German Pioneers Day celebrates Waterloo County
Who would have known these days that Waterloo County was established 150 years ago, that German settlers played a big part and that the families that made the area what it is today are still around today.
Museums, historians and other specialized scholars have that knowledge, but it is far from being common knowledge in Canada.
It is with much pride that the German Canadian community can look back to those early settlers that eked out a living from nearly virgin land, established thriving businesses and industries, some of which still exist.
Every year since its inception some individuals are being honoured in playing their part for the region and this year there were 2 families that were honoured. The Eby Family and the Schreiter Family were given a special commemorative plaque for the contributions their pioneer families made, (by Ernst Friedel and Paul Weigel and Herwig Wandschneider respectively) just after Ken Seiling, Chairman of the Municipality of Waterloo, gave a very comprehensive historical overview of the past 150 years.
But before all that happened Chairman James R. Breithaupt welcomed all and one and introduced all special dignitaries and guests, all listed at length in the very complete program booklet, which also holds the greetings of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Regional Chair Ken Seiling, Carl Zehr, Kitchener’s Mayor, James R. Breithaupt, Q.C., Chairman of the German Pioneers Day and, very special His Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, James K. Bartelman, who graciously made a personal appearance to convey his good wishes on this day.
Several speeches were read by Mr. Breithaupt, a few were delivered in person, such as the address by the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Klaus Rupprecht, and the Swiss Consul Caludio Leoncavalla and Carl Zehr, Mayor of Kitchener.
Another historical presentation with slides created and produced together with Herwig Wandschneider and Paul Weigel, as well as two charming young people, illustrated the history of the region and the German input.
But perhaps the most heart-warming moments were created by the children of the Concordia School Children’s Choir, who sang a truly funny song about the trials and tribulations children have with loosing teeth, and older people too as someone in the audience noted to much laughter.
And then there was the Transylvania Women's Choir.
Above all proceedings was one watchful eye, that of Toni Bergmeier, President of the National German Canadian Congress. He looked after everything personally as the proceedings went on and was a marvellous host that night at the Danube Swabian Club, where a dinner was arranged to end off this special day.
Some of the speeches can be read by clicking on:
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