Caravan in Toronto has been put on the back burner and nobody really knows when it will be scheduled this year – if at all.
However, Brampton celebrated the annual spin-off, called "Carabram" and enjoyed the usual popularity and attracted a great number of visitors.
Before the storm
The German Canadian Club Hansa – at the Hansa Haus, on Highway 10 at Ambassador - was able to greet visitors in abundance. Every time the "Carabram" bus came by it unloaded visitors in droves.
The venue was held a little smaller and cozier this year. No big tents, just a nice patio with Albert Dittgens "Band" entertaining whoever wanted to sit outside and enjoy the sun. The big hall featured the Harmonie Brass Show Band and their fantastically rich palette of tunes to enhance the ‘German’ ambiance of this pavilion.
The food service was exceptional and "Kaiserschmarren" was introduced for the first time. As a matter of fact the food was deemed to be so great that the Hansa Kitchen received the first prize for it from the Carabram judges. Now that is something to be proud of!
The culinary delight called "Kaiserschmarren" was one of the favourites of the late Austrian Emperor Franz Josef and is still a mainstay of Viennese cuisine all over the world. It is basically a pancake – usually with lots of raisins, torn into bite-size pieces and topped with icing sugar, raspberry syrup or vanilla sauce. This is one of the great varieties of "Mehlspeisen" that the Austrian cuisine is so famous for.
Of course there was plenty other fare available that visitors would associate with traditional ‘German’ food: Wiener Schnitzel, Elk-goulash, Bratwurst, Pork Hocks and a "Pioneer Plate – with a combination of goodies - for the real hungry. Also plenty of cool beverages to wash it all down with could be had, indoors and outside on the patio. "Wow", said one of the visitors, "I didn’t know beer could taste this great". He added, " I can’t pronounce it, but I can sure drink it". (He had a glass of "Hacker-Pschorr", and one of the ‘regulars’ wrote it down on the back of a business card for him!)
Brigitte and Herbert Gross had added something new this year in the ‘Hansa Stube’ upstairs. It was an impressive exhibition that showcased German participation as pioneers in Canada in the past – including a ‘Christmas Tree’ with candles and homemade decorations on it, just like the one that Lieutenant-General Friedrich Adolph Riedesel, Freiherr von Eisenbach, introduced in Sorel, Quebec in 1781– and that later spread wonderfully to all of North America at Christmas time.
More entertainment was provided by the Weiss-Blau Schuhplattler group with the ‘Juniors’ singing "Edelweiss" (from the ‘Sound of Music) and cowbell ringing performances, accompanied by Peter Henkel and his accordion. To many of the first-time visitors this was a novel experience and well received.
Some of you may have been one of the 72,561 fans that were lucky enough to attend the 19th "Indy" this year – held on the 9th, 10th and 11th of July. Although there were about 800 fans less in attendance than last year, according to the local media, it was still a great and appreciative crowd around the track.
Only 84 laps – instead of the customary 95 – determined Sébastien Bourdais the winner.
He started out front, on the 11 turns - 2.842 km racecourse in the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, and was determined to stay there, despite the mayhem behind him in this race. This was his third consecutive win of the season, and apparently his strategy worked and this young – 25 year old talent from France – won the day! This also gave Newman/Haas Racing its seventh Toronto win in 19 tries.
The reason for the curtailment of the race was simply that it took longer than the 1.45 hours allocated for it on TV, since 27 of the 48 laps were yellow cautionary laps due to the mishaps that occurred during the race. So much for the power of the media!
Involved in some of the mishaps was ‘homeboy’ Paul Tracy – the defending Champ Car World Series champion - who had been a strong favorite to win this race again – as he did last year - by the home fans. He still managed somehow to finish in fifth place, despite being involved in two crashes that brought drive-through penalties from race officials. Tracy started second, alongside pole winner Bourdais, whom he was able to pressure for a while by staying close, but Bourdais was getting better fuel mileage during the first stint and gained the lead that no one was able to wring from him during the entire race.
Tracy collected his first penalty when he tried to get past Justin Wilson to regain second place and was penalized again later in the race after slamming into Michel Jourdain Jr. and sending him hard into the wall, as Tracy exited the pit lane after his last pit stop.
After getting out of his car Jourdain climbed up on the tire wall and shook his fist at Tracy when he came around again.
Second place winner Jimmy Vasser – 1.396 seconds behind Bourdais - said he had a great seat for most of the action on the circuit. Patrick Carpentier came in third and Mario Haberfeld fourth just ahead of Paul Tracy. 18 cars finished the race; Bourdais average speed was 83.749 mph. Caution flags: 7 for 27 laps. So much for some of the statisitics.
What makes racing fans come back to the Molson Indy – or attend any race of this kind – must be the sound of these high-powered engines, the smell of castor-oil, racing fuel exhaust fumes and the expectation of being eyewitness to havoc and surprises on the circuit.
However it was a great race and the fans got what they came after. See you there next year!
Toronto Burgenländer Club Picnic
Submitted by Oskar Stubits
Once again, the annual Family Picnic, hosted by the Toronto Burgenländer Club on Sunday July 25th 2004, was a huge success. Contributing to the enjoyment of the over 900 people who attended was the perfect weather, great food and the joy of seeing familiar and new friends. In addition, we were honoured by the presence of the Austrian Consul Dr. Schmidt and Mrs Schmidt.
For the early arrivals, coffee, donuts, streusel and strudel were made available. At noon, fresh fried schnitzel with salad and sausage with sauerkraut was served. And, of course, the now famous home-baked cakes and cookies, donated by members and friends, were once again in huge demand. The bar provided the usual refreshments popular with our attendees.
In the mid afternoon, both young and old participated and enjoyed several games. As usual, the swimming pool was a hit with the kids! The music, provided by the ever-popular Golden Keys, kept the dance floor full at all times. Thanks, Oskar!
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