Where The Streets Get Their Names: Kitchener Street

By Lisa Terech, Community Engagement

Just east of Ritson Road, between Olive and Highway 401, one can find Kitchener Street. This street bears the name of Horatio Herbert Kitchener, the 1st Earl Kitchener. Kitchener Street appears in directories as early as 1921.

Kitchener was born 24 June 24, 1850 in Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland, the son of an army officer. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He first saw action in the Franco-Prussian War, in which he was an ambulance driver and faced reprimand for participating in a conflict in which England was neutral. He later commanded the British army in Egypt, the Sudan, India and in South Africa during the Boer War (1899-1902).

In 1914, at the start of World War I, Kitchener was appointed the Secretary of State for War, promoted to Field Marshal, and became the face of Britain’s recruitment campaign, ‘Your Country Needs You.’ Kitchener was onboard the HMS Hampshire on June 5, 1916 when it was sunk by German mines off the coast of Scotland.

This Oshawa street is just one of many namesakes for the Field Marshal. Perhaps the most notable is Kitchener, Ontario. Before 1916, the city was named Berlin, however, anti-German sentiments were on the rise during WWI, and by mid-1916 there was a controversial referendum to rename; Kitchener was the winner, beating out Adanac (Canada spelled backwards), Brock, Benton, Corona, and Keowana.

The topic of renaming the City of Kitchener arose again in the summer of 2020. In a statement by Kitchener City Hall:
“We acknowledge that the legacy of our namesake, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a decorated British Earl who established concentration camps during the Boer War, is not one to be celebrated. While we in no way condone, diminish or forget his actions, we know that more than a century after our citizens chose this name for their community, Kitchener has become so much more than its historic connection to a British field marshal.”

As a knitter, I would be remiss to not bring up the Kitchener Stitch. This form of grafting is very common for finishing top-down socks – while he in no way ‘invented’ the stitch, the story goes that Kitchener was a promoter of knitting for the war effort, and this way of finishing the sock is very comfortable on toes, a relief to soldiers who were fighting a very hard, nasty war and whose feet were often in great discomfort.

Monash Avenue, Currie Avenue, and Montgomery Street are also found in this general area of Oshawa, and all of these streets were named after First World War officers.


References

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horatio-Herbert-Kitchener-1st-Earl-Kitchener

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Horatio-Herbert-Kitchener-1st-Earl-Kitchener

https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp02564/horatio-herbert-kitchener-1st-earl-kitchener-of-khartoum

https://www.therecord.com/news/waterloo-region/2020/06/19/petition-wants-kitchener-renamed.html

knithistory.academicblogs.co.uk/the-kitchener-stitch-knitting-in-wartime-study-day/

The Month That Was – August 1872

All articles originally appeared in the Ontario Reformer

August 2, 1872

Sir John A. Macdonald is earnestly striving to keep Ontario down, by narrowing her boundaries; and is determined to take from her large portion of the western extremity of the Province, including much of the mineral region.  Mr. Gibbs is aiding Sir John in the robbing of Ontario, and wants to be re-elected to Parliament to assist in the completion of the spoliation.

Vote for White, and thus aid in checkmating the curtailment of our territory.

August 2, 1872, page 2

The return match between the Cedar Dale and Oshawa Base Ball Clubs was played on Friday last, and won by the latter club by 25 runs. Only five innings were played. The first game was won by Cedar Dale by nine runs in nine innings.  The third and decisive game will shortly be played, when an interesting time is expected.

The statement in the Vindicator that Mr. Farewell had promised the Dominion nomination to Mr. White, is utterly false – as are all trumped up Vindicator stories of a like nature, got up for the sole purpose of injuring the reform party.

Page 3

Lost
On Sunday, 21st inst. either in Whitby Town or between Whitby and Oshawa, a brown silk umbrella.  The finder will be suitably rewarded by leaving it at the Reformer Office, Oshawa.

August 9, 1872

Page 2

The three cases of assault, which were to have been tried to-day, have been postponed till Monday next, at 10 o’clock am.

Grace Marks received her pardon on condition that she would leave this country never to return.  She left Kingston on Tuesday, for the United States

*From the Canadian Encyclopedia, Grace Marks “was convicted in 1843 at the age of 16 for the murders of Thomas Kinnear, her employer and a wealthy Upper Canadian living in Richmond Hill, and Nancy Montgomery, his housekeeper and mistress.” Her fictionalized story was told in the 1996 Margaret Atwood novel, Alias Grace. More info: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/alias-grace, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/mysterious-murder-case-inspired-margaret-atwoods-alias-grace-180967045/

August 9, 1872, page 1

August 16, 1872

Page 2

Mr. Daniel Hinkson having purchased the 75 acres known as the “Karr” property situate to the east of the furniture factory, intends laying it out in Village and Park lots, which he will offer for sale at reasonable rates. The situation is good and healthy, and commands a fine view of the village and surrounding country.

August 16, 1872, page 2

Village Council
A meeting of the Village Council was held on Tuesday evening. Present: the deputy reeve, in the chair, and Messrs. Like and Cameron.

The fire brigade made application for $60 to defray expenses to pic-nic on 5th September.  $50 was granted to them.  The Brigade also made application for a new bell.

Several accounts were passed, and ordered to be paid.

August 16, 1872, page 3

August 23, 1872

Page 2

We are glad to see that the bridge on the Base Line, north of Brook’s hotel, is being repaired, but it was not before it needed it

Immediately after the torch-light procession passed on Wednesday evening, a lighted torch was discovered on the roof of Quigley’s hotel.  How it got there we have been unable to find out. But certain it is, had it not been seen at the time the hotel would have been burned.

Theft – A young man who gave his name as William Smith, was apprehended on Tuesday and brought before John Parker, Esq., for having entered the house of Mr. Thos. Henderson, Dunbarton, while the family were at the funeral of Mrs. Synott, and stolen a watch, which was found upon him when captured, and sworn to by the owner as his property.  Smith accounted for the watch by saying that he bought it from a stranger on the road for two dollars, all the money he had. He was committed to gaol to await his trial at the [Assizes].

August 23, 1872, page 3

Page 4

Notice
Notice is hereby given that I will not be responsible for any debts contracted by my son, William James Sulley
William Sulley
Darlington, June 12, 1871.

August 30, 1872

Page 2

The 20th annual exhibition of the South Ontario Agricultural Society will be held in Whitby on the 19th and 20th of September next. Over $2,000 in prizes will be offered.

Geo. Brown and the Globe still lives to do honor to Canada.  It was feared by some that the powerful (?) letter from the pen of Jno. B. Harris (and Webster’s Dictionary) published in the Mail, of Wednesday last, would prove fatal to Mr. Brown and his mighty paper; but, luckily for the Dominion, they have both survived.  Try again, Mr. Harris.

Johnson Graham, late P.D. in this office, met with a severe accident on Saturday last.  He, with a few of his chums, went out shooting with an old rusty gun.  Graham was to take the first shot, but was advised by some of the boys not to fire the gun for fear it should burst. Their advise was unheeded, and greatly to the dismay of Graham, the gun shot from both ends, the breech flying out and striking him on the head, fracturing his skull, and slightly stunning him.  He soon recovered, went to the creek and washed the blood off, and then walked up to Dr. Coburn’s office, where the wound was dressed and a few pieces of bone taken out.  He was then taken home, where he now lies. He is in great hopes of soon being able to go shooting again, but not with a rusty gun.

A house was haunted in Saginaw, Michigan, and a thorough investigation revealed a venerable woodpecker in an inner room.

Celebrating 100 Years of Lakeview Park

Lakeview Park officially opened in 1920, and for over 100 years, it has been a place of rest and recreation, of memorable summer days and wild winter storms!

To celebrate this history, the Oshawa Museum launched an online exhibit, which is divided into three sections: Before the Park, Lakeview Park, and the Park Today.

Explore this online exhibit and read about different aspects of the park’s history, like the story of the Ocean Wave, the Pavilions past and present, or about the buffalo that called the park home!

In our latest post, curator Melissa Cole delves into the early history of the Oshawa Harbour.

New posts are being added frequently! Visit https://lakeviewparkoshawa.wordpress.com/ to read all about it!

Student Museum Musings – The Oshawa Centre

By Mia V., Summer Student

Hi all! I’m very glad to be back for my third summer here at the Oshawa Museum. Over the past two months or so, I have been continuing to research and work on the upcoming exhibit, Leaving Home, Finding Home in Oshawa: Displaced Persons and Stories of Immigration. If you or someone you know have any connection to this period of post-World War II immigration, we would love to hear from you! Additionally, as you might know, we have an online exhibit where you can see some of the stories, documents, and photographs that have been shared with us so far: https://oshawaimmigrationstories.weebly.com/

Stefan Malish’s ID during his time working at Brompton and Paper. This is the back of the ID which features “useful information” such as conversion rates and tips on applying for Canadian citizenship.

The uncertainty of the past several months has made familiar places very strange! While running some errands at “the” mall – that is Oshawa Centre (or the OC) – for the first time in a while, I found myself wondering about its history, as one does…

The original 1956 logo for the Oshawa Shopping Centre as it appeared in the Toronto Daily Star on October 31st of that year. The mall was advertised as “Canada’s most beautiful shopping centre.”

Construction of the Oshawa Shopping Centre began on July 22, 1955, when the mayor “turned the first sod.” Doors opened on November 1, 1956, and eager anticipation was in the brisk morning air. The crowds waiting, apparently numbering 10,000 in all, were in for a day filled with fun prizes and gaining a glimpse of what this new construction – a “mall” – was all about.

Ax997.26.1: The Oshawa Shopping Centre ca. 1967. We can see an early phase of construction prior to the enclosing of the mall and addition of a Sears store.

While we have very much gotten used to waiting in lines for stores to open as of late, malls have seemingly always been the primary institution of North American consumer life. At this time however, in the early 1950s, they were a very recent innovation by Austrian Jewish architect Victor Gruen. Inspired by the quintessential European experience, where one strolled casually from shop to shop, Gruen invented the outdoor shopping mall with the intent of encouraging a more slow-paced and social experience.[1]

1968 Ad, as appeared in the Oshawa Journal, March 13, 1968 (A999.19.282).

One of the developers of the Oshawa Shopping Centre, John P. van Haastrecht, made similar connections between the necessity of the mall and a post-war society which had seen rapid changes – especially noting the impact of the suburbs and widespread ownership of cars. Oshawa was considered to be the perfect place for a mall – car ownership and average household income were both reportedly quite high in the city with a population just nearing 50,000. For that reason, the mall often boasted of being “one of the five outstanding Shopping Centres on the North American continent” when it first opened.

Over the years, we’ve all gotten quite used to the Oshawa Centre changing its face! If you’re like me, spending a lot of time at the mall growing up, you probably have quite a few memories attached to certain iterations of it.

In 1968, the mall was enclosed – a roof added over the existing stores – and Sears joined Eaton’s, Hudson’s Bay, and Loblaws as anchor stores. Three years later, in 1971, an office tower was added, along with Famous Players cinemas (both of which you can see in the above photos). Seven more years after that, the south end of the mall was added and a second level as well. In 1989, there were 125 new stores added and the theatre was renovated. Four years later, in 1993, the food court was transformed with a 1950s theme – its signature black and white checkered tiles and overall design calling back to the decade when the mall was built. Finally, most recently, there was the 2016 renovation. A whole wing was added with several dozen new stores and the overall look of the mall was redesigned as well.

Ax995.308.1b / East side of the Oshawa Centre, 1990s.

Of course, in very recent weeks, the social aspect imagined by the Oshawa Centre’s original developers is lacking, with all seating areas being closed off to encourage social distancing. Moreover, the impact of technology – or, more specifically, of online shopping – has also changed the reality of the mall as a social space. In any case, what becomes clear is that a building is never just a building – but rather more like a reflection of the society that built (and repeatedly changed!) it.


[1] Ian Bogost, “When Malls Saved the Suburbs from Despair,” The Atlantic (February 17, 2018), https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/02/when-malls-saved-cities-from-capitalism/553610/.

Student Museum Musings – Tour-less no longer

By Adam A., Summer Student

Hello! I am Adam, you may recall me from previous years’ summer student musings. This year I am the Summer Heritage Gardener, which naturally means that I am working on creating entries for one of the museum’s web projects. All joking aside I do work in the gardens on Fridays, which provides a nice change of pace from researching and writing about various historically relevant sites around Oshawa.

Normally, being called away to lead a tour would provide a break from my desk work. However, prior to this week we haven’t been conducting any tours due to COVID-19. Working at the museum without running any tours has been an interesting experience. Leading tours was always a high point of my day. I always really appreciated the chance to stretch my legs and interact with people. I would have the tour script and all manner of additional factoids memorized, and I would be eager to see what the visitors find most interesting or engaging.

Tuesday, July 14 was the museum’s first tour. However the new system for tours is quite different from what it would normally be.

As I’m sure most of you can remember, a tour would normally be arranged on the spot in Guy House.  It would normally start by heading out to Robinson House to see the temporary exhibit and the Indigenous history exhibit. After that it would normally head over to Henry House to see what a mid-1800s home would look like. After that I personally liked to conclude with a visit to the drive shed to see the carriages through the glass doors. Tours take anywhere from 20 minutes to over and hour.

Precisely none of that applies this year. Tours are booked online for a specific time slot. The tour is of Henry House. Visitors are to download/stream an audio tour which will guide them through Henry House – our podcast channel, Oshawa Musings, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and through our Podcast hosting website. A staff member, such as myself, will be present to answer any additional questions and wipe down any surfaces that the visitor touches, but the audio tour is meant to do the guiding and presenting. Tours will be strictly limited to the time block that was booked online.

One commonality between the two tours is that they both conclude with the offer to go to Guy House to visit the gift shop and gallery space. The gift shop has been modified to minimize points of contact, and the Verna Conant Gallery will play host to a photograph based exhibit.

This is a very different sort of tour from what is normally offered, but it is hoped that this will minimize instances of close contact between visitors and staff/surfaces. I look forward to seeing how these new tours work out!