Early History of the Kitchener Waterloo Area

Inactive Realtors in Ontario have the option to join an Ontario real estate Brokerage that help you keep your license active during your inactive times.  Save on real estate board fees and all your other needless office expenses too.  Park your license with a reputable and successful license holding Brokerage and still earn high commissions on all your sales, if any and your referrals.  Commissions are paid to you ASAP!

The Kitchener Waterloo area is located in the centre of southern Ontario, Canada’s most populous province. This dynamic region has an expanding population and diversified economy that has made for prosperous, stable growth decade after decade.

The region around the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge is today called the Region of Waterloo, and is stretched out along the Grand River which snakes its way through the entire area. For centuries this land was occupied by Iroquois First Nations people who developed a distinctive culture based on the fertile farming land and plentiful fish and game along the river.

After the arrival of Europeans in the 1600s the native way of life was changed forever. Spurred on initially by French fur traders, the lucrative fur trade came to dominate life for natives throughout this and many other areas of North America.

Rivalries and local wars between the Iroquois and Huron tribes in Southern Ontario broke out as the different tribes vied for fur trading dominance. These continual wars served as a deterrent to early European settlement in this part of Ontario.

Ironically the Indian wars were brought to an end by another more significant and much larger conflict – the American Revolution. In 1784 a large tract of land along the Grand River was set aside by the British Crown as a grant to the Six Nations Iroquois. Most of the Iroquois had been living in New York State and the land in Ontario was given to them because of their loyalty to the Crown during the American War of Independence.

Thousands of American Iroquois emigrated to their new lands along the Grand River, and many of them settled in the area around what is now Brantford just down river about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Waterloo area.

Between 1796 and 1798, the Six Nations Indians led by Chief Joseph Brant, sold 38,000 hectares of land to Colonel Richard Beasley, another United Empire Loyalist. In turn, Beasley attracted a group of German Mennonite farmers from Pennsylvania to the area around what is now Kitchener and Waterloo. Settlement began in earnest during the early 1800s.

The rich farm land of the region was an important factor that drew the original Mennonite settlers to the area. Their growing community and expanding population needed new tracts of land if they were to remain a rural land-based agricultural people. They were also attracted by the relative isolation of the area, and the guarantee of religious and cultural tolerance offered by the British Crown.

These original Mennonite settlers became the basis of what soon became a thriving community in the region. The German-speaking character of the community served as a focal point for future immigration from Germany and other parts of central Europe. Included among these European immigrants were many skilled craftsmen whose hard work and disciplined way of life became the foundation of the industrial economy that the region is still famous for.

From these humble beginnings roughly 200 years ago the region around the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge has grown into one of the most dynamic, progressive and culturally diverse areas in Canada.

Rick Hendershot lives in the Waterloo Region and writes about business, culture and history. Find out more about the region by visiting the Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate blog.

Inactive Realtors in Ontario have the option to join an Ontario real estate Brokerage that help you keep your license active during your inactive times.  Save on real estate board fees and all your other needless office expenses too.  Park your license with a reputable and successful license holding Brokerage and still earn high commissions on all your sales, if any and your referrals.  Commissions are paid to you ASAP!

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