While in the south of Germany some trees started to bloom Toronto is still engaged in a roller coaster of frost and thaw. One fine day in February the sun removed nearly all the snow and ice in all places it could shine on, and the next day 25 cm of the heavy and wet snow variety bent the trees and bushes out of shape. Our German flag hung like a wet blanket on the pole supporting a smaller spruce tree. It was too wet for the snow blower and all living things. The cats curled up in a warm spot. The birds did not show up. Even the squirrels did not think this was funny and stayed in their nests for an extra day of sleep. To this day the backyard of our house looks as though an extension of the Atabasca Glacier has found its way to us.
Yes, I know, it is only February and we can expect this sort of thing in Canada. We should be used to it by now. But it is at times like this that I ask myself why we did not emigrate to Australia or New Zealand. This winter is particularly long because it started so early. Most of us long for some sunshine and want to put our heavy clothing into storage. No such luck yet! This year the Easter bunny will not be able to hide eggs in the green, green grass of spring.
But there is good news; at least we think so at Echo Germanica. Our website was finely launched successfully after a small unexpected delay. In the first 4 days alone the statistics were astounding. Not only were over 1500 successful hits per day recorded, but the length of each visit was a remarkable 14 minutes long on the average cruise to our site. Just over half of the visits originated in the USA, the rest was split between Canadian and international.
We also received many favourable comments and compliments. People find the site easy to negotiate and pleasing to the eye. The many pictures are one of the most favourite features. It you have not checked it out here is the address again: www.echoworld.com .
The other news is that I am now writing a column for "Toronto Free Press" called "A point of view", in which I am offering a dialogue from a German perspective. I hope the launch is successful. Already I have been told that I opened a can of worms. But I think not!
Canada’s Consumer Health Organisation is putting on an annual Show at the Metro Convention Centre on Front Street in Toronto, March 17 and 18. They got into a bit of hot water by announcing as one of the guest speakers a Eustice Mullin from the USA on the subject of money monopoly and to be part of a panel discussion on "Biological and Electromagnetic Weaponry Against Humanity". This did not sit right with the Canadian Jewish Congress and Mr. Mullin had to be stricken from the roster of guest speakers. According to the CJC Mr. Mullin is a most undesirable speaker because of past transgressions against humanitarian rules. As of now we understand that the panel discussion will go ahead without him. Unfortunate is that this incident again was loudly discussed in an inflammatory way. Again and again can we observe that people and organisations do not handle their differences in a moderate and democratic way, but by accusation and shouting down any opposition that might be out there. A more moderate way of communication should be adhered to when publicly screening the endeavours of others that might not have any harmful intentions whatsoever, but simply were not aware of all the implicating factors. It really is not good public relations to be accuser, judge and jury all at once, and not allowing any redeeming features to come to the forefront is simply poor form. No wonder that wars and distrust never end.
Anyway, you can inform yourself more about the Total Health 2001 event at www.consumerhealth.org . We still run the organisations inserts and hope to carry it soon on the net as an insert to our website.
Elsewhere in the paper we cover of course Mardi Gras, or Carnival as it is called in Europe. The front page shows you a view of the Cathedral in Cologne. A tired Clown sits in a tree to watch the famous Rose Monday Parade. In Canada we too follow some of these old customs and report for your perusal some of our adventures. We also heard again from our correspondent Marianne Schmidt in Berlin, who visited the Berlinale for us.
It is important for us to know what you want to read about, what you want to know a bout German Canadian life and our perspective. Weather you read the online version or the hard copy, please feel free to let us know what you think! As long as you do it nicely we will respond favourably. By that I mean that accusative tones and bad language are not being responded to at all. We have no respect for bullies.
Otherwise I wish all of us a little sunshine, out there and in our hearts and minds!