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October 2007 - Nr. 10


The Editor
Freiheit zur Einheit
Freedom to Unity
Raising of the German Flag
Paul Bernhard Berghorn
Dan's Satire
Frankfurt Celebrates Toronto
Down On The Town
KW & Beyond
German-Canadian Citizenship Law
The Sale of Depression
New Kasseler Store
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Dance Classes for Children
A Spanish Fantasia
Newfoundland's Duo Concertante
November Listings
The Whirling Dervishes
Renewable is Doable

Dick reports...


Dick Altermann at his computer

Polish Roots

I took another look over the fence, this time at the Polish Community - at the annual ‘Polish Festival’ on Roncesvalles Avenue.

This is actually the area of Toronto where I first arrived in 1957. Why the High Park area? Well, because Pastor Rüger – from the High Park United Church – contacted most of the immigrants on the train from Montréal to Toronto. He then invited a number of them to the church for coffee and "donuts". Since no one had ever heard of donuts, curiosity won out, and we boarded a Volkwagen bus – that was waiting at Union Station – for the trip to the west of this, obviously still very unfamiliar, city. After this initial introductory donut-feast, we boarded various vehicles in search for a place to live. Everyone found something, and all of them ended up with a Polish landlord. Querying this, we were informed that this area is a mainly Polish neighbourhood. Shopping on Roncesvalles confirmed most of this fact.

But slowly the area turned partially German: Café May, Café Berlin, Café Hamburg – next to Alfred Hunsinger’s radio store, Old Country Shop (still in existence!), – a German butcher and deli and more businesses; those were the beginnings. Of course there was also a Dominion Store, where you could fill two shopping carts with groceries for less then ten dollars. Interesting was that there was no discernable friction between these two ethnic groups and some of the German immigrants started to settle in the area – and some went to Scarborough (Knob Hill Plaza etc.) and elsewhere in Toronto. Since they acclimatized very quickly it was hard to track them down.

But the Poles hung together more than the Germans and eventually the German presence almost disappeared in the High Park area.

However the Polish presence is still strong and vibrant, as most of the stores and churches in the area confirm. One stage in front of a church featured wonderfully costumed – male and female - dancers that also became a choir later, featuring one of the priests as a lead singer with an astonishing voice. Much more entertainment was apparent, a number of bands, single musicians at a couple of street corners playing folksongs and classics on keyboards. John Park the all-round street performer – who some of my readers may remember from his performance in the distillery district – wowed a large audience with his amazing acts of magic, riding the tall unicycle and entertaining kids and adults alike.

Of course Vicente C. Ruiz was there with his wonderfully haunting Peruvian melodies on the Andean Pan Flutes. I mentioned him in other articles before.

Perogies and Polish Sausages were top features on the food lists – judging by the line-ups - but not the only ethnic food items offered.

Since the day was cool the beer gardens were almost empty in the afternoon despite the odd times when the sun broke through the overcast.

There was the usual small ‘Midway’ entertainment for the young visitors but the carousels charged 2 coupons per one short ride, which seemed a bit much. Only a few people were willing to spent about three bucks for a short ride and subsequently one often saw only 2 or 3 kids in a ride at one time.

It can be said that there was something for everyone and if the weather would have played along better, this neighbourhood fest might have been a lot more successful than it was.

Oktoberfest is wunderbar!

At the Hansa Haus

The Harmonie Brass Showband
The Harmonie Brass Showband in performance
Members of the Harmonie Brass Showband

At the Hansa Haus the Harmonie Brass Show Band was featured to entertain the revellers. The event was sold out, of course!

The Weiss-Blau Bayern Schuhplattler

The Weiss-Blau Bayern Schuhplattler featured some of their junior and most junior members to entertain the guests – garnering well-earned applause every time they performed.

Ringing the bells

 Yes, the bell ringer demonstration also had lots of applause, but the kids got even more of it. They appeared to take their tasks very seriously and most of them were already quite skilled!

Moving to the Rhythm
Dance enjoyed by all generations

A full houseIt is gratifying to see such wonderful support by the club’s members and the many other guests for the club. It is a rare chance for many to get together with old friends and acquaintances to celebrate an event that only happens once a year.

