Stories That Move You

ION Allen: Suds

Labatt's Brewery, Waterloo, ON

SL000264 Labatt’s Brewery, King Street South, Waterloo, ON (KPL Collection)

As ION approaches the Allen station, you will pass by a quiet park and residence at the corner of King and William Streets in Waterloo. The calm and stately presence of the retirement home on the site now, however, gives little clue to its sudsy past.

Located at 155 King Street South in Waterloo, the Labatt brewery dated back to 1844, when David Kuntz, a cooper and brewer from Germany, began selling beer in the Town of Waterloo from a wheelbarrow. In the 1860s, he launched the Spring Brewery, using water from a spring on the King and William street property to brew his beer. Kuntz, a man of many talents and trades, was said to have also made the bricks for his brewery.

Over time, it eventually came to be called the Kuntz Brewery and David Kuntz was succeeded by his son Louis, in the 1870s, who renamed it L. Kuntz’s Park Brewery. In 1929, the brewery was acquired by entrepreneur, E.P. Taylor, under his Canadian Breweries group.  By 1936, it was known as the Carling-Kuntz Brewery. The name Kuntz was dropped during the Second World War – as it was seen as being too ‘German’.

The property also included a retail store which faced King Street, and a park with a fountain. A rail spur line also ran to the brewery. In 1977, Carling Breweries was purchased by Labatt Breweries of London. When Labatt announced the closure of the brewery in 1992, almost 200 jobs were lost.  The Waterloo plant was closed by mid-1993 and later demolished.

Cheers, Karen

This is post 8 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.

Standard
Stories That Move You

ION Grand River Hospital: Caring on King

Kitchener and Waterloo Hospital, 1929

P004006 Kitchener and Waterloo Hospital and Nurses’ Home, 1929 (KPL Collection)

When ION rolls up to the Grand River Hospital station, take a look at the hospital and then the image above. Does it still look recognizable?

The coloured postcard above shows the Kitchener and Waterloo Hospital (on the right) and nurses residence (on the left) as they appeared in 1929. The expansive lawn in the front gives a sense of grandeur, as do the (altered) turrets and decorative windows of the main hospital building. The nurses’ residence, now known as the Kaufman Building, opened in 1921.

Located at 835 King Street West, Kitchener, Grand River Hospital serves Waterloo Region and surrounding communities through its two sites, this one here and Freeport Hospital. The Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital was built in 1895 on land donated by Joseph E. Seagram. In 1898, an isolation hospital was built on the south side of the property and was later used as a nurses’ residence from 1908 to 1921.

A three-story pavilion, which included a pediatric floor, was built in 1936 to the north of the hospital building shown in the postcard. The Y-shaped building was built in 1951. In 1995, Freeport Hospital and the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital, (also known as the K-W Health Centre), were merged to form the Grand River Hospital. The Grand River Regional Cancer Centre opened at this site in 2003.

And do you know where the helipad for the hospital is located? You can find it at the corner of Walter and Wellington Street South, a short distance a way.

Cheers, Karen

This is post 9 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.

 

Standard
Stories That Move You

ION Willis Way: Shades of Amber and Gold

Seagram's Distillery, Waterloo, ON

SL000269 Seagram’s Distillery (KPL Collection)

As ION goes south along Caroline Street and pulls into the Willis Way station, you’ll pass by the former compound of an iconic Canadian company and Waterloo County family – Seagram. No doubt, many will remember the beloved whiskeys that were synonymous with Waterloo – Crown Royal and Seagram V.O.

The image above shows the view down Caroline Street, long before ION, and the plant’s demolition in 1993. Seagram was originally founded in 1857 as Waterloo Distillery, by partners William Hespeler and George Randall. Joseph E. Seagram bought into the business in 1870 and later became sole owner in 1883.

An avid horse breeder and racehorse owner, Seagram operated a stable and farm at Weber and Bridgeport in Waterloo. His horse, Victorious, won the Queen’s Plate in 1891. He also donated the land for the Grand River Hospital. Joseph E. Seagram died in 1919 and his son, Edward, took over as company president.

The Joseph E. Seagram and Sons company distilled iconic whiskey brands such as Crown Royal and Seagram V.O. (Very Own), known throughout North America, along with other distilled spirits. In 1928, the Bronfman family of Montreal, owners of the Distillery Corporation, purchased Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Ltd. In 1975, company president, J. E. Frowde Seagram retired, marking the end of Seagram family involvement with the distillery.

In 1984, the Seagram Museum opened, showcasing the history of the company and whiskey making. With aging plant infrastructure and limited production capacity, Seagram’s parent company announced, in 1990, that the Waterloo distillery would be closing by 1992. In 1993, the distillery was demolished. A fire on 12 July 1993 destroyed most of the buildings under demolition. The museum closed in 1997.

