In the early nineteenth century, German farmers followed the trail blazed by the Mennonites, settling here in Kitchener by the hundreds. The Mennonites had called their settlement Sand Hills, but the new arrivals renamed the place Berlin in 1826, changing it yet again during World War I to “Kitchener” (after the British field marshal) at a time when it was prudent to prove their patriotism. Today around sixty percent of Kitchener’s inhabitants are descendants of German immigrants, a heritage celebrated every year during Oktoberfest (w oktoberfest.ca), nine days of alcoholic stupefaction when even the most reticent of men can be seen wandering the streets in Lederhosen.

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