Welcome to the WRX Property Group website and blog! Kitchener has longstanding German heritage – check out the WRX article on Kitchener – and we’re looking at the area’s five proud German clubs.
These establishments provide a lot for the community (and they really shine during Oktoberfest), but you’ll soon see that for yourself!
Yesterday, we covered the Schwaben Club; today, we’ll be looking at the Concordia Club. Let’s take a look!
The Concordia Club is located fairly centrally within Kitchener, between Ottawa Street South and Courtland Avenue East, just north of the Conestoga Parkway (Highway 8).
Getting there is pretty easy, as there are off-ramps from the Parkway just east and west of it (Ottawa Street and Courtland Avenue, respectively).
And when Oktoberfest is in full swing, you may not even need a map to get there – just follow the sounds of people having a wonderful time and the smells of sausages.
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Concordia has a couple incredible claims to fame: firstly, its history stretches back to October 1873, when the First Male Choir ‘Concordia’ was established in Berlin (Kitchener’s old name).
Secondly, the Concordia Club is currently the largest ethnic German club in all of Canada, according to Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest website.
The German population of Berlin faced discrimination during the World War I era (this is why Berlin’s name was changed to Kitchener), but things got better until World War II, when again, the Concordia Club was forced to lay low.
The club underwent several club changes over its history, the first being the Concordia Hall in 1876. It moved to its current location in 1954, but tragedy struck in 1971, when a major fire broke out.
Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau made his way over to Kitchener for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new building in 1972, and things have been great ever since!
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If you’re looking for tasty, authentic German cuisine, the Concordia Club is one of the best places you can go.
Its restaurant, the Schenke, offers many delicious dishes, including Leberkäse (Bavarian meat loaf), their many famous Schnitzels (such as the Franz Joseph Schnitzel, featuring mustard and Swiss cheese) and more.
While you dine, you can also enjoy the series of hand-painted murals depicting traditional German life. The Schenke is closed on Mondays, but it’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until at least 9:00 p.m. (and 11:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Sundays).
There is live entertainment on Saturdays. See full hours (and daily specials) here.
The Concordia Club also has excellent facilities for a wide variety of events. Its large facilities can accommodate the functions that matter most to you! The primary hall, fittingly called the Main Hall (Halle), can comfortably fit 450 guests, making it ideal for large corporate meetings, or weddings.
The three other facilities are: the Weinstube (the ‘Wine Room,’ with room for 50 people – ideal for smaller events); the Jägerstube (the ‘Hunters Room,’ again with room for 50 people – meals from the restaurant can be served here); and the Schenke restaurant, which you already know about.
The Concordia Club is a popular venue for wedding receptions, and they offer several all-inclusive packages, which include four course-plated dinners, wine service, coffee & tea service, and more.
You have multiple options as per what food you’d like, and each course is customizable.
Check out the options here.
Oktoberfest, as noted earlier, is when the Concordia Club truly soars to its highest heights. If there’s only one time a year you visit the club (and it’s worth visiting more often!), let it be during the Oktoberfest festivities!
The Concordia Club’s involvement in Oktoberfest celebrations dates back to 1967, when they organized a four day festival (including a beer tent, live music, dancing, and more) as their contribution to the Kitchener-Waterloo Canada Day festivities (it was, after all, Canada’s 100th birthday).
The event was so popular that it became engrained in the Kitchener-Waterloo identity; a city-wide Oktoberfest committee was created, and the four German-speaking clubs in Kitchener (Schwaben, Concordia, Alpine, and Transylvania) all became heavily involved.
Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest grew and grew, finally emerging as the second-largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world (second only to Munich, Bavaria’s largest city and home to the original Oktoberfest).
As Oktoberfest grew, the Concordia Club’s offerings grew, too. More and more beer tents were erected, as well as ample washroom facilities (with all that fine German beer flowing, it’s only necessary). The club can accommodate around 4000 guests!
The Concordia Club is truly one of the best places you can be for Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo. They feature live, traditional music in each of their lively areas (the tent, the hall, and the Schenke restaurant), as well a variety of Bavarian Dance Groups.
Even though Munich is thousands of kilometers away, you’d be forgiven for believing you’d fallen asleep and awoken in Deutschland. For the 2018
Oktoberfest season, festivities will run from Friday, October 5th to Saturday, October 13th.
Tickets go on sale around May each year. Most of the days are open to adults of legal drinking age (19 and up), but Sunday and Monday are family days, meaning children 16 and younger can enter for free, provided they are with a family unit (Saturday matinee is open to children, too).
The Concordia Club has been around for a very long time, and its story is intertwined with the history of the region.
As Kitchener swayed back and forth over its appreciation for its German heritage, the Concordia Club persevered, preserving and celebrating German traditions, at first quietly, but as the community became involved, increasingly boisterously.
But the Concordia Club is also strikingly modern and innovative, despite its focus being past traditions, foods, and a celebration that dates back to the early nineteenth-century.
It was the Concordia Club’s impressive, popular Oktoberfest celebrations that got all of Kitchener-Waterloo onboard for a city-wide, multi-day festival.
And now, Oktoberfest is one of the main things people know and love about Kitchener-Waterloo – all thanks to the persistence and logistical ingenuity of the Concordia Club.
Written by Will Kummer