The objectives of our Association are to establish, maintain and conduct a business and professional association for the accommodation, recreation and convenience of the members of the Association and to promote their cultural, business and professional interests. We also want to further good relations amongst the German-speaking population of Canada and between it and the public at large. Finally, we establish and support or aid in the establishment and support of association, institutions, funds and conveniences calculated to benefit residents of British Columbia.
The very first President of the German Canadian Business & Professional Organization was Horst Müller. He and 3 others – Fritz A. Ziegler, John R. Roffeis and Kurt Maurer wrote a letter on February 1963, that started with the greeting “Lieber Landsmann” (Dear fellow German man) asking if they were able to pay a $50 registration fee and an $60 annual fee to start a German Club with “higher standards”.
The first meeting of the organizers was held June 16, 1963 at the “Schloss Klipphaus” (a “castle” Fritz Ziegler built in Fort Langley out of an old farm house). Besides Horst Mueller, the Vice-Presidents were Horst Koehler & Kurt Maurer, the Secretaries were Bernhard Hoeter & Wolfgang Zink, the Treasurers were Walter Schubert & John Roffeis, the Membership Directors were Miss Kathe Sanean & Dr. Gemeinhardt. The Association was registered in Victoria on December 13, 1963 with a formal constitution, policies and procedures and everything else needed.
The very first meeting was held November 1963 with a “Cocktail Reception” that included German beer, like Asbach-Uralt and Steinheger. There was a delicious elk roast, donated by President Horst Mueller. The first event was held February 1964 when they organized a costume party at the “Villa Hotel”. There was a few VIP’s in attendance and the event was a considered a tremendous success.
The first Annual General Meeting was held March 1964, where the upcoming events were introduced and discussed. The first event of that new business year, was held April 20, 1964 at the Hotel Vancouver. The guest speaker was Postmaster General, the Honorable John Nicholson. In May, they invited Dr. Hans Weddington, the Ambassador to the Federal Republic of West Germany from Ottowa to speak. This proved to be another successful event.
Member Ulrich Freybe invited them all to a Weisswurst breakfast in September 17, 1964, which included a tour of his factory, as a networking event that would help them to get to know each other better. On September 25th, the members of the Association were invited to the “Schloss Klipphaus” for a “Herrenabend” (men’s only dinner) with the Ambassador to the B.R.D. (Federal Republic of West Germany) from Ottowa, Dr. Kurt Oppler, along with General Consul Dr. W. D. Hoops and Dr. W. L. Groener. This was a very informative evening.
An interesting note is that our Honorary Member, Wolfgang Christl, who passed away during 2020, was there that evening!
The New Year 1965 began with a costume ball in the Coach House of North Vancouver. April 8, 1965 the members met to listen to a presentation called “Deutschland und die Lage im Nahen Osten” (Germany and the situation in the near east). In 1969, the Board discussed ways they could share their German culture with Canadians due to the new “multiculturalism” policy and came up with the idea of holding an Oktoberfest.
The first 10 years it was held at the PNE Showmart Building and then it moved to the newly created BC Place Stadium, after an invitation from the Hon. Grace McCarthy (Minister of BC Tourism & Social Services) with over 12,000 people in attendance. One of the organisers was “Mr. Oktoberfest” Wolfgang Christl, who was still an active member in 2020.
The German Canadian Business Association was also part of Expo ’86 where they organized the “Bavarian Garden Restaurant” and made $1.6 million in profits. One of our members, Restaurant owner Klaus Fuerness, initiated a huge 3-day Conference called “Germanica” in 1988.
Beatrice Schreiber, our current President, joined the GCBA in 1995 when Harald Linke was President. She became President for the first time in 2005 and than on and off in alternation with Hubertus Liebrecht.
Board Members are renewed every two years.
From time to time, other positions can include:
- Nomination Committee
- Program Committee
- Community Service Committee
- Compassionate Chair