Hello, and a very warm welcome to the WRX Property Group website and blog. You may or may not know that Kitchener is a city steeped in German tradition and culture. Of course, a wide spectrum of people live and work in the city, but its early days – back when it was called Berlin – saw many German-speaking, Mennonite settlers from Pennsylvania coming to call the area home (and over the decades, many people arrived from Germany, Switzerland, and elsewhere, too). You can read all about Kitchener’s history (and their present) in the WRX feature on the city here. Over the past week, we’ve been looking at each of Kitchener-Waterloo’s five German cultural clubs: Schwaben Club, Concordia Club, Alpine Club, Transylvania Club, and Hubertushaus, the subject of today’s article. These clubs are fixtures of the community, and it’s good to be aware of where they are, and what they’re like, if you’re interested in Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest (because these clubs serve as the heart of the famous festivities).
Hubertushaus, unlike the other four clubs, is located just west of Kitchener itself (though it’s still very much a part of the Waterloo Region). It’s just outside the community of Mannheim, in Wilmot Township (Mannheim shares its name with a large city in southwest Germany). Hubertushaus’ address is 1605 Bleams Road; getting there from Kitchener is as simple as following Ottawa Street South to the west until it turns into Bleams Road (Bleams Road in Kitchener oddly doesn’t connect to it). There are also off-ramps from Highway 8 just north of the club, on Queen Street and on Trussler Road. From downtown Kitchener, you can get to Hubertushaus in just over fifteen minutes, so though it’s outside of the city, it doesn’t feel very far at all.
Hubertushaus was founded in 1954, and it joined in on Kitchener-Waterloo’s famous Oktoberfest festivities in 1985. Concordia Club, the oldest German Club in Kitchener-Waterloo, derives its name from ‘concord’ – harmony between peoples. And the same is true for Hubertushaus: unlike the Alpine, Schwaben, and Transylvania Clubs, Concordia and Hubertushaus aren’t tied to a specific region or group of ethnically German peoples. Hubertushaus was founded by a group from all over Europe, with a similar goal to preserve and celebrate German traditions. But Hubertushaus was also founded with something else in mind: a shared passion for hunting and fishing. This (as well as the location) differentiates Hubertushaus from the other German clubs. Indeed, Hubertushaus has access to 8 acres of land, making it an ideal place for hunters and fishers to enjoy. There’s a reason part of its name is the ‘German-Canadian Hunting & Fishing Club.’
As has been the case with each of these Kitchener-Waterloo German clubs, Oktoberfest is very much Hubertushaus’ time to shine. The community can come together and really celebrate one of Germany’s most famous festivals, and what better place to do it than at a German club, in an area with German roots? Indeed, Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest celebrations are the second largest in the world! First place is snugly secured by Munich, and for good reason: Oktoberfest originated in Munich over 200 years ago. The year was 1810, and Prince Ludwig, an eccentric 24 year old who would go on to become King Ludwig I, was set to wed Therese Charlotte Luise of Saxony-Hildburghausen, a woman who very much lived up to her name. They got married in Munich on October 12th, 1810, and the citizens of Munich celebrated throughout the fields, just beyond the city gates (they even named the fields after Therese; the name remains to this day). It seems that they enjoyed celebrating so much that they decided to do it again the next year, and then the year after that. Over the decades, Oktoberfest took on its specific characteristics, featuring outdoor booths, tents, and agricultural shows, and with bratwurst and copious amounts of beer becoming cornerstones by the twentieth-century (during 1910’s hundredth anniversary of Oktoberfest, it seems that over 100 000 litres of beer were imbibed). By the 1960s, Oktoberfest had found its way to Kitchener-Waterloo.
The first city-wide Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest took place in 1969, and at Hubertushaus in 1985 (Hubertushaus is now one of the five central festhalls). Over the nine day period, hundreds of thousands of happy participants enjoy the Oktoberfest celebrations. There is plenty of great German music (with brass bands and a lot of polka), delicious German food, and of course, litres and litres of beer (Molson Coors Brewing Company is the exclusive corporate sponsor). It’s estimated that around 700 000 visitors take part in Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, and its popular Oktoberfest parade alone attracts over 100 000 visitors. Hubertushaus is a great place to be during Oktoberfest. It’s won several awards over the years, including recognition for its skilled house band (the Seven Castles), and the ‘Gastfreundschaft (Hospitality) Award,’ which Hubertushaus prides themselves on. Incidentally, the word Gastfreundschaft (German for friendliness and good cheer) is a common saying at Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, and it should give you an idea of the atmosphere: friendly and merry. Hubertushaus lives up to its hunting focus, opening up Oktoberfest with Bogenschuetzenfest (an archery contest). Finally, if you go to Hubertushaus for Oktoberfest, you must try out their German cuisine – the sausage on a bun is tasty and easy to eat, even while wielding a beer stein.
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Hubertushaus’ facilities are available to rent for a variety of special occasions (weddings, birthdays, reunions, etc.). The inside hall can fit between 50 and 150 people, and the large, covered, heated patio can fit up to 300. Their beautiful outdoor area features a large pond with a fountain, and ample picnic grounds (in addition to a pleasant view of the distinctly German-style walls and roof of the house). Hubertushaus offers a professional team to provide excellent service, and they stand by the quality of their food. If you’re interested in hosting an event here (or you’d just like to gather more information), you can contact Hubertushaus via their handy form here.
Oktoberfest is one of the high points in Kitchener-Waterloo’s year: people come from all over to celebrate beer, polka, and German traditions. Hubertushaus is one of the region’s authentic German clubs, but its location in Wilmot Township gives it more rural charm than its urban counterparts (the first Oktoberfest was, after all, in the fields outside of Munich, not in Munich itself). So it’s really worth the visit – especially in October (Oktober?).
Written by Will Kummer