Our election history is full of interesting facts. This page includes facts about our beginnings and modern developments.

On this page:

  1. Berlin to Kitchener
  2. Referendums
  3. Firsts
  4. 20 years of service
  5. Election facts

Berlin to Kitchener

  • the first Warden of the Village of Berlin after its incorporation was John Scott in 1854.
  • the first council of the Village of Berlin in 1854 included G.W. Bowman, G. Jantz, J. Scott, H. Stroh and E. Ziegler.
  • the first mayor of the Town of Berlin (1870) was Hugo Kranz.
  • the first mayor of the City of Berlin (1912) was W. H. Schmalz.
  • the first mayor of the City of Kitchener (1916) was J.E. Hett.


  • Between 1922 and 1924, three referendum votes on specific money bylaws related to construction of a new City Hall were held. All garnered positive results, which enabled us to borrow funds for the construction and acquisition of lands. The new building was completed in 1924 at a total cost of $700,000 (including interest). Today, the building is affectionately referred to as "The Old City Hall."
  • The 1930 referendum asked voters to pass a bylaw for market improvements; the bylaw passed.
  • Daylight savings time was put to the voters in 1930, 1936 and 1957 - the year the decision finally passed.
  • During the 1956 election, voters were asked to increase the council term to two years. The motion was narrowly defeated by 84 votes.
  • The issue of movie-theatre openings was put to the public in 1960, 1962 and 1965 - the year the decision finally passed.
  • Voters were asked to vote on the fluoridation of water in 1967 and did not pass
  • On Dec. 6, 1971, by order of the Ontario Municipal Board, 55 per cent of residents voted for the existing City Hall (c.1924 - "The Old City Hall") and adjacent Farmers' Market (c.1907) to be demolished, in favour of new construction. The City Hall and Farmers' Market buildings were demolished in 1973 to make way for the new development known as the Oxlea Tower and Market Square.
  • The question of regional amalgamation was put to the voters again in 2010. The same year, we increased our number of councillors from six to 10 to correspond with the increase in the number of wards.
  • In 2010, voters in Bridgeport were asked to vote on the issue of water fluoridation.


  • The first woman elected to council was Bette Swartz in 1963, followed by Edith MacIntosh in 1966 and Grace Stoner in 1970.
  • In 1978, the first "computerized" election system was used when the Votomatic Vote Recorder was used, at an approximate cost of $61,500 US.
  • The first televised council meeting in our new City Hall council chamber took place on Sept. 27, 1993.
  • The first webcasting of a council meeting took place on Aug. 12, 2013.
  • The first recount in Kitchener's history occurred in 2010 for Ward 9. The recount confirmed the original results; Debbie Chapman earned 1,688 votes and Frank Etherington earned 1,689 votes.

20 years of service

Past members of council who served for more than 20 years:

  • Henry Sturm: 1924-1926; 1928; 1930-1932; 1933-1934 (mayor); 1936-1942; 1944-1953
  • C. Siebert: 1932; 1937-38; 1940-1945; 1947-1956; 1961
  • Dominic Cardillo: 1963-1982; 1983-1994 (mayor)
  • Jim Ziegler: 1981-2002
  • John Smola: 1984-2010
  • Geoff Lorentz: 1989-2010

Election facts

  • Local voter turnout for our past municipal elections has ranged from 23 to 60 per cent.
  • In 1978, the city was divided into 10 wards with a council of a mayor and 10 aldermen (one per ward). Eight of the aldermen also sat on regional council, as selected by a vote of city council.
  • In 2010, the Province of Ontario moved each municipal election day from the second Monday in November to the last Monday in October.