Two hundred or so Canadians live in Lahr and the surrounding area of southern Germany . They remained here when Canadian Forces Base Lahr closed--the military returning to Canada--in the summer of 1994. Some of those who decided to stay in Germany have integrated entirely into the German community and thus have disappeared from the former Canadian scene. Others are actively involved with the various Canadian groups and clubs. One of those associations is Canada Haus, an important cultural meeting place, which was opened officially on 1 July 1994 in the former Der Kanadier newspaper building. Colonel Les Corbett was the Base Commander at that time and Dr. Werner Dietz was the Oberbürgermeister (mayor) of Lahr. They made Canada Haus possible.
During the following years, many events have taken place and many visitors have walked through its doors. Rainer Hildebrand was the first president and Trisha Cornforth the last, as Canada Haus will be closing officially on 31 December 2010.
Below, active members at a meeting on 22 June 2010, deciding upon the closure. Cathy Schöler at left, Charlotte Haarmann and Trisha Cornforth at the far right.
In the early years many Canadians and Germans took part in the various events taking place at Canada Haus and many volunteered their help. With an aging population that help has diminished greatly which also means that any money-raising efforts have also diminished. There is not enough money in the "kitty" to continue. The City of Lahr helped financially for many years, paying a good portion of the yearly rent. Their help was greatly appreciated. That has now come to an end however.
At left: some members of the Legions, various groups and the press at Canada Haus on 7 July 2010.
On the right (7 July 2010): the Canadian Ambassador is shown in the centre with the Oberbürgermeister on the right and the Canadian Consul from Stuttgart on the left. Trisha Cornforth ís at the far right..
Two views of the interior of Canada Haus with the library at the far end of the left picture. Note the pictures of all the Base Commanders who served in Lahr from the beginning until the end, 1967 to 1994, in the picture below right.
Most years Canada Haus held a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner and during the Christmas season, a coffee and cake afternoon. Robbie Burns night was another special evening as was a Hallowe'en party.
Over the years several musicians have entertained us, the latest being Wayne MacIsaac (from Cape Breton) about three weeks ago. He was formerly a soldier at CFB Lahr who returned to live here with his family. Wayne is a country and western singer who plays guitar at Europa Park in Rust each week. (That amusement park, by the way, is now one of the largest of its kind in Europe. In fact, it is beginning to approach the Disney parks in size and entertainment value and growing larger each year.)
Below left, Wayne MacIsaac entertaining his audience. On the right, some of us enjoying the wonderful music. Wayne entertained us all for four hours with one great song after another.
One of the most important aspects of Canada Haus is our library and since its onset Gertrud Binder has been the custodian and buyer of our books. Everyone at Canada Haus is a volunteer, including Gertrud and her husband, Jürgen, who has done a lot over the years. I have volunteered at the library since its inception. It has been a wonderful addition for all those Canadians here who love to read but could not easily buy or borrow English-language books. Those who read French could easily buy them in France, but of course we also offer French language books and a few German books as well. Fortunately the bookstore that opened at the Arena (a huge building in Lahr comparable to a small mall and which also houses McDonald's and a large supermarket amongst others) has a shelf of English books at reasonable prices. Amazon.co.uk on the internet is also reasonable and accessible. Neither of these outlets was available back in 1994.
Below, Bill Moore (on the right) and other guests at a Flammenkuchen (tarte flambe) evening last fall, 2009. The picture underneath features some of the returning teachers.