The first Austrians to come to Canada were among the German-speaking agricultural workers from Galicia, who arrived from Austria-Hungary in the 1880s and settled in the Canadian West. With the dissolution of the multi-ethnic Hapsburg empire and the creation of the German-speaking Republic of Austria in 1918, Austrians fled the country’s turbulent political situation to find opportunities in other countries. Some came to Canada in the late 1920s. Other refugees followed in 1938 after the “Anschluss,” the incorporation of their homeland into Hitler’s Germany.
In 1949, Austrian Club Edelweiss grew out of the Society for Austrian Relief, organized to help Austrians struggling with post-war economic problems. Members of the club were part of a large wave of immigration to Canada that occurred between 1946 and 1955 as Austrians left a homeland occupied by Great Britain, France, the United States, and the USSR. The Club celebrated its 60th anniversary in the year 2010.
As Austria recovered from its economic and political problems, immigration to Canada slowed down in the 1960s and ’70s. Today, there are approximately 10,000 Canadians of Austrian origin living in Toronto, and members of the community have contributed to the city in the fields of music, decorative arts, and recreation.
AUSTRIAN NATIONAL DAY on October 26, is one of the most important holidays for the community, celebrated with a reception held by the Austrian Consulate. It commemorates Austria’s declaration of neutrality and the restoration of Austria’s sovereignty and independence on October 26, 1955.
NEUE WELT, German language bi-weekly newspaper, (Tel. 416-237-0591, Fax 416-237-9590, www.neueweltonline.com, 2 Billingham Rd., Suite 203). Publisher & Editor-in-chief: Karsten Mertens
DEUTSCHE PRESSE, German language weekly newspaper, (Tel. 416-595-9714, Fax 416-595-9716, 87 Judge Rd., 3rd Floor).
CANADIAN-AUSTRIAN SOCIETY OF TORONTO, (Tel. 416-928-1400, 55 Erskine Ave., Suite 1702). President: Christine Meyer.
BURGENLAENDISCHE GEMEINSCHAFT, (10 Royal Orchard Blvd., Box 53032, Thornhill). President: Helmut Jandrisits.
STEIRER KLUB-INC., (Tel. 416-621-4384, Fax 905-238-6122, 56 Hagersville Court). President: Karl Vogl.