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.

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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.

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Basking in the glow of the Canadian Gold Medals in Olympic Hockey

MC60 P745 K-W Dutchment Olympic Hockey Team, 1956

MC60 P745 K-W Dutchmen Hockey Team – 1956 Olympics (Kitchener Public Library Collection – used with permission of the Waterloo Region Record)

As we savour the recent gold medals in men and women’s hockey at the Olympics held in Sochi this month, I thought that it would be a good time to look back to one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s Olympic hockey connection – the 1956 K-W Dutchmen Hockey team. The Dutchmen represented Canada at the 1956 Olympics held in Cortina, Italy, winning the bronze medal.  Russia won gold, while the United States won silver medals.  The 1960 K-W Dutchmen hockey team represented Canada at the Olympics in Squaw Valley, California and came home with silver medals . CBC-KW profiled the 1956 and 1960 K-W Dutchmen teams on their website, including video of a 1955-56 CBC broadcast about the team and this area. In the Record, Jeff Outhit recently wrote an article about Byrle Klinck’s memories of the 1956 bronze medal team.

The photo above was taken by the Kitchener Daily Record.  Appearing in the photograph, front row, from left to right, are: Keith Woodall, Jack McKenzie, Bob Bauer (coach), Ken Laufman and Denis Brodeur. Second row: Harry Wharmsby (trainer), Art Hurst, Paul Knox, Gerry Theberge, Bob White, Byrle Klinck, Jim Logan and Ernie Goman (manager). Back row – George Scholes, Floyd Martin, Bill Colvin, Charlie Brooker, Jim Horne, Don Rope and Howie Lee.

There are so many great hockey memories from Waterloo Region. What is your best hockey memory or story?

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