People and places

Movember ‘Stache


P476 WHS H.J. Bowman

In honour of Movember, the campaign for men’s health,  I give you Herbert J. Bowman, who certainly knew how to wear a moustache with grace and style.

Herbert Joseph Bowman was born on 18 June 1865 in Berlin, Ontario, the son of Israel D. Bowman and Angeline Louisa Tyson. He studied at the University of Toronto and graduated in Civil Engineering in 1885. During his final year of university, Bowman joined the Queen’s Own Rifles and took part in the suppression of the Riel Rebellion. He later became a member of the 29th Regiment of Waterloo County, and served as its Commanding Officer.

Herbert apprenticed as a land surveyor with Peter Silas Gibson and passed his final exam on 7 January 1887. He qualified as a Dominion Land Surveyor and practiced as a land surveyor and civil engineer in Berlin, Ontario. He was responsible for the design of Berlin’s sewer system, including sewage disposal works. He was also interested in the Good Roads Movement. Elected in 1899 as a City Waterworks Commissioner, Herbert also served as County Clerk from 1896 to 1916, in the footsteps of his father, Israel Bowman. He was also the Inspector of County Roads and the House of Refuge.

Upon the outbreak of World War One, Col. Bowman organized the 108th Militia Regiment and was its Commanding Officer. This regiment supplied most of the officers and over two hundred and fifty men to the 118th Overseas Battalion.

A Liberal in politics, Bowman was also a member of First Church of Christ Scientist. He was married to Edith Walker in 1889 and they raised four children: Hope, Ruth, Victor and Ernest. He died on 19 June 1916 after a prolonged illness and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

A dapper man with a fine record public service.

Cheers, K.


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.