The land in and around present day Kitchener was originally a land grant given to the Six Nations Indians by the British Crown in 1784. Between 1796 and 1798 parts of the grant were sold off to one Colonel Richard Beasley, and settled mainly by German speaking Mennonite farmers. In the early 1800s a group of Mennonites bought all of Beasley’s remaining unsold land and formed the German Company Tract, which became the Township of Waterloo in 1816. By 1833 a small hamlet had formed among the farms and grist mills along the Grand River and was named Berlin in honor of the residents’
When Waterloo Township became a County in 1853, Berlin became the County Seat and the population grew. The extension of the Grand Trunk Railway through Berlin in 1856 increased immigration and industry into the village even further. By 1912 Berlin was large enough to be promoted to the status of City, but the outbreak of World War I saw a decrease in popularity for all things German. So in 1916 the City of Berlin became the City of Kitchener, in honor of British General Horatio Herbert Kitchener.
Modern Kitchener has been built largely around industry, and this is evident by its unique city plan and zoning by-laws. In fact the city is located in the heart of what is known as Ontario’s "Technology Triangle" along with sister city Waterloo, Cambridge to the south, and Guelph to the northeast. Kitchener is also still the hub of German culture in Canada, even holding its own Oktoberfest celebration (the largest of its kind outside of Germany).