Fonds - City of Kitchener - Public Utilities

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City of Kitchener - Public Utilities

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  • 1800 - 2013 (Creation)
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    City of Kitchener Corporate Archives

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367 cm of textual records
17 cm of videos, film and photographs
16 cm of drawings and blueprints
11 artifacts

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With the advent of various utilities in the 19th century, the wave of change began and continues in the present day in the 21st century. It began in Berlin Ontario in the early years, when affluent home owners and progressive businesses converted to gas. In the late 1880’s horse drawn streetcars were the beginning of a public transit system.

Gas

Gas power was first introduced in Berlin in 1879, when Dominion Buttons Company, installed the first gas-lighting system. A few years later, the privately owned Berlin Gas Company, built a coal-burning plant on Gaukel Street to produce flammable gas. The Town installed street lights and several companies and households converted to gas. When the owners of the company wanted to sell, Berlin was willing to purchase the gas company as it had previously purchased the water company in 1898. The Town of Berlin took over running the Berlin Gas Company on June 1, 1903. The Berlin Light Commission was set up and gas and electric customers were served by the Commission. The commission began upgrading the utility’s system to provide a more reliable system to its customers.

In 1920, the Kitchener Light Commission opened a modern gas production facility which was known as a carbureted water gas production plant. The new system ensured customers had a regular supply of gas.

The gas plant was enlarged and upgraded in 1930. Architect B. A. Jones designed, the Kitchener Public Utilities Commission building which became the base for the gas, electric and transit operations. The stately art deco building built in the same style as the former City Hall, opened in 1933 and still stands today at the corner of Gaukel and King Streets.

During the 1950’s, natural gas was moving east with the installation of the TransCanada pipeline. Many miles of new pipelines were laid in Kitchener to accommodate the use of natural gas. In 1958, natural gas was distributed to Kitchener customers and the old manufactured gas plant on Gaukel St. was dismantled.

With the introduction of Regional government in 1973, gas distribution was no longer under the Kitchener Public Utilities Commission. Gas distribution became a division of the City of Kitchener under the name Kitchener Utilities. In 2003, Kitchener Utilities celebrated 100 years of Community Ownership. Today, Kitchener Utilities is a publicly owned utility which delivers natural gas and water to its citizens and maintains the city’s’ underground system of pumps, valves and pipes. Kitchener Utilities offers programs to help increase energy efficiency such as natural gas heater rentals, protection plans, financing and repair services on appliances.

Public Transit

The privately owned, Berlin Gas Company began running horse drawn streetcars in Berlin in 1887. June 13, 1889, the first street car ran between Waterloo and Berlin. From 1894 - 1906, the Berlin Street Railway began operating electric streetcars in replace of the horse drawn streetcars. The single car line that ran from Cedar Street (Bridgeport Rd.) in Waterloo to Scott Street in Berlin was extended to Albert Street (now Madison) where a new car barn and power house was built. In 1895, new electric cars were run. In 1902, service was extended to Bridgeport (which later annexed and became part of Kitchener), by the Berlin & Bridgeport Railway Company. The Berlin Light Commission took over the operation of the street railway system in 1907. In 1910, hydro-electric power from Niagara Falls was turned on in Berlin and on April 1, 1911 hydroelectric power was used for the street railway.

In 1922, the first centre-exit steel cars were purchased. Gasoline powered buses provided cross town bus service beginning in 1939 run by the Public Utilities Commission. On December 27, 1946, 59 years after streetcar service began, a severe ice storm damaged to overhead wire, which caused the service to end a few days prematurely as repairs could not be justified when trolley service was to begin on January 1, 1947 using the new overhead electric lines. A new terminal building and operations base was erected in 1951 on King St. E. In 1967 the first diesel-powered buses were purchased. An exact cash fare system was implemented in 1971.

With the advent of Regional Government in 1973, the City of Kitchener took over the running of the transit system from the Public Utilities Commission under the name Kitchener Transit. New larger buses were purchased to replace the trolley buses which ended their reign on March 26, 1973. In the mid 1970’s, more large buses were purchased to replace the smaller buses as they were phased out. A central transit terminal opened in 1974 on Duke Street and a new transit centre on Strasburg Rd. opened in 1976. By 1998 there were a fleet of 116 buses. The computer age arrived in 1982 with the introduction of Teleride, a computer system that allowed customers to phone the bus stop number and the computer system would inform them when the next bus was expected. The current transit terminal on Charles St. opened in 1988. Kitchener Transit merged with Cambridge Transit on January 1, 2000 becoming the newly created Grand River Transit (GRT) under the Region of Waterloo.

