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Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower

437 Tower Road, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/07/18

View of the Waterloo Pioneers Memorial Tower, showing its multi-coloured and textured local fieldstone, 1987.; Parcs Canada / Parks Canada, 1987.
General view
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1925/01/01 to 1926/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/07/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Built in 1926, Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower commemorates the arrival of the Pennsylvania-German pioneers to the Waterloo region between 1800 and 1803. The 18.9 metre high tower is located along the banks of the Grand River in Waterloo Regional Municipality, Ontario. The tower's random-coursed fieldstone, tapered "Swiss" copper roof, and the Conestoga wagon weather vane reflect the German speaking European origin and farming lifestyle of these early settlers. It has a simple well-proportioned profile, a tapered cylindrical shaft of random coursed fieldstone supporting a moulded concrete cornice under a hexagonal gallery platform. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The tower represents the theme of the commemoration of ethnic German pioneer settlers in Ontario and is also a very good early example of a regional commemorative structure. This building is visible symbol of the rise of German-Canadian nationalism during the 1920s, which resulted from anti-German sentiment, and cultural sanctions imposed on the community during the First World War. The tower was an opportunity for German-Canadians to express their historical contribution and loyalty to Canada in the form of German-Canadian nationalism as well as a method for the community to re-establish its self worth. The Pioneer Memorial Tower is also associated with W.H. Breithaupt, a prominent engineering consultant in Kitchener (previously named Berlin), who has been recognized as the initiator of the scheme.

Architectural Value:
The Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower is a very good example of a well-scaled design of simply detailed construction with a picturesque aesthetic. The tower shows excellent quality of craftsmanship and materials as evidenced by the cut fieldstone, and by the work on the tower’s entrance and observation deck.

Environmental Value:
The Pioneer Memorial Tower was erected near the earliest focus of Pennsylvanian-German settlement. The tower stands in a grassed area enclosed by a locked fence. The property also contains a small pioneer cemetery. The area surrounding the tower is mixed agricultural and urban development with wooded areas on the west shore of the river. The tower is a landmark to both residents and tourists by virtue of its prominence and significance.

Sources: Marilyn E. Armstrong-Reynolds, Waterloo Pioneers Tower, 437 Tower Road, Kitchener, Ontario. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 88-078; Waterloo Pioneer Tower, Kitchener, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 95-034.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower should be respected.

Its very good aesthetic and functional designs, and excellent quality of craftsmanship and materials, such as:
- the building’s form and massing which consists of a tall slightly tapered cylindrical tower clad in multi-coloured and textured local fieldstone;
- the building’s sturdy construction of self-standing exterior wall with concrete inner core;
- the building’s clean lines and subtle ornamentation and picturesque silhouette;
- the steeply pitched “Swiss-style” roof sheathed in copper;
- the decorative ironwork placed around the exterior of the platform;
- the six stone corbels decorating the moulded concrete cornice;
- the original glazed windows of the tower, with limestone lintels and plain lug sills;
- the front portico and entrance, framed by a cut limestone lintel of classical design;
- the Conestoga wagon weather vane.

The manner in which the Waterloo Pioneer Memorial Tower is compatible with the picturesque setting of Waterloo Regional Municipality and is a symbol of the region, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials that harmonize with its mixed agricultural and urban setting.
- its role as a memorial to the early German settlers of Ontario, which makes it a symbol of the region and well-known to residents and visitors.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Commemorative Monument

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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