29 May 1916 – The Committee of 99
On 29 May 1916, The Committee of 99 met to select six possible names for Berlin, Ontario. According to newspaper reports, an estimated 30,000 suggestions were received, and a few days before the Committee met, Aldermen Cleghorn, Hahn, Hallman, Rudell, and Master winnowed the names to 113. They easily tossed thousands of entries: contest rules precluded names already in use in Canada (the Post Office demanded an original name). It seems as if the group imposed new regulations, which weren’t previously published: the names couldn’t be related to present or previous wars, and names of famous generals, statesmen, (etc.) were also removed. The following was the list presented to the Committee, as printed by The Berlin Daily Telegraph on 30 May 1916:
|Tamakwa||Huron||Empire City||Prince Edward|
|Imperial City||Nundawa||Hydro City||Ouneta|
Twenty-five names were selected from the above list, but 10 were removed as towns and cities in the US had those names. The following 15 names from the above list made it to the next round:
The final selection was made using the Hare-Spence ranked balloting system. Each member marked his 1st-6th choices. These are the six names that received the most votes (in order
- Hydro City
21 June 1916 – Berlin City Council
On 21 June 1916, Berlin’s city council met, as a committee, to select the shortlist of possible city names. Earlier, a special committee had already plucked 235 names “out of the grist,” from the more than 30,000 received suggestions.
The committee members reduced the list to the following 38 names, according to The Berlin Daily Telegraph:
|Pontiac||Premier||Prince George||St Julien|
After checking the names against a list of Ontario Communities, the list was reduced to 32.
Next, any name without at least three supporters was eliminated; this left 20 names in the running:
A series of votes took place to determine which six names would appear on the ballot; the most popular name from each round would go to electors:
- Round One: (no clear majority)
- Round Two: Brock, Kitchener (it seemed they tied or both had high numbers)
- Round Three: Corona
- Round Four: Adanac
- Round Five: Keowana
- Round Six: Benton
28 June 1916: Referendum results
|Name (as per ballot order)||Number of Votes||Percentage of unspoilt votes|
How many people cast a ballot isn’t clear because The News-Record and The Berlin Daily Telegraph reported different numbers. The News-Record reported 892 votes, while The Daily Telegraph reported a range of 800-825. Both papers agreed the returning officers counted 729 unspoilt slips. The number of people eligible to vote was 4897.
Want a bit more information?
- About the Kitchener 1916 Project
- The Committee of 99’s proceedings and the reactions to the shortlist
- Berlin City Council’s proceedings
- Referendum results and reactions