Feb 1, 2018 - Kerstin Kormendy for SoGerman
Over the past 12 years, a dedicated group of German expats and German-Canadians established a growing network in Toronto that offers opportunities to come together, connect, and combine cultures.
Canadian Multiculturalism at its best
GermansinToronto is a community of German immigrants, German-Canadians and German-speakers from around the world. They regularly meet up in Toronto to expand their language skills, stay connected to the culture of their family, and learn more about Germany.
“It’s part of their identity,” says Frank Seiferth, founder of GermansinToronto. “They connect, integrate and bring in a piece of Germany into their Canadian life.”
Everything began when Frank arrived in Toronto in 2005. He had moved from Germany across the ocean to work with a Canadian company. New to the Canadian metropolis, he was looking for fellow Germans to meet with.
After exploring the city, Frank had found Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Italy, and Little India, yet no German corner. With about 29,400 German mother tongue speakers in Ontario’s capital, Frank could hardly believe his unsuccessful quest. Where were the Germans?
Reaching out to the World Wide Web, Frank and his friend Rasmus Kiehl started the group GermansinToronto on the social media platform Meetup in 2005. About 20 German expats joined the first event, a pub night. Over the next years, the group grew to more than 3,700 members today, with 60 new members joining every month, the largest German Meetup in all North America.
“Social media as a primary way to communicate and spontaneously organize events is key to success,” says Frank.
“Some of the other German Clubs that are organized in a more traditional way are struggling to sign up new members as it requires paid membership and with that more commitment. People don’t want to commit long-term anymore. They want to go out on a whim.”
Over the course of 12 years, GermansinToronto members have met over 900 times and chatted over a beer about life, work, politics or simply how to get started in Toronto. They cheered for German sport teams at World Cups, met German celebrities like Daniel Bruehl, Til Schweiger or Michael Mittermeier at performances in Toronto, visited opera, art galleries, and museums, and sang along to one of Germany’s favorite singers, Herbert Grönemeyer, at an almost private concert in a church in Toronto. Many relationships, business and personal, have evolved from the group and have shaped the lively German community in Toronto.
GermansinToronto has been working for years in close partnership with the German Consulate Toronto, the German Schools, and churches as well as the Goethe-Institute on many events.
In 2012, the network of German-Canadian Torontonians expanded when the group German Mamas and Papas in Toronto was brought to life by German expat Jule Lorenz-Elliot (Read more about the group in our next post!)
“It’s nice to see how the next generation learns the German language and traditions and participates in the cultural exchange,” says Frank.
Feb 15, 2018 - Kerstin Kormendy for SoGerman
“Brösel, Brösel, he didn’t say goodbye,” the class tells teacher Sarah Beuchel at the end of class. With floppy ears, a red nose, and a trendy neckerchief, the hand pupp [...]VIEW STORY
Feb 8, 2018 - Kerstin Kormendy for SoGerman
A planner at heart and by trade, Jule Lorenz-Elliot has devoted hundreds of hours over the past five years founding the network VIEW STORY