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August 2001 - Nr. 8
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister2000

Dear Reader

Unbelievably it is August already and thus we have to consider that our short summer is nearly over. We have only been to Lake Erie once this year, but I took a Dutch friend, who always wondered why I kept bragging about these trips. She is familiar with the North Sea and I am from the East or Baltic Sea.

My descriptions of miles of sandy dunes and shallow waters, often with a nice white water wave, a wide horizon without a shoreline in sight really did not sink in until, yes, until she finally came along this year. She is a fan now, understands that I feel at home there and wants to bring her French-Canadian husband along, who thinks of Lake Erie as a dirty body of water not fit to swim in.

Well, perhaps the water is not as clean as a northern Quebec lake, but it certainly is not as dirty as it was a few decades ago, when we first discovered our favourite spot. And NO, I am not about to tell you were it is, because too many people are going there already.

Summer in the city was interesting for the most part. I took on the job of photographer at the Molson Indy this year and found it challenging and rewarding. Not only did I manage to find excitement in the roar of the engines and the fumes of the fuel, I actually found aesthetics on or around the racetrack.

While near naked dark brown bodies undulated to the staccato of rock music in beer gardens I crawled onto the roof of the Automotive Building and managed to get some great shots not only of the race cars streaking around the exhibition course but of the Toronto skyline and the harbour. Throughout I did not make use of the earplugs I had purchased, just in case. The roaring engines actually heightened the experience and added to the general excitement.

We also visited Carabram at the Hansa House and were very disappointed. Expecting record crowds the club had gone all out to accommodate a few thousand revellers. The expense was considerable, but for some unexplainable reason the crowds did not show up on Sunday.

Perhaps this type of folk fest has run its course and needs to be modernized in its approach to the general public. Homely and comely events are of no interest to young people these days. Many of them are correctly called the ME generation, looking for instant gratification in an urbane jungle, where they are predator and victim at the same time.

University of Toronto, The Hart House, So much more of a surprise was a visit to the Hart House on Toronto’s University grounds when we followed an invitation to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the German-Canadian Association. Altogether 78 students from abroad and those who would help them arrive here congregated around a fine buffet graciously provided by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Some of them had just arrived but immediately had something positive and constructive to say about our fair city and the people living in it. They were polite, interested and eager to learn something new. Or did they just read too much Karl May who might have fuelled their romantic notions of Canada?!

We also reconnected with Klaus Christian Hofer who some of you might remember as a contributor to Echo Germanica a few years back. His parents hailed from Europe but he grew up in USA and Australia. During a visit he fell in love with Canada, stayed and earned a degree of experimental Psychology at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Travelling all over the world to teach materials he developed for his company ‘Communications & Training’ he still finds time to freelance as a journalist. Like a prodigal cousin he returns to us with interesting tales. Afterall, it is only right that he should have a column. Doesn’t TV’s Frazier have a radio show?

German Day at the CNEBut most importantly for us locals here, we have been busy anticipating the grand opening of the Canadian National Exhibition, still one of the world’s biggest fairs. Since the German-Canadian Showcase has the honour of opening the Toronto Star sponsored Band Shell much thought and hard work has been put into this event by many people, especially Gabriele (Gabi) Schick. You might call her the producer of this year’s German Day at the CNE. It is my distinct pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies on this occasion and I hope that you turn out in great numbers.

But about all these and more you can read in more detail in this August edition of Echo Germanica. You also might want to check out our online version @ and find more interesting information in our content and the interesting links we try to supply. Bit by bit we are gaining more presence on the Internet and enjoy a high daily hit rate.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. Whatever you do, please come and join us on German Day at the CNE, August 17th.

See you there!

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, University of Toronto, The Hart House, German Day, CNE,

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