A week ago, my husband and I celebrated our AnniverSaturday. Every year, in honour of the day we become an “us”, we choose the Saturday closest to the date and spend an entire day doing fun, local things. After my husband organized our one year wedding anniversary trip to Pittsburgh (read more here), this year it was my turn to organize a full day of fun in and around the GTA.
Given my husband’s German background, I thought that it was about high time that we explored the area that is best known for hosting the world’s second largest Oktoberfest after Munich – Kitchener, formerly known as Berlin. As you can read via the city’s website, there was an exceptional increase in immigration between 1816-1870s, many of who were Mennonites stemming largely from Germany. When the Mennonites, wanting somewhere to practice their beliefs without oppression, bought up most of the land in the area, the village was renamed Berlin, gaining official city status in 1912. After the start of WWI however, as anti-German sentiment grew, there was pressure for the city to change it’s name from Berlin, and in 1916, the city was renamed Kitchener, after Herbert Kitchener, the 1st Earl of Kitchener who had died that year while serving as the Secretary of State for War for the United Kingdom.
Stop #1: St.Jacob’s Market
To kick-start the day, after picking up some caffeine to kick-start our day into the right gear, we made head way to St.Jacob’s Farmer’s Market. I’d heard great things about the market, offering the freshest organic produce in Ontario and, well, I wasn’t disappointed.
The market, known as Canada’s largest open-air market, is really worth the visit. With one row offering fresh produce including the biggest tomatoes and potatoes I’ve ever seen and the other full of vendors playing German folk-music and selling everything from sweatshirts to sunglasses, there really is something for everyone. The market also offers an indoor section where you can find various items from jewelry to board games, leather jackets to hand-made crafts, straight from the farm. Both inside and outside you’ll see a mix of Mennonite and non-Mennonite farmers offering their goods at competitive prices. Continue reading “St.Jacob’s Market and Village, and the city formerly known as “Berlin””