Germania Nipissing Club #179 *

Honoured by past, present and future members.

Germania (Nipissing) German-Canadian Club Est. 1962

A group of soccer players called “Ted’s Redshirts” first discussed the possibility of starting a club that would have social functions and facilitate get-togethers for German-speaking immigrants. Under the leadership of Rudi Neumann, the Germania (Nipissing) Club was founded on March 4th, 1962. Its membership increased rapidly from the seven founding members to around 150 members by 1964. From the very beginning, membership was open to all Canadians, regardless of their background, and indeed there were many who enjoyed what the Club had to offer.

It soon became apparent that the Club needed its own clubhouse. A property was obtained on Marsh Drive and a group of volunteers began with the construction. Fortunately, there were many members who had a trade in the construction field, but every able-bodied man was welcome. Money was raised by the members, and the donations were called bricks. The ladies contributed food for the hard-working men!

On January 25, 1964, the official opening of the new clubhouse took place, with invitations going out to the German Consulate in Toronto, the mayor of North Bay and the Nipissing MP and MPP. In the evening, a special gala dinner dance was enjoyed by all.

From that time on, the clubhouse was a hive of activity. Foremost were the dance parties, often with live music, and indeed they were always well attended. A favorite was Oktoberfest, of course, and the clubhouse at times almost burst at its seams. The food was prepared by some great cooks, all volunteers. A Fasching, or Mardi-Gras party, was another highlight of the year, with amazing costumes. A special barbecue took place every summer. The Ladies’ Auxiliary provided salads and beautiful cakes for the occasion. And then there was Christmas, with a special children’s party where Santa made an appearance. At one point the ladies wrapped 170 presents!

The Club took part in the annual Canada Day parade with some beautiful floats. It often won first or second prize.

As the years went by, the membership started to shrink. As the children grew up, many moved away to find work elsewhere. Others were not interested in the activities of the Club. The maintenance costs were quite high, and it was decided to sell the clubhouse. One of the members acquired it, with the promise that the Germania Club would always have priority for its parties. Unfortunately, a fire broke out and completely destroyed the clubhouse. It was never rebuilt.

Even without their home, the members did not give up, but were able to rent other places, mostly the Shrine Club, for their parties. Since there was some money remaining from the sale of the clubhouse, the members decided to treat themselves to bus tours. So, over the next decade, a trip convener thought up some wonderful trips, for example, to Kingston and the Thousand Islands, Frankenmuth, Niagara Falls with a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens and one of the wineries, the Sault Locks, the casino and Mackinac Island. There were also concerts in Toronto and a visit to Stratford. This was another great time for the club members.

Finally, with less money and fewer people able to participate, the trips were replaced with nice dinners and barbecues—occasions where members could socialize, even if they didn’t dance anymore!

In April 2012, members celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Germania (Nipissing) Club.

The purchase of a leaf in support of the development of the North Bay waterfront offered a wonderful opportunity to highlight the significant role that this organization has played in the community. For five decades, the Germania (Nipissing) Club has served as a gathering place where individuals and families with a German or German-speaking background can network and enjoy social and cultural activities with their peers, and share their heritage with the community.

Contributing members: Elfrieda Bremermann, Marga and Robert Cote, Lottie and
Hans Frenssen, Marianne Gomm, Annett Kaefer, Hella Koziol, Waltraud and
Christine Leonhardt, Helga and Leo Rainer, Ursel and Arndt von Holtzendorff, and
Helga Weiskopf.