Members and guests

Guy LaPlante & Boe HladyshIt also gives everyone a chance to see that the youngsters are seriously involved in club activities. The Weiss-Blau Bayern Schuhplattler Group is a great example. Irmgard Walter, Lilo & Lou WegnerIt is a great pleasure to see the dedication with which these youngsters perform complicated dance routines and to see the pride in their eyes when they get their well-deserved applause. Let us hope they don’t lLine-up for a delicious mealoose their enthusiasm and maintain their connections with the club in the future.

Great dring and foodGreat hot food - from the kitchen, and great cold beverages - from the bar, did a lot to raise the ambiance in the hall and warm up the audience for the superb sound of the dance band.


At the Danube Swabians

The Baumann BandNext stop, this evening, was the Oktoberfest celebration at the home of the Danube-Swabians where the Baumann Band entertained the guests.

The Danube Swabian Youth Group

A dance breakOne of the highlights of the festivities just has to be the dance demonstrations by the Youth Groups. One gets the feeling that they are having more fun performing than tHenry & Julia Betsch enjoying the performancehe enthralled audience that is watching them – although thundering applause showed that both sides were inspired. Great show – especially the ‘flying’ part of the dance!

Oktoberfest and...
...Chicken Dance
His own chicken dance version

The club is looking forward to Thanksgiving Dinner, Herbstfest und Kirchweihfest in the near future – check the ad in this issue for precise information.

Steel City Oktoberfest…

The hosts: G.K.G. Narrhalla '58… at the Germania Club in Hamilton was hosted by the GKG Narrhalla ’58.

Get your hats and pinsAt one time – in the not too distant past – this and similar events were held at the Hamilton Convention Centre with large bands and a lot of ‘civilian’ participation including representatives of provincial and municipal government.

Line-up at the barNow it is done on a somewhat smaller scale – at the Germania Club facilities – but the format is basically the same. The band is smaller – but just right for the size of the hall – but just as great to listen or dance to as in the other venues.

Togetherness Togetherness

One of the highlights of the event has always been the rolling in of the barrel – usually topped with a handsome damsel – that hasn’t changed. Monika Turner – the resident Hamburger was the damsel on the keg this time around.

Kergl leads the parade The keg rolls in
Kergl leads the parade The keg rolls in
Mayor Fred Eisenberger; Andrea Horwath, MPP; David Christopherson, MP Cheering the delegates
Mayor Fred Eisenberger;
Andrea Horwath, MPP;
David Christopherson, MP
Cheering the delegates

The tapping of the barrel by dignitaries is still the same and the free beer tastes just as good – if not better – than the beer you have to pay for. This year Hamilton’s Mayor Fred Eisenberger was chosen to do the honours. Andrea Horwath, MPP for Hamilton East and David Christopherson, MP – Hamilton Centre, accompanied him on stage.

Up it goes Ready for action
Hoisting the ...two...into its place

His Worship did a very credible job of tapping the keg "O’zapft is!"… and the free beer started to flow.

Last instructions One more tap
Last instructions One more tap
O'zapft is!
O'zapft is!

Judging be the applause the Mayor received when he arrived one can only surmise that he is a well-liked and well-respected Mayor with regard for the people of the Steel-City and a great addition to this festivity.

The beer is flowing

Since the host was the carnival society, it was no surprise to find members of other carnival societies among the guests to support the GKG Narrhalla ’58. Alaaf & Ein Prosit!

Hugh & Monika TurnerKudos must go the grey eminences behind the success of the event. I know how hard David Simon and the Turners work behind the scenes, to make sure the event is a success. Now they also have one of Albert Kergl’s sons to help in running the show.

The Nu-Tones band played a great mix of tunes – something for everyone’s taste and dancing ability. It must have been a mix everyone liked since the dance floor in the delightfully decorated hall was always full.

The Nu-Tones
The Nu-Tones...
...and the dancing crowd
A view from the top
A view from the top

For the inner men: Sausages, schnitzel, sauerkraut and home fries – very tasty and filling – contributed to the general warm and cozy atmosphere at this event.

As always

Dick Altermann


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