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May 2002 - Nr. 5


The Editor
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First Canadian-German Festival

  Photos: Lutz Renner (l.renner@germanchamber.ca)

An anticipating crowd at the Goethe Institute Toronto  [Photo: Lutz Renner]Reviewing the program of the First Canadian-German Festival is a bit like reading a travel itinerary. On any given day there is another activity to partake in at another location from April 25th to June 1st. Some of them happen during the day, but mostly the events take place at night, giving people the opportunity to participate vigorously.

This paper does not have the space available to volunteer a full program but will report on some of the noteworthy events.

Dr. Hochschild (centre) surrounded by dignitaries and well-wishers  [Photo: Lutz Renner]Conceived by new Consul General Dr. Ulrich Hochschild, assisted by Gerry Meinzer, the father of the German-Canadian Congress Canada (note that the festival is hyphenated the other way around), who revitalized some of his old buddies from the glory days of earlier German immigration and supported by some industries as well, the festival had its kick off reception in the Goethe–Institute Inter Nationes on King Street, Toronto. While the late afternoon rush hour raged outside a multitude of guests congregated in the gallery space to listen to the various speeches, which gratefully were kept short, munching on tasty tidbits and drinking German wine or champagne.

Dr. Hochschild and Minister David Turnbull  [Photo: Lutz Renner]Representing our Ontario Government was Mr. David Turnbull, Associate Minister of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation, who still had problems with his new and lengthy title. Dr. Hochschild of course also welcomed everyone. Mr. Karsten D. Voight from the Federal Republic of Germany’s Office of Foreign Affairs knew of some jovial little anecdotes surrounding our high politicians and their meetings, And Dr. Arpard A. Soelter, the new Director of the Goethe Institute Inter Nationes Toronto finally brought the reception into a starting focus.

Minister David Turnbull & Mr. Karsten D. Voigt  [Photo: Lutz Renner]After the cake was cut by Dr. Voight and Minister Turnbull the reception evaporated. A limited number of people stayed and were joined by others to listen to a panel discussion of the two photographers who were sharing the Goethe Institutes gallery space within the framework of this Festival. Appropriate for bridge building and hands a cross the ocean concepts one photographer hailed from here Robin Collyer, the other from Berlin, Gosbert Adler, and they were sent on an exploratory in the other’s city. It was interesting to see how each one perceived the new town, how they tried not to look for familiar sites. But for an observer it was quite clear that big cities have a lot in common. Sometimes it was actually no so easy to differentiate the two places. If it had not been for the difference in colour and black and white it might have been even more difficult. Afterall, parking lots and dirty snow show little difference in character wherever one goes. The facades of buildings might have different aesthetic values, but they make one wonder what goes on behind them. So one finds enough points of similarities, not in that much need to explain. This exhibit surely will cement the bridge between our two nations.

The Goethe Institute is host to a large number of events within the festival. Of particular interest might be the films of Volker Schloendorff. For more information you can call 416-593-5257 or call the Consulate at 416-925-2813, ext. 23 for festival information. 

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