Electricity

In 1882, the Berlin Gas Company, a private firm, built a coal-burning plant on Gaukel Street to produce electricity. In 1903, the privately owned plant was taken over by the town. The founding fathers of Hydro in Ontario were Adam Beck, Daniel Snider and Elias Detweiler. These men believed that hydro-electric power would provide the least expensive power source which would support growth and prosperity in their community. They promoted electricity from Niagara Falls throughout southwestern Ontario.

The Hydro-Electric Power Commission was founded in 1906 to build transmission lines to supply municipalities with power generated at Niagara Falls. It was a crown corporation and municipal cooperative and the first public-owned utility. The first chairman for the commission was Sir Adam Beck who was born in Baden Ontario, near Kitchener. He passionately believed that electricity should be made available and affordable for everyone not just the wealthy. Sir Adam Beck was on hand on October 11, 1910 when he turned on the switch to make Berlin the first town to receive hydro-electric power generated at Niagara Falls.

Electricity for Berliners was distributed by the Berlin Light Commission from 1906-1916 and the Kitchener Light Commission from 1917-1924. In 1925 the Public Utilities Commission took over the distribution. A new office building for the commission opened in 1933 and still stands today. The building was a three-storey Art Deco building constructed with cut granite and sandstone, in the same style of the former City Hall.

In 1978, the commission became the Hydro-Electric Commission of Kitchener – Wilmot and was incorporated in 2000. The current hydro headquarters was erected in 1985, with additions built in 1995 and 2004.

This fonds consist of correspondence, historical information, blueprints, committee minutes, agreements, annual reports, financial information, contracts, photographs, videos, and drawings. The records consist of six series.

Title based on contents of fonds.

1: Correspondence/Historical information – 1888 – 2011. 166cm

This series consists of correspondence, reports, agreements, contracts, insurance policies, and registers.

An index is available in Appendix A.

2: Financial Information – 1908 – 1973. 70cm

This series consists of ledgers, financial statements, and financial information.

An index is available in Appendix B.

3: Committee Minutes – 1886 – 1961. 117cm

This series consists of minutes of standing committees and special committees.

An index is available in Appendix C.

4: Blueprints/Drawings – 1918 – 1995. 16cm

This series consists of blueprints and drawings of facilities and Public Utilities Commission building.

An index is available in Appendix D.

5: Photographs/Videos/Film – 1908 – 1991. 17cm

This series consists of photographs, videos and film of the Public Utilities Commission and Transportation Centre.

An index is available in Appendix E.

6: Annual Reports – 1910 – 1995. 14cm

This series consists of annual reports of the Utilities, Transportation and Railway of the City of Kitchener.

An index is available in Appendix F.

7 : Artifacts – 1800 – 2002. 60cm

This series consists of ‘The Evolution of the Meter’ artifacts.

An index is available in Appendix G.

