Kitchener-Waterloo Ontario History - Development in the 1900s
In 1912, Berlin officially became a City, and it was considered Canada's German capital. However, First World War in 1914 caused anti-German sentiment andthere was pressure for the City to change its name from Berlin, and in 1916 following much debate and controversy, the name of the City was changed to Kitchener, after the British General Horatio Herbert Kitchener who won fame during the Boer War.
The diverse industries in Kitchener-Waterloo weathered the worst years of the depression era, and began growing again by 1936. The tension that had marked the city in the First World War did not reappear during World War Two.
In the 1960s, the construction of the 401 which connected Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto and Montreal increased the community's accessibility for both manufacturing and residents.
While Waterloo has grown to be more white collar with the presence of two universities and a number of high tech companies, Kitchener has been a more blue-collar town, with a diverse range of manufacturing. In recent decades, a number of the old industrial companies of Kitchener have fallen on harder times, and either scaled back or closed down, though manufacturing, processing and utilities still employ about 15% of the local workforce.
In 1973, the towns of Preston and Hespeler, and the city of Galt amalgamated to become Cambridge. At the same time, Waterloo Region was created to economically provide regional services like transit, airport, and healthcare for three urban municipalities (Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo), and four rural townships )North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich).
Today, Waterloo is best known as the headquarters of Research in Motion (RIM) inventor of the Blackberry. Kitchener's downtown features a new city hall and a new farmer's market. The University of Waterloo is expanding with two significant expansions.
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