To Echoworld Homepage

To Echo Germanica Homepage
December, 2006 - Nr. 12


The Editor
Reason for the Season
Friedliche Weihnacht
Christbaum für alle
A Christmas Dream
An den Christbaum
Die Weihnachtsbäume
10th Christkindl Market Kitchener
Opera York's 10th
K-W & Beyond
Neuer Pastor...
Mozart Celebrations
Der November Vortrag
Remembrance Day in Kitchener
Martini Tanz
Carnival is Back
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Hausmann's New Film
Films Germans are watching
Deutsche Kultur...
National Ballet of Canada
Canada's Postal Elves
Private Schools in Germany
Cardiovascular Disease
Fuel Cells by VW
Mexico Honors Beckenbauer
Klinsmann Not Coaching
Blackout Baby Boom
Identity Theft
Ontario Human Rights
Ontario Benefits from Skills

Christkindl Market in Kitchener celebrates 10th Anniversary

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

When it comes to community celebrations Kitchener-Waterloo is very fortunate. The many cultural influences give the entire region much cause to celebrate. The German traditions are represented especially strong in this area, perhaps due to its strong Germanic roots and lengthy history. Oktoberfest is but one of several enriching experiences that one can have there; and of course it was given to the community at large through the work and ingenuity of the many German clubs of the region.

Sometimes it is due to a group of people that a cultural event comes to life, but often it is the dream of one individual, who is armed with determination and a great desire to succeed, to make a reality of such a dream.

For 10 years a growing attraction

The Kitchener Christkindl Market is such a story, a story of one man pursuing a dream in his new homeland away from the land of his origin, a land he came to love like the one of his forefather’s.

Toni Bergmeier, always on the jobThis man is Anton Bergmeier, or Toni, as he is called by his many friends.

He came to Canada in 1957 - presumably for a one year honeymoon, shortly after he had married Brigitte and on an invitation of a brother-in-law. He had to store his heavy box containing the tools which he had used to repair old buildings like churches and other ornate structures; it was useless here and he had to find gainful employment elsewhere. The construction industry served as a good opportunity to build a future.

But all that is water under the bridge. Needless to say that Toni did good, made a few wise investments and when he went into semi-retirement he could afford to do a fair amount of community volunteer work. He served as treasurer and president of the German Canadian Business and Professional Association, he was the president of the Waterloo Regional Apartment Management Association, where he, we might venture to say, became familiar with how the bureaucratic system works, something that is very useful if one wants to make a dream come true, a dream like a Christkindl Market.

He carried this dream around for a little while and then, 10 years ago this year in spring, he started to go to Kitchener City Hall and make his presentations to City Council, finding out what licences he had to obtain and what hurdles he had to handle. Mayor Christie helped him overcome some of these barriers with a positive attitude, and for quite a while now Mayor Zehr is in support.

First it was the market itself that needed to be approved. Then came the all-important tree, a real tree, which was hard to get an ok for. But he managed, and no one had even thought about having to install the extra electricity service and a stand to secure such a big tree. Engineers needed to be consulted to satisfy the insurance people.

Carolling their way to the Christkindl Market Kitchener
Carolling their way to the Christkindl Market Kitchener

Nowadays there are about 20 offers of free trees for this event and this year the tree is 40 feet tall (see Front Page). It was a tree given and planted at a wedding 40 years ago. What a lovely sentiment!

Cherished voices sound from the balcony
Cherished voices sound from the balcony

The rest of this story is just as magical: the coming together of entertainment and vendors, the building of the Bavarian hut-like structures, built by the Conestoga College, the decorations, The live nativity scenethe nativity scene, the stage, the lights, the procession, the people, the smells and sounds of Christmas, and the joy this Christkindl Market gives thousands of visitors every year. All this was due to one man’s dream, his determination and the help of loyal friends along the way.

The honeymoon that Toni and Brigitte started 50 years ago in Canada continues with this cooperative effort between them. Brigitte is his right hand, his advisor and consultant, supervisor of his time, which is scarce, because he is also the president of the National German Canadian Congress and has many duties in that capacity.

Now, 10 years after a difficult beginning there are more vendors in line than can be accommodated to have a place at the market- there is room for about 70 - the entertainment that started with The Forget-me-nots and the Concordia Choir has swollen to considerable proportions and offers something for everyone in this multi cultural city. The Christkindl Market has won 8 awards so far and has become a staple of the community.

And all this happened because one man had a dream, a dream of a magic place in his childhood, which he created Twin angelsfor us to experience.

He wants us to know that he had lots of help, especially from his wife Brigitte, Willi Ristau, Monika Reid, Astrid Brown and his niece Claudia Schoeppke, who created the costumes for the angels.

We want him to know that our community congratulates him and thanks him for being the architect of something, that is a childhood dream for most of us - a little magic in a sometimes troubled world.

Come and see for yourself between the 6th and the 9th of December 2006!


To Top of Page

Send mail to  with questions or comments about this web site.
For information about Echoworld Communications and its services send mail to .

Copyright ©2010 Echoworld Communications