transit ride.