The distillery’s original barrel houses have since been renovated into condominiums known as the Seagram Lofts.  Construction of the Centre for International Governance Innovation started in 2009, and it opened in 2010.

Cheers, Karen

This is post 7 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.

Standard
Stories That Move You

ION University of Waterloo: Growing Pains

Aerial view of University of Waterloo campus

MC60 P000251 University of Waterloo (KPL Collection) – aerial view of campus

As you roll into the University of Waterloo (UW) ION station, think about how much the campus has changed over the years. Since its founding in 1957, UW has grown by leaps and bounds. Hazard to guess the year that the above photograph was taken?

Formerly farmland, the UW campus has witnessed phenomenal growth and change over the years. UW was established on 1 July 1957 as part the Waterloo College, which was then an affiliate of the University of Western Ontario. Following its separation from Waterloo College, UW was incorporated as a university in 1959. Created to fill the need to train engineers and technicians for Canada’s growing postwar economy, it grew substantially over the next decade, adding a Faculty of Arts in 1960 and then Optometry in 1967.

The image above likely dates from 1966. Taken from the Westmount Road side of campus, it looks roughly east towards the Engineering Science buildings. Dana Porter Library is visible and just beyond it, you can see the Engineering Lecture Hall under construction. A 4 November 1965 Kitchener-Waterloo Record article stated that Ball Brothers had been awarded a $1.4 million contract to construct an underground amphitheatre and classrooms. Completion was estimated to happen in mid-October 1966.

Cheers, Karen

This is post 4 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.

 

Standard
Stories That Move You

ION Laurier-Waterloo Park: Pools, Farms, and Zoos

Waterloo Park

P000552 (WHS Collection) Panoramic view of Waterloo Park, also known as Westside Park

When the doors of the ION train open at the Laurier – Waterloo Park station, what are you going to find? Easy access to Wilfrid Laurier University with a quick stroll down Seagram Drive, yes, but do you know that a door is being opened to a very unique place?

The idyllic scene of dappled sunlight, trees and trails can be deceptive. An area bustling with activities and features, Waterloo Park, originally called Westside Park, was created in 1890 when the Town of Waterloo purchased 75 acres of land from the Jacob Eby family.  It officially opened on 7 August 1893. Waterloo County’s first school house, built in 1820, was purchased and moved to the park in 1894.

The park included a pavilion, built in 1897, but later removed in 1972. A pool and concession stand were opened in 1951 beside Silver Lake. The pool was converted to a splash pad, known as Lion’s Lagoon, in 1994. Along with a miniature railway, a small zoo was added in 1960, which housed wildlife such as black bears, timber wolves and cougars.  Vandalism, escapes, concern for animal welfare, and changing perceptions of animal captivity resulted in the zoo’s transformation into the Eby Farm in 1990 – showcasing miniature horses, donkeys, sheep, peacocks and alpacas.  

The photo above shows a view of Waterloo Park that includes the bicycle track, constructed in 1892. The covered grandstand, built by Alois Bauer in 1894, provided shelter for spectators attending local sporting events, bicycle, motorcycle and dog races. It was demolished in 1953.

Will you be an explorer today?

Cheers, Karen

This is post 5 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.

 

Standard
Stories That Move You

ION Waterloo Public Square: Uptown Downtown

Waterloo Town Square, Waterloo, ON

MC60 P001038 (KPL Collection) Waterloo Town Square, Waterloo ON

Where is uptown actually downtown? In Waterloo, naturally! As ION slides into the Waterloo Public Square station, you’ll find yourself passing by a ‘square’ that’s been a shopping mall and office complex, and now a public space.

The image above shows the stores and office tower of Waterloo Town Square, which opened on 19 October 1961. Construction of the complex followed the demolition of the Waterloo Manufacturing and Snyder factory buildings and required the enclosure and burial of Laurel Creek beneath the area. In addition to retail stores, the mall included a bowling alley in the basement. Waterloo Town Square was expanded in 1977.

Plans for the demolition of the mall started in 2000, along with a proposal to extend Willis Way to Caroline Street. By 2005, the office building of the complex was torn down. The mall was remodelled to include street facing retail space and the public square was opened in 2009 to provide a gathering space for public events, music, and festivals.

Cheers, Karen

This is post 6 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.

Standard
Stories That Move You

ION Victoria Park: The Cradle of Light Rail

Kitchener Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Office on King Street

MC60 P000328 Kitchener Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Office, King Street West, Kitchener (KPL Collection), ca. 1950

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).

Cheers, Karen

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.

Standard