Investitur Toronto 2012











