The History of the Teutonia Society in Windsor, Ontario, Canada 1935 2015 As we celebrate our 80th Anniversary we first and foremost pay tribute to the women and men who often under difficult circumstances sacrificed their time to establish groups such as the soccer teams, the choirs (Liederkranz) and other clubs to meet in common interest within their new country for recreation and friendship. This is what ultimately led to the establishment of the GermanCanadian Society in 1929.
Mr. Graff, Br. Scherer, Mr. Salzer, Br. Kaiser and Mr. Endriss became the first directors with Mr. Lotz as the first president of this Society. The “Roaring ‘20s” came to an end with the great stock market crash in October of 1929, and times started to get very difficult, even in Windsor. However, these men persevered. Communication was nothing like today’s technology and cars were driven only by those who were financially “well off”. This did not usually include the new immigrants. In those days one of the directors, usually the secretary, made his trips by bicycle all over the Windsor and surrounding areas, to inform the members of coming events. We can hardly imagine the dedication these people displayed. The Depression of the 1930s just started and continually worsened and the political events in Germany made it even more difficult for the German Canadian Society to operate. But by no means did these men give up! They were “tough” and dedicated people who knew how to honour their heritage. That is why we respect and honour them to this very day.
Mr. Endriss, a Germanspeaking Swiss Canadian, kept the story alive in hope that someone would record it for future generations. “In those days, it was difficult to keep the RCMP ‘off our backs’ and so something had to be done”, he said”. Mr. Endriss suggested a name change to “Teutonia”, which would include all of the Germanspeaking people of Europe. Mr. Endriss’ suggestion was accepted as it was felt that the name “Teutonia Society” would be more inclusive for Austrian, Swiss and other people with German background. So the GermanCanadian Society became the Teutonia Society of Windsor in 1935. The RCMP seemed agreeable to the reorganization and the Province of Ontario granted a charter to the Teutonia Society of Windsor. The first President was Mr. Peter Niklas.
We are making progress
Membership was encouraged from all Germanspeaking people, regardless of country of origin. The goals of the Charter are indeed very noble. One of these goals was to welcome new immigrants and assist in acquainting them to the Canadian way of life in order that they may become valuable residents and citizens of Canada. Another goal was to create opportunities for recreation, and to foster friendship between new and established Canadians.
These goals were certainly admirable and were a very large undertaking in the middle of the Great Depression. Those of us who did not live through it can hardly imagine what it was like. By 1935 our leaders had already become used to tremendous hardships. It is said that “smooth seas make poor sailors”. These people were “tough sailors” who went through rough seas and in 1936 they established a permanent house for the Teutonia Society. The location was 1119 Langlois Street in Windsor.
We Are Family
Having survived some of the worst of the Great Depression, times were not going to get better too quickly. In 1939 the war broke out in Europe and that changed many things for people of German ancestry. During this time period the activities of the Society remained loyal to their charter and also loyal citizens of Canada.
An elaborate building, for that time, was established and with the influx of immigrants still underway, a further expansion was undertaken in 1966 with the addition of the Sports Hall. Since the time of its inception, the Teutonia Society has lived up to its charter. Thousands of new Canadians were welcomed to Canada by the members of our Society and became valuable citizens of Canada and residents of Windsor and Essex County. These immigrants prospered and they along with their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren became assets to Canada with influence on the professions, the arts, business and all walks of life in our wonderful new home of the City of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
Following the Second World War, tensions eased and in 1949, the Canadian immigration laws were also relaxed. Boatloads of displaced people of all nationalities, including those of German heritage, began arriving at Canadian ports. The City of Windsor and the Teutonia Society became the beneficiaries of some of the new influx of people.
Working For OUR Members
The Charter of the Society was maintained and not only Germanspeaking people, but people of other nations, found the Teutonia Club to be a welcoming place. Soon the location on Langlois Street could not handle such a tremendous influx of membership. Thus a new location was found on Edinborough Street in the former township of Sandwich South. On November 7, 1954 a cornerstone was laid at 55 Edinborough Street.
We share our heritage with longstanding Canadians and people of all cultures, through our participation in longstanding annual events such as Oktoberfest and Carousel of the Nations. These events are wellknown and welcomed traditions in Windsor and Essex County. The activity groups listed in this booklet bear witness to what was accomplished throughout the years and provide recognition to the volunteers who worked tirelessly in these efforts.
There is no question that we have lived up to the goals of our charter and we take pride in our past as we reflect on 80 years of active service in Windsor. As we look to the future and the challenges that the Teutonia Society faces today, we consider a learn from the efforts and perseverance of those who came before us.
In recent decades, European immigration has slowed considerably and our original membership is decreasing. Decisions regarding our large and aging facilities are considerations that our membership and leaders must deal with during these onceagain challenging times. Our children and grandchildren have integrated well into the Canadian society and are busy getting established in their chosen fields and have less time to devote to our Society. However we still have a core number of supporters and we are confident that more will come as they, with age, will realize that it is important to treasure one’s heritage.
At this time of our 80th anniversary we pay tribute to all who helped to build this Society. This includes all past presidents, all active groups (the backbone of the Teutonia Society) and their leaders and all of our members who have, by virtue of their hard work and effort, built and maintained not just the bricks and mortar but the happy, prosperous and welcoming spirit of the Teutonia Society.
Pass the torch
In closing, at our 80th anniversary, we “pass the torch” to our children and our grandchildren and hope that they accept the challenge to continue to welcome new Canadians to promote the traditions of their heritage.
As of May 30, 2016 the building on Edinborough St. has been sold and we carry on our traditions at the Fogular Furlan Club. This is a good union for both parties to build new friendships. We feel very much at home and welcome. We will continue with all our long celebrated traditions and provide for our seniors and youth.
We extend the torch to our children and grandchildren to continue celebrating our German Heritage and uphold our Society’s Charter. Everyone, members and nonmembers are still welcome to come out and celebrate with us in our new home.