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Waterloo Region’s Local Support for the War (31 August 1914)

The region continued to contribute to the hospital ship fund for the Imperial Navy and the Red Cross Society throughout August. Waterloo Region residents also donated goods that were needed, such as pillows, shirts, socks, mending kits, and fabrics to soldiers who were about to go to the front. The region was also willing to do without certain things in the name of the war effort. The Waterloo Public Library halted their renovation plans, feeling that such expenditure would be unreasonable during the crisis. By the end of August it was clear that Waterloo region strove to support the war effort through a variety of methods.

(“To Raise Funds for Canadian Hospital Ship,” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 11 August 1914; “Red Cross Society,” Hespeler Herald, 20 August 1914; “Supplies for Soldiers,” Elmira Signet, 27 August 1914; “New Wing to Library Will Not be Built,” Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph, 20 August 1914; “Red Cross Society,” Hespeler Herald, 20 August 1914.)


Local Support



Berlin’s Soldier Boys (14 August 1914)

On 14 August, a poem was published in the Berlin Daily Telegraph that honoured the young men who enlisted in Berlin, Ontario. The first stanza states that Berlin’s sons who had enlisted were the pride of their community. They were loyal and true Canadians, ready to defend England’s honour. The poem concluded with encouragement to give the Berlin men a good send-off as they go off to carry out “Deeds of valour and might.” This poem emphasized that Berlin men, regardless of their ancestry, felt and were seen to be proud members of the British Empire. This message was emphasized by the fact that the poem was written by “A Britisher.” It is here, once again, that a member of the Waterloo Region emphasized the Canadian and imperialistic sentiment and identity of the region.

(“Berlin’s Soldier Boys,” Berlin Daily-Telegraph, 14 August 1914.)


Berlin’s Soldier Boys (14 August 1914)



Canadian National Exhibition (20 August 1914)

Despite Canada’s preoccupation with the war effort and the mobilization of troops at Valcartier, Canadian culture continued to thrive. Although it was suggested that the Canadian National Exhibition might be cancelled due to the war, the Exhibition was held as planned in Toronto at Exhibition Place. It concluded on Labour Day (7 September) after running for eighteen days. The Exhibition included big attractions such as the Water Carnival featuring the ‘Indian’ canoe races, celebrations for one hundred years of peace with the United States through song, and a performance called ‘Babylon’ that featured over a thousand performers. The large fair provided an entertaining distraction from the European war for thousands of Canadians.

(“Nothing Can Stop It!,” Hespeler Herald, 20 August 1914; Visual:




Vandalism of the Kaiser Bust in Berlin, Ontario and other acts of hostility towards German-Canadians (27 August 1914)

Numerous articles were reprinted in the Waterloo Region newspapers that discussed accusations against German-Canadians.In London, Ontario, The London Advertiser denounced accusations that German residents were wrecking trains and spying for the Kaiser, stressing that most German-Canadians had been born in Canada and were loyal to the British Empire. The Montreal Herald reminded their readers, “we do not need to fight these battles over again by saying things to each other,” in an attempt to reduce hostilities towards German-Canadians in Quebec. Despite the inclusion of all these articles, and other articles in Waterloo Region newspapers, hostility was still present in Waterloo Region towards German-Canadians.

On 27 August, the bust of Kaiser Wilhelm I was removed from its pedestal in Victoria Park, Berlin and thrown into the park lake. The Kaiser bust was erected in 1897, one year after the park was opened and a statue of Queen Victoria was erected in 1909. The statue of the Queen was left unmarked in August 1914. This act of vandalism greatly upset the German-Canadians in the region and outraged Mayor Euler who stated that “the deed was one of the most outrageous ever committed in the city” and that the city’s citizens were undeserving of this humiliation. Prior to this vandalism, a German flag had also been destroyed at the park, indicating that the hostility towards German-Canadians, and residents of German origin, was increasing in the region.

(“Insulting German Canadians (The London Advertiser),” Berlin Daily Telegraph, 15 August 1914, “Our German Citizens (Montreal Herald),” Hespeler Herald, 20 August 1914, “The Standpoint of German Canadians,” Elmira Signet, 3 September 1914, “Bust of Kaiser Thrown into Lake,” Elmira Signet, 27 August 1914, “Kaiser Wilhelm I Bust Thrown in Park Lake,” Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph, 27 August 1914; Visual: