An organization of family historians, some with Toronto roots, others who live in Toronto, we have ancestors around the world.

German Ancestors in Ontario

June 9, 2022 @ 7:30 pm – June 16, 2022 @ 7:30 pm
$20 / $15 for OGS members
German Ancestors in Ontario @ TWO-PART ONLINE SERIES

In this two-part series, we will provide a broad overview of the historical context of German immigration to Ontario from 1790 to 1960. The first night we will focus on German migration to Ontario, discussing timing, origin and destinations. The second night will highlight growing up German in Ontario with a focus on school and language.

Each session will consist of an hour-long presentation and an opportunity to ask questions.

Note: The lectures will be recorded, so that registrants who can’t attend the live presentations may watch at a more convenient time.

Part 1: June 9, 7:30 pm

German Immigration to Ontario, 1790–1960
German speakers were among the first European settlers in Ontario. After people of British and French heritage, Germans were consistently the largest ethnic group in the province. In the early nineteenth century, like other immigrants from the United States and Britain, they moved onto Indigenous-controlled lands and expanded the frontier of the nascent colony. This presentation gives a general picture of the timing, origin, and destination of German-speaking immigration to Ontario from the late-eighteenth century and until after the Second World War. In addition, it will discuss potential German-language sources available to carry out research in Canada and abroad on individual people or groups from a particular region.

Part 2: June 16, 7:30 pm

German Bilingual Schools in Ontario, 1880–1912
When Anglophones and Francophones debated bilingual education in Ontario from the 1880s to the eve of the First World, they often spoke of German schools. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, German stood alongside French and English as one of three possible languages of instruction in the public and Catholic separate schools of the province. Yet starting in the 1880s, a series of cultural policies aimed to ensure that all schools in Ontario taught English, even if it was alongside French or German. With these policies, government officials and politicians increasingly sought to merge cultural and political definitions of belonging, and they embraced the idea that all citizens should share a common language. This talk presents the history of German-language education in Canada’s largest province and its slow removal (long before the First World War) while also tracing some of the origins of Canadian multiculturalism and government attempts to manage that diversity.

Speaker: Benjamin Bryce is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at UBC and received his PhD from York University in 2013. He is the author of The Boundaries of Ethnicity: German Immigration and the Language of Belonging in Ontario (forthcoming with McGill-Queen’s University Press) and To Belong in Buenos Aires: Germans, Argentines, and the Rise of a Pluralist Society (Stanford University Press, 2018). In Vancouver, he teaches courses about migration in the Americas as well as German and world history.

Click here to register.