Annual President’s Report

Report from the 2013/14 Annual General Meeting

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to our Annual General Meeting and for taking the time to come out and join us. Many of you were here a few months ago when we held the 2013 Annual General Meeting. The reason we are having another AGM in such a short period of time is we opted to move our AGM closer to the date of our year end – in previous years the AGM was taking place more than 6 months after year end. As we have not had much activity since our last AGM on February 6th, I will keep my comments brief and hope to wrap up the meeting within the hour so you can all enjoy the remainder of this beautiful evening.

In the year ending June 30th, 2013, we carried on supporting events which included The Anna Tuerr Memorial in Mannheim followed by our Annual Fundraiser and Picnic at the German-Canadian Hunting and Fishing Club (aka Hubertushaus). In previous years, the picnic had been held at the property owned by Paul Tuerr on New Dundee Road. The decision was made to move the picnic to German-Canadian Hunting and Fishing Club after Paul’s passing. The property was listed for sale and we also realized that we were running a risk with insurance issues. Athough there was a substantial drop in attendance at last year’s picnic, many members and friends did attend. The German-Canadian Hunting and Fishing Club provides a beautiful venue, perfectly suited to our Annual Fundraising Picnic – rain or shine. Cost of membership was increased – still at a very reasonable $10 – which included a free meal and a cash bar. The club is also just a few minute’s drive from the Anna Tuerr Memorial Park. I’d like to thank David Mendler, President of the German-Canadian Hunting and Fishing Club and the in-house caterer, Jane Bell for helping us transition to this new location. Special thanks should also go to Willi Huber Sr. of Piller’s Fine Foods for their ongoing generousity. Every year without fail, the sausages served at our picnic have been donated by Mr. Huber. As we reported at our last AGM in February, although we broke even on this event, the picnic held in July 2013 was not a financial success. As this is our major fundraising event, we rely on donations from our members to support other projects and events sponsored by the German-Canadian Remembrance Society. We hope that we can continue to count on our member’s generosity and support in future. Werner Schlueter will provide you with further financial details of our picnic in his report. In October, we worked closely with the Arbeitsgemeinschaft of Kitchener-Waterloo and the German-Canadian Congress to produce the German Pioneers Day event at Kitchener’s City Hall in recognizing the achievements of German pioneers in shaping Ontario’s development.

On October 15th, we recognized Ron Schlegel, a descendent of 1830’s Swiss Mennonite immigrants from the Alsace and Lorraine. Ron is an outstanding academic, prolific developer of retirement villages, founder and sponsor of several research projects and institutions and recipient of Officer of the Order of Canada. Joerg Stieber, 2012 inducted in the Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2012, co-designer of the Valentin Taifun motorglider plane, president of Ontario Drive and Gear of New Hamburg, builder of Argo amphibious vehicles, and developer of the Artemis rover, NASA’s choice for the next lunar mission as well; and finally, The Preston Scout House Alumni Band, one of North America’s best known and most admired drum and bugle corps, celebrating 75 years. The parents of its founder, Wilf Blum, immigrated from Gutach, Germany, in 1866. As well, both Tony Bergmeier and Ernst Friedel were honoured for the outstanding contributions and became the first recipients of the German-Canadian Remembrance Society “Ehrennadel”. This award was initiated by Paul Tuerr and he had insisted these deserving candidates be the initial recipients.

In November 2013, the Remembrance Society worked closely with the German Consulate in Toronto organize Volkstrauertag, the German Day of Remembrance, to honour the 187 German soldiers buried at Woodland Cemetery’s German War Graves Section. We were pleased to see representatives of the German Consulate along with many Canadian representatives of Federal, Provincial, Regional and Municipal Government; members of the Canadian Armed Forces as well as many representatives of German-Canadian Clubs and organizations who laid wreaths. Approximately 30 wreaths were laid and we had very positive feedback. The Concordia Choir did an outstanding job as did the Transylvania Brass Band – and thanks to Padre Harald Ristau for his moving words at the ceremony. We had a very good turnout and once again the weather seemed to cooperate. Special thank you to Ernst Friedel for his generous donation to cover the cost of the Coffee and Cake following the event, which was hosted at the Schwaben. Our thanks also to the Transylvania Club Youth Group for their efforts to clean and care for the German War Graves cemetery preparing for this event – and, once again, I’d like to take a moment to especially thank Toni Bergmeier and his wife Brigitte, for continuing to take the time to check on the cemetery and supervise the Youth Group’s work and to our own RS Youth Group, and especially our Julia Poje, for their assistance at Volkstrauertag – placing more than 90 wreaths at the individual graves and acting as ushers and assisting representatives in laying wreaths.

We will continue to support organizations such as the German Language School Concordia in their fundraising efforts and will continue to document, maintain and represent the achievements and legacy of German immigrants in Canada as well as support projects which help to remind German Canadians and Canadians at large of the significant contributions pioneers of German background have made over the last 300 years in Canada. We also look forward to working on a new fundraising effort – along with K-W Oktoberfest Inc. – for a new Glockenspiel (estimated to cost $375,000) – to be erected near the corner of King and Benton.

And lastly, I’m happy to share with you that at the 2013 Oktoberfest Parade, we once again received the Wunderbar Award (for best float for Community Involvement). This is our 3rd award in 4 years. Each year we have children from the various German clubs participate and ride along on the float – which has in the past highlighted the contribution of German Craftsmen who produced children’s toys; this past year our theme was Little Red Riding Hood, by the Brothers Grimm. Our presence in the Oktoberfest Parade has given us broader exposure in the community and has provided us with coverage on National TV.

I would like to thank all of you, especially those members who are also members of the board of directors for your time, your effort and enthusiasm along with your ongoing commitment to build and expand our Remembrance Society to protect and further our German Canadian Heritage. A special thanks to those volunteers and our own Youth Group who are there to assist during events such as the picnic, German Pioneers Day and Volkstrauertag and most importantly, a heartfelt thanks to our Sponsors and Donors – without these special gifts we would not be able to continue to support the projects of the German Canadian Remembrance Society.

At our AGM in February, I announced that having served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Remembrance Society since 2007, I felt that it was time to move on. I have decided to stay on for another term and look forward to working closely with our Board of Directors, Member and Friends in the Community over the coming year.


Helene Schramek, President


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