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July 2001 - Nr. 7
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister2000

Dear Reader

Once again Canada Day was upon us and celebrated with more or less pride and knowledge about the country of our choice. The news reported that many Canadians do not know the facts about this nation, those very same facts that new citizens have to know to attain this coveted status.

The magic of a summer gardenBecause of the 134th Anniversary of our nation I checked the Internet for Canadian history. Immediately over 700 items were offered to choose from. I certainly did not go through all of them but chose a few official looking ones. Nowhere did I find references to any ethnic backgrounds other than British and French, not even in the lengthiest document on the subject.

And as people that have been here for well over 350 years we do know that even the history that is taught in schools is not the whole truth. To this day students and teachers alike have no idea that Simcoe was tremendously assisted by Berzcy, and that without him Simcoe might be an unknown entity. No one seems to know that Yonge Street was build by German settlers and that Adam Beck was from Germany…. And so the list goes on. Perhaps you feel like doing a search. Let me know what you come up with.

There is literature around describing who we are and what our people have done to contribute and what they have endured in being here. Not all has been easy and much hardship can be heard of. In the German Canadian Yearbooks anyone interested can learn about our people, what we are made of, what we have experienced and what our dreams have been and still are. 

And anyone reading these books will find that people regardless of origin have the same aspirations and feelings. The currently available book is of special interest perhaps to none German speaking individuals who want to learn about us a bit more. Many of the entries are in English and edited by Hartmut Froeschle and Lothar Zimmermann. The book is published by the Toronto Historical Society of Mecklenburg Upper Canada, who will be present, together with other representatives from our community, at the Canadian National Exhibition, when we have the honour of presenting German Day at the fabulous, Toronto Star sponsored Band Shell on August 17 this year.

CNE Tower 25 years oldThis young nation still has a lot to offer despite the troubles that have befallen it, like most western countries. Just now we suffer from the tremendous smog in this town. In June the city held an important Smog Summit in Metro Hall. Metro HallThought out as a think tank it is was designed to discuss possibilities and alternatives to current energy sources. Germany and Austria also had sent delegates to speak on this subject, but it appears all still a bit vague. The will to drastically change anything is not there as far as I can see. The general public needs to get involved and realize that our way of life must undergo some responsible changes.

Alternate travel mode

Jack Layton & DiDi Lemay of ArtistsLiasonAs part of the proceedings a group of artists exhibited subject related art. The Artists Liaison group is a fast growing organisation inviting international artists who are willing to pledge their skills to help wherever environmental concerns play a part in the survival of species and/or habitat.

Survival issues in artArt exhibit @ the Smog Summit





Presentation at the Toronto ZooJust a week after the summit the group presented a beautiful painting of two young polar bears to the Toronto Zoo, just like the ones that were found near their shot mother earlier this year. 


A closer look at Joseph Foster's work of art

One of the two polar bear cubsNikita and Aurora, as these two have been christened, are doing well, as the artist, a young man named Joseph Foster from Perth, can attest to. He came personally with his family to present his painting to the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Calvin J. White and his staff. Joseph is a fine wildlife painter in the great Canadian tradition and also has pledged to support the efforts of Artists Liaison, founded by DiDi Lemay, a Dutch-Canadian dynamo. As an artist and a spokes person for this fine organisation I have a special interest in it as it relates to me and my personal goals and purposes. Thus you can expect that I will keep you apprised of its activities whenever it seems appropriate.

Almost there







A big kiss for the little girlWho else is there?





Of course we also took a long walk in the zoo and came across many wonderful animals that have a hard time surviving out there in the wild. The wild is actually no longer wild because of us. We are enemy number 1,2,3, and 4 of what is left of free wildlife and its habitat. What we do not realize is that we destroy our habitat along with it. Perhaps it is time to wake up to a few facts instead of just screaming that we do not want the garbage here or there. We have to produce less garbage, consume less energy and useless paraphernalia. It will put too many people out of work? We need to learn to do something else, something useful and less disruptive to nature.

OK! I'm waiting

...and you better have another carrot for me




Hm, it was so good

But I have another news item, which deserves our attention. A young German-Canadian, Tobias Oriwol, is in need of some help. From the beginning as a swimmer to now he has won an extraordinary amount of medals in every competition he ever participated in. Quietly he worked very hard and is now as a 16 year old Canada’s big Olympic hope in Japan. As you can imagine, the cost are enormous and too much for one family to carry. Therefore we offered to ask our readers to help Tobias. If you want to help, send your donation to Tobias Oriwol, 502- 1111 Bough Beeches Blvd., Mississauga, Ont., L4W 4N1.

Just imagine he could come home with one or more medals for Canada! One of our own! In the meantime we wish him good luck!

Until next time

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.
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Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, editor, editor-in-chief of Echo Germanica, comments, cultural, artistic, political, daily events, German-Canadian, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,

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