Walking through Berlin: 1912 - 2012           

This year Kitchener celebrates its centenary as a city, having first been incorporated the City of Berlin in 1912, and renamed Kitchener in 1916.   In this course we will explore the urban spaces of Berlin as they have changed over the last 100 years through a series of walking tours.  In 1912, the city known as ‘Busy Berlin’ had a compact and highly walkable urban form with much of its built up area within a half-mile radius of the crossroads of King and Queen Streets.  Today, this underlying urban form remains largely unchanged, although many of the buildings, land uses and pedestrian spaces have changed.  Through a variety of walks, and with the support of illustrated lectures, readings, and guest speakers we will reoccupy these historic spaces and explore the transformations that have created today’s downtown Kitchener.  Our walks will centre around aspects of the historical geography and urban landscape of downtown Kitchener.  Here is an overview map showing the routes of four walks that highlight features of the downtown:  All Walks

Industrial Berlin

Busy Berlin’s Industrial Basin and Brownfield Redevelopment:  By the mid-1990s the former industrial basin located in downtown Kitchener had lost most of its Fordist manufacturing activities and left behind acres of abandoned factories and contaminated brownfield sites.  On this walking tour you will get an inside look at these spaces and their amazing transformation into exclusive residential lofts, three university campuses, and the headquarters of numerous hi-tech firms.
This walk will focus on the methods of ‘doing local history’, by following the path of the researcher who, on foot, has investigated the pedestrian activities of previous residents of this locale. 

This walk explores the original commercial core of Berlin centred around the crossroads of King and Queen Streets. 


This walk takes us part way into Victoria Park and along Queen Street South.  Victoria Park was designed and built as a Romantic Landscape in the heart of Berlin even as heavy industrialisation occurred along the Grant Trunk railway corridor.  As it was then,  it remains of showpiece of the downtown Kitchener cityscape today.  

This walk will lead participants through the historical public spaces and neighbourhoods of Busy Berlin while tracing the footsteps of one its everyday citizens on his journey from his place of work to his home on Joseph Street.