Appendix A
Series 1: Correspondence

Title Date Volume/Item Box
Correspondence 1966 1-3 9907
Canadian Transit Association brief 1961 1-4 9907
Public Utilities Commission files 1967-1969 1-5 9907
P. U. C., Gas Division operation review 1905 1-6 9907
Kitchener & Waterloo Street Railway Ledger(fuel needs) 1930-1954 1-7 9907
Kitchener & Waterloo Street Railway Ledger (maintenance) 1928-1933 1-8 9907
Proceedings of American Transit Assoc. 1948 2-1 9908
Proceedings of Canadian Electric Railway Assoc. 1921-1956 2-3 9908
Agreements of P.U.C. 1957-1966 3-1 9913
Construction Contract – Natural Gas Pipeline 1958-1967 3-2 9913
Proposal for Specifications – P.U. C. 1958 3-3 9913
Report – Gas Department 1957 3-4 9913
Operating and Maintenance Procedures 1961-1970 3-5 9913
Gas System Changeover Report 1958 3-6 9913
Miscellaneous 1916-1924 3-7 9913
Correspondence 1912-1924 3-8 9913
Proposals 1913-1924 3-9 9913
Contracts 1912-1924 3-10 9913
Gas Dept. Insurance Policies 1962-1970 3-11 9913
American Gas Assoc. Gas Industry Training Directory 1972 4-1 9915
Proceedings National Conference 1970 4-2 9915
Kitchener Utilities 100 years 2006 4-4 9915
Public Transit Studies 1971-1972 4-5 9915
Transit 1894-1922 4-9 9915
Waterloo Transportation Franchise Agreement 1971 4-10 9915
Correspondence 1961-1971 4-11 9915
Miscellaneous 1959-1966 4-12 9915
Coach Line Material & Care Equipment Brochure n.d. 4-14 9915
Correspondence Trolley Line 1966-1971 4-15 9915
Bus Schedule 1962 4-16 9915
Transportation Peter Barnard Study 1971-1972 5-1 9917
Union Agreements 1944-1971 5-2 9917
Agreement – City of Waterloo & P.U.C. 1946-1971 5-4 9917
Transportation Special Reports 1968-1972 5-5 9917
Miscellaneous 1954-1972 5-7 9917
Transportation Department Monthly reports 1954-1964 5-8 9917
Transportation Department Insurance Policies 1958-1975 5-9 9917
Miscellaneous 1918-1924 5-10 9917
B.F. Goodrich Gas Agreement 1960-1970 6-1 9919
Gas Department Monthly Reports 1954-1968 6-2 9919
P.U.C. history 1958-1969 6-3 9919
Agreements 1929-1953 6-4 9919
Union Gas Company 1954-1972 6-5 9919
Natural Gas 1955-1958 6-6 9919
Ontario Fuel Board 1954-1962 6-9 9919
Trans-Canada Pipe Lines 1951-1955 6-11 9919
Miscellaneous 1957-1968 6-14 9919
Miscellaneous Gas Reports 1968-1973 6-15 9919
Gas Department Information 1945-1968 6-16 9919
St. Mary’s General Hospital Gas Sales Contract 1970-1972 6-18 9919
B & W Heat Treating Co. 1966-1970 6-19 9919
Waterloo Public Utilities Commission 1957-1958 6-20 9919
Agreement Ontario Natural Gas Storage and Pipelines Ltd. 1957 6-22 9919
Annual Statements Gas Department 1929-1972 6-23 9919
Newspaper Article - Transit 1976 7-1 14267
Coach Material 1945-1959 12-1 12729
Textual Material 1907-1918 14-1 12721
Gas Department Work Order Summary 1948-1972 16-1 12748
Work Order Summary – Bus Department 1942-1969 20-1 12744
Kitchener Wilmot Hydro history 1915-1967 7-2 14267
Kitchener Utilities history 2003-2011 7-3 14267
Pumping Register 1888-1898 33-1 13606
Ontario Hydro History 1956-1998 7-4 14267
Kitchener Gas Works 1906 34-1 11193
Berlin & Waterloo/Wellington Street Railway By-Laws 1888-1947 36-1 14075
Agreements 1907-1987 37-1 8118
Transit/Terminal data/studies/options 1980-1990 78-1 12598
Transit Mall/Terminal studies 1978-1993 79-1 12610
Plans – Downtown Transportation Centre 1983-10987 80-1 8098
Newspaper Articles 1988-1994 81-1 10934
P.U.C. Building Administration 1984-1987 7-5 14267

Appendix B
Series 2: Financial Information

Title Date Volume/Item Box
Billing book for transportation 1962-1969 1-1 9907
Gas accounts receivable 1967-1968 1-2 9907
Miscellaneous 1946-1969 4-3 9915
Bank Statements 1961-1973 4-6 9915
Debentures 1964-1972 4-7 9915
Financial Statements (Gas and Transportation) 1947-1972 4-8 9915
Financial Information P.U.C. 1962 4-13 9915
Union Gas Company 1954-1966 6-6 9919
Natural Gas 1955-1958 6-7 9919
Ontario Fuel Board 1954-1962 6-8 9919
Gas Budget 1970 6-10 9919
Gas 1913 6-12 9919
Miscellaneous 1957-1968 6-13 9919
Gas Department 1965-1969 6-21 9919
Transportation Department Ledger 1946-1973 8-1 12703
Ledger – Bus Division 1970-1972 9-1 12711
Railway Ledger 1917-1925 10-1 12716
Transportation Department Ledger 1967-1972 11-1 12701
Street Railway Ledger 1942-1947 13-1 12708
Berlin & Waterloo Street Railway Ledger 1914-1923 15-1 12726
Gas Department Ledger 1942-1973 17-1 12738
Cash Voucher Ledger -Transportation 1924-1965 18-1 12747
Gas Department Transfer Ledger 1942-1970 19-1 12741
Street Railway Ledger 1921-1941 21-1 12727
Transfer Ledger- Street Railway Department 1919-1939 22-1 12733
Berlin Light Commission Ledger- Gas Department 1913-1915 23-1 12714
Berlin Light Commission Ledger – Street Railway Department 1919-1924 24-1 12707
Berlin Light Commission Daybook Ledger – Street Railway Department 1919-1923 25-1 12713
Berlin Light Commission Daybook Ledger – Street Railway Department 1923-1929 26-1 12706
Berlin Light Commission Daybook Ledger- Street Railway Department 1908-1914 27-1 12712
Transportation Transfer Ledger 1947-1970 28-1 12745
Journal of the Town Planning Institute 1909-1919 32-1 13511

Appendix C
Series 3: Committee Minutes

Title Date Volume/Item Box
Minutes of Standing Committees 1911-1912 38-1 10127
Minutes of Standing Committees 1913-1914 39-1 11060
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1915-1916 40-1 11058
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1917-1918 41-1 11056
Railway and Traffic Committees 1917-1941 42-1 11054
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1919-1922 43-1 11057
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1922-1923 44-1 11055
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1924-1925 45-1 11053
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1926-1927 46-1 13000
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1928-1929 47-1 12096
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1930-1931 48-1 12092
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1932-1933 49-1 12090
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1934-1935 50-1 12097
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1936-1937 51-1 12093
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1938-1939 52-1 12089
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1940-1941 53-1 12086
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1942-1943 54-1 12082
Railway & Traffic Committees 1942-1949 55-1 12078
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1944-1945 56-1 12076
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1946-1947 57-1 12083
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1948-1949 58-1 12079
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1950-1951 59-1 12077
Railway and Traffic Committees 1950-1952 60-1 12074
Standing Committee Minutes & Reports 1952 61-1 12072
Fire & Light and Railway & Traffic Committees 1953 62-1 12070
Fire & Light and Railway & Traffic Committees 1954 63-1 12066
Fire & Light and Railway & Traffic Committees 1955 64-1 12062
Railway & Traffic Committees 1955-1958 65-1 12073
Fire & Light and Railway & Traffic Committees 1956 66-1 12069
Fire & Light and Railway & Traffic Committees 1957 67-1 12063
Fire & Light Committees 1958 68-1 12061
Railway & Traffic Committees 1959 69-1 12056
Fire & Light Committees 1959 70-1 12054
Fire & Light Committees 1960 71-1 12050
Railway & Traffic Committees 1960 72-1 12048
Fire & Light Committees 1961 73-1 12057
Railway & Traffic Committees 1961 74-1 12055
Berlin Fire & Water – Minutes & Reports 1886-1911 75-1 12051
Berlin Fire & Light Committee Minutes 1900-1908 76-1 12036

Appendix D
Series 4: Blueprints/Drawings

Title Date Volume/Item Box
Blueprints 1918-1924 5-11 9917
Gas Department Information 1945-1968 6-17 9919
Public Utilities Commission Building 1932-1961 29-1 11447
Facility Drawings 1946 35-1 13889

Appendix E
Series 5: Photographs/Videos/Film

Title Date Volume/Item Box
Official Opening Kitchener Wilmot Hydro 1984 7-6 14267
P.U.C. film 1946-1953 31-1 13442
Hydro photograph n.d. 7-7 14267
Acrylic reproduction on marble – Preston & Berlin Railway 1908 77-1 13067
Concept Photographs 1983-1985 78-2 12598
Transit Mall photographs 1984-1991 79-2 12610
Hydro Commission 1998-2000 7-8 14267
Vandalism 1976 7-9 14267
Pencil drawing Water Tower 2010 7-10 14267

Appendix F
Series 6: Annual Reports

Title Date Volume/Item Box
Berlin and Waterloo Street Railway 1910-1915 1-9 9907
Kitchener and Waterloo Street Railway 1916-1920 1-10 9907
Committees & Canadian Transit Assoc. 1948 2-2 9908
Transportation Annual Statements 1940-1972 5-3 9917
Transportation 1970-1972 5-6 9917
Annual Report – Public Works Department 1995 30-1 14387

Appendix G
Series 7: Artifacts

Title Date Volume/Item Box
The Evolution of the Water Meter – 5/8 Leeds Imperial Meter 82-1 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – manual of meter testing 82-2 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – 5/8 Kent Norlantic Meter 1950’s 82-3 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter –1/2 Leeds Imperial Meter 1948 82-4 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – 5/8 Trident Imperial Meter 1800 82-5 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – Trident Imperial Meter 1894 82-6 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – 5/8 Trident Imperial Meter 1897 82-7 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – Neptune Trident 8 Imperial Meter 1970 82-8 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – Neptune Trident Seal Imperial Meter 1970 82-9 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – Rockwell Imperial Meter 1970 82-10 KOF
The Evolution of the Water Meter – APB Metric Meter 2002 82-11 KOF

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The City of Kitchener follows the provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) regarding privacy of personal information : therefore, some records might not be accessible.

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