Ruth writes:One of my favourite festivals started at 7am last Saturday and it was worth getting up early to see and hear. It was a lot of fun. Led by a Toronto Police Services cruiser, the Canadysli Guggemusig Band marched twice around a block in industrial Etobicoke. It also performed inside the Musket Restaurant there. Switzerland’s Mortgestraich parade which inspired this band starts at 4am so the 7am start time really wasn’t all that early.
Wearing masks, string mops and mainly blue and silver robes, the Toronto band played the likes of “The Saints Go Marching In,” the “Can–Can Song” and “Ode to Joy.” The music was only a little off-key but it had me humming long after it stopped.
Inside the restaurant volunteers sold Swiss festival treats like fasnacht kuechle, prezzili and schenkili (anise-flavored cookies). The restaurant was full. I shared a booth with a couple of delightful gentlemen from Basel who told me how the band began and arranged for Arno Sigrist to email me a history.
Sigrist wrote: The club started in 1976 in Yorkville in PJ Dinkel’s Bar on Yorkville Ave. Paul Dinkel was one of our Founding members. He built a small meeting room in the back of the Bar, where we had our meetings.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s, we did get a parade permit (to make “Noise” at 4 AM and later on at 5 or 6 AM). And we would march throughout Yorkville Ave. and Cumberland St. making lots of noise. We had illuminated Lanterns, on which we made fun of various things, either political or whatever, (like in Basel).
In the afternoon we also had a Horse drawn “Wagon” from which we distributed candies, Flowers and Oranges to the Kids and Adults, in the same Yorkville area, when the streets were full with shoppers.
But as the area was being built up with expensive Condo’s and these owners complained about that noise “in the middle of the night”, the various City Councillors got worried about getting re-elected and we had to move to an industrial area, where we are now.
We are now strictly a Guggemusic, as you heard this morning, but we do have a small Drum and Fife group, who do play some typical Basler Marches.
I hope these pictures inspire you to join us next year:
YouTube Video. A sample of the flavour: http://youtu.be/JMD8JS6ToM8
The band’s website: http://www.canadysli.com/main.html
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