My Great Grandfather’s History:
Organist and Choir Master
Born, London, Ontario, January 22nd, 1880; son of Robert and Anna (Watts) Weir. Educated in the public schools of London; London Conservatory of Music; graduating in. piano and theory in 1906; and continued his musical studies in Berlin, with Xavcr Scharwenka in 1910. Has been a musical student since age of seven; was organist and choirmaster in Chalmers Pres-byterian Church 1901-2; Colbourne Street Methodist Church 1902-1907; Centennial Methodist Church, 1907, to date, where he still is stationed.
Mr. Weir instituted his private music teaching in London in 1901, and has since then built up one of the largest practices in the City.
Member A.F. & A.M.
Married, 1912, Oliva E. Reilly, daughter of Rev. J. H. Reilly. There is one son in the family.
Residence: 493 Adelaide St., London.
Kiwanis Chorus History
Charter member Bert Weir, a real estate broker, formed the Kiwanis Chorus. The 40 singers bought their own white flannels and blue blazers and made their debut at a club meeting in May 1925. The London Free Press had established the city’s first radio station CJGC and it broadcast the Kiwanis Chorus from the Tecumseh House. This was the first remote radio broadcast in this city.
The Kiwanis Chorus sang at the 1925 International Convention in Montreal. In September 1932 they went by lake steamer Hamonic to Sault Ste Marie to perform at the district convention. In 1934 they went by train to Quebec City, boarded the liner Empress of Britain for Halifax and entertained at the district convention there.
The Kiwanis Chorus performed repeatedly in London; their programs often expanded to musical reviews, and raised thousands of dollars for charity. Some of Bert Weir’s early performers whom you may recognize were Ed Adams, Jack Carter, Fred Manning, John McHale, Ernie Popkin, Stewart Thompson, Gordon Thompson, John Nash, Howard Hartry, Bev Hay, Lloyd Bullen, Lloyd Riley, Tom Yull, Ted Holland, Cliff Hunt, Ross Appelford, Archie McCullough, Ernie Reid, Harry Law, Roger McKinney.
Real Estate History
The first real estate office in London Ontario – that of Bert Weir in 1919 at 7 Market Lane, he was an enterprising London music teacher.
According to a brief history of the London and St. Thomas Real Estate Board compiled in 1980, “Homes were selling briskly *in 1921] and times were good. Street cars were opening up new areas of the old city. Electricity and water were cheap enough for every homeowner to use. ” (Weir would later come to be known, somewhat convolutedly, as, “The Father of the Real Estate Profession in London.” )
Two years after Weir hung up his shingle, there were reportedly thirty-seven real estate agents in London and they had already started to meet on an informal basis to socialize and, incidentally, to discuss business. Weir saw potential in this loose association and suggested that the London agents form a real estate board like the ones in the States, Vancouver and Winnipeg; they responded by electing him the first President of the London Real Estate Board (LREB), a position he would hold then and in 1942 and 1943 and perhaps at other times – few records exist prior to 1936.
In 1946 the London Real Estate Board had a Board of Directors made up of ten brokers: Bert Weir, Wilf Evans, Walter Gidney, John Croden, Archie Gillies, Wes Daniels, Ron Richardson, Lorne Morrison and Fred Gammage.
Bob Allison, one of Bert Weir’s salesmen, opened his own office and was voted in as Secretary-Treasurer, a position he held on a volunteer basis for seven years. At some point office space was leased for the Board at Richmond and Dufferin Streets, but as yet there was not yet any Board staff.
This year saw the death of Bert Weir, “The Father of Real Estate in London.”