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February 2014 - Nr. 2
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, Editor-in-chief

Dear Reader

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum; well it was on the way to the home of the German Canadian Consul General Walter Stechel. We were to be part of a ceremony to honour Tony Ruprecht. But, as fate would have it, (I personally take no responsibility for this) the date was entered into the computer log for Thursday instead of Friday. Ergo, we were one day early crawling over an icy road that was strewn with all sorts of frozen debris from a severe fire just a couple of days before right next to the Consul General’s temporary residence. (We learned the next day that the residence on Dunvegan, where we celebrated so many wonderful occasions is under extensive renovation.)

The extreme arctic cold did nothing to enhance my mood or pacify my intense dislike, not to say hatred, for Canadian winters the likes we are having this year. Disappointed upon this, the realization of our mistake, we decided to turn the tide and make the most of this dismal day and cross the street to turn into an old hangout that has been around forever, at least since I was young and beautiful. I am of course talking about the Coffee Mill Restaurant (and Café), which I have frequented since it was still inside the Lothian Mews on Bloor Street. That was the time young women sported hot pants and miniskirts, preferably only if you had the legs for it. I must say unabashedly that I qualified.

When Bloor Street was redeveloped with high priced real estate the Coffee Mill moved to a revitalized, no more hippy and drug culture infested Yorkville between Cumberland St. and Yorkville Ave., instead showing off elegant stores and restaurants. Nestled between these two streets (99 Yorkville Martha Von HeczeyAve.) a quiet oasis with a pleasant patio offered respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city and still does. The middle European menu and ambience to this day attracts an artistic crowd as well as “regular” locals and their world traveling friends and relatives. It is still owned and run by the amicable Martha von Heczey, who we found sitting in the corner surveying her domain with a coffee and a glass of red wine to which we were invited to enjoy with our fresh authentic Strudel.

Since it was quiet after the lunch period she could take the time to speak with us at length and we reminisced about the past. She came to Canada after a period in England, wanted to go to the USA, which proved too difficult, and ended up here in Canada, safe from the Hungarian Revolution, like so many A toast with Martha Von Heczey and Sybille Forster-Rentmeisterof her compatriots. She brought with her the famous Hungarian joy de vivre, love for good wine, good music, good food and laughter, in other words also “Gemuetlichkeit”. All this was fundamental in creating the Coffee Mill and even though she is over 80 years old she still comes in every day and looks after all aspects of the establishment, making sure that everything is “just so”.

The Coffee Mill was established in 1963 and celebrated 50 glorious years last year. Just imagine the stories that were told on that hidden patio, the love affairs that started there, the reunions that were celebrated there, the life that happened there!

The mistake of the day was turned into a trip down memory lane. We hope the Coffee Mill will be around to enhance our lives for a long, long time!

See you on the patio in spring and summer!

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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