German News from the West Coast of Canada & the US
Westcoast German News started as a newsletter originally called “German Voices Vancouver”. I felt that changing it to add “news” to the title would instantly let people know what my newsletter was about. With a more generic name like “German Voices”, I had people who imagined we were a singing group or a closed group that wasn’t meant for the general public. For a couple of years I published a monthly newsletter, then I changed the format to a digital magazine and now I am just blogging as topics and events come up.
The German language and the German community is dying out in Vancouver, and it is also made of out of two distinct groups: those who left Germany after World I and II with a backpack to make a better life for themselves and those who moved here with “containers” of their households and who have jobs as professors at UBC, or scientists, or as consultants or who are running their own business with products from Germany. The ones who came here in the 1940’s to 1960’s often entered the “trades” and many made a great life for themselves, also, but they are now in their 70’s, 80’s or 90’s and soon the German Community will no longer have these reminders of the way things were. In short, we are in a time of true transition with multiculturalism shaping the direction everything is moving towards.
So what can you expect from Westcoast German News? Here are some frequently asked questions:
1. Who is my audience? Germans living on the west coast of Canada and US are the primary target market, but I also have people selling to the German market, selling German products or producing German-related events, although not German themselves. A new aspect of my blog is to promote people making movies, creating works of art or performing as bands/singers, whether they live locally or in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. It is a shrinking world, after all!
2. What is my goal? Westcoast German News is there to share news about German-related activity on the west coast, as most German businesses or non-profits still seem centered in Ontario or Quebec. Yet, it seems that everywhere I go, I hear Germans, meet Swiss or run across Austrians. And I live in Vancouver! It seems that many people have made a success for themselves without seeming to need help from the German community, so people don’t always connect and bond like other communities. It is also a lot of work to continuously monitor what others are doing, rather than having one place that connects everyone. That can be a fulltime job.
3. Where do I get my stories? I try to connect with everyone and every group, but am constantly surprised to find new articles or events, thanks to social media. I myself have a Facebook Page called “Germans in Vancouver”. Then, I am a director of the German Canadian Business Association and manage that Facebook Page. I also have a “Westcoast German News” page and a page called Vancouver Tourists. I subscribe to every media outlet in town, I follow passive house groups, FIFA World Cup Groups, German Consulate Vancouver, German-Canadian Care Home, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Vancouver Alpenclub, the Christmas Market, Harvest Haus etc.
4. How do I support businesses? I have a page for entrepreneurs and business owners, where they can advertise their business for only $5 a month. The advertisement also includes a link to their website, mention on Facebook and, if wanted, a blog post on Westcoast German News.
5. How do I support non-profits and charities? I have a new businesses directory that will hopefully include all the basic German information in Vancouver and/or British Columbia by the time it is done. Want to know where to find the Artisan Bakery? Check out the directory. Want to know where to sign your children up to German classes? Check the directory.
6. How do I support Evevents? Either I blog about them, share pictures about them, or you can also use the advertising page at $5 a month.
7. To Sum it All Up – Finally, the Westcoast German News blog is there to strengthen the ties of the German Community. One of the often-heard remarks is that the community is quite splintered. Different German groups often have overlapping events, rather than spreading them out over the year. If everything is contained in one blog, then people can see what the availability in the calendar for German-speakers is like. Repeating events are the “Tag der Deutschen Einheit”, Sankt Martins Tag, Nikolausfest/Weihnachtsfest, Silvester (Neu Jahr), Fasching, Maifest, European Festival, Saengerfest (every 3 years) and then one-time events, such as Olympics, FIFA World Cup and now the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
So, in short, please read this blog, share your events, advertise your business or services and keep the German community, language and culture alive in Vancouver and beyond.