Stories That Move You

ION Kitchener Market: Mansions, Masons, and Midterms

Forest Hill Garden, Kitchener

P000517 Forest Hill Garden, Kitchener, ca. 1878 (WHS Collection)

Do you know how the ION Kitchener Market station is connected with mansions, masons and midterms?

The answer lies just up the track on the right hand. It’s the site of Cameron Heights Collegiate, which has a very interesting history.

On this property, back in the 1850’s, the palatial home, known as Forest Hill Gardens and pictured above, was built by George Davidson, first post master of Berlin and the first sheriff of the County of Waterloo. His home was situated on elevated land which had a fine view to the northeast. It soon became a showcase property, which included hedges, meandering paths and trails, a pond, groves of elm and maple, gazebos, and gardens.

Following Davidson’s death on 27 April 1881, the house was purchased by George Rumpel, felt and boot manufacturer and, one-time mayor of Berlin. A lofty portico, supported by 4 large pillars was added to the house. The Rumpel mansion had a splendid interior – crowded with elegant tables, burnished metal lamps, and graceful statues. Later, his son, Oscar Rumpel, sub-divided the property, laid out curved streets and built a number of attractive homes in the area.

The 1.4 acre property was purchased by Masonic Temple Company from the Kitchener Park Board in 1955 for the sum of $17,000. The house was renovated as a masonic temple, known as Temple Lodge. It remained a masonic lodge until February 1966, when it was sold to the Board of Education for the future site of Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute. The house was demolished later that year.

Construction of the school began in 1967-1968. Cameron Heights Collegiate opened in 1969.

Cheers, Karen

This is post 15 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.


Movember Moustache

P420 - David Forsyth

Studio portrait of David Forsyth (P420 WHS)

It’s that time of the year again. Movember – a November month long campaign to raise awareness of men’s health.  And this is my new favourite ‘stache sported by the one and only, dapper David Forsyth.

David Forsyth was born in 1852 in Perthshire, Scotland. He came with his parents to Canada at the age of one year old. He attended Dundas High School and later graduated from Galt Collegiate. In 1875, Forsyth completed his studies at the University of Toronto with a silver medal standing in mathematics.

Forsyth, in the following year, joined the staff of the Berlin High School as a teacher of mathematics and science. In 1901, he succeeded James W. Connor as Principal. As an educator, Forsyth was the first in Ontario to introduce practical laboratory work for science students in high school. Under his leadership, the Berlin High School grew in staff, attendance and equipment, putting it in the front ranks of Ontario schools. Prominent graduates included future Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King and W.D. Euler, North Waterloo Member of Parliament and Minster of Trade and Commerce. Forsyth also served on a Royal Commission on Industrial Training and Technical Education, which travelled around the world gathering information for its report.

His connection to the Kitchener Public Library was as a board member for over 30 years, many of which were spent as Secretary and four terms as Chairman.  He was also instrumental in securing land for the Carnegie Library building at Queen and Weber Streets.  Additionally, he was a member of the Berlin Board of Health, Waterloo Historical Society and Mathematical Association of Canada, American Association of Science and the National Geographic Society.

David Forsyth was also well known in sporting circles as a member of the Berlin football (soccer) team, which later became the Rangers.  He was responsible for organizing the Western Ontario Football Association in 1880, serving as secretary, president and honorary president. Forsyth was a captain of the Berlin lacrosse team, a prominent member of the Berlin Cricket Club, an avid cyclist, enthusiastic canoeist, lawn bowler, and curler.

He was married to Augusta Mylius in 1882, who died in 1912. Upon his retirement from the Berlin High School in 1921, Forsyth went to live in Beamsville, ON  where his son, Otto, resided. He died on 13 September 1936 in Beamsville and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener.

A classy man and moustache, don’t you agree?

Cheers, K.


Local History Courses at Conestoga College

Local History Course Brochure - Conestoga College

Local History Course Brochure – Conestoga College – May-June 2014

Conestoga College is again offering their Waterloo County history courses, starting in May 5th and 6th, at their Waterloo Campus.

LIBS1750 History of Waterloo Region 1 covers the County’s early years from 1800 to 1920.

LIBS1760 History of Waterloo Region 2 explores regional history starting in 1920 to the present.

For more information and registration details, visit the Conestoga College Continuing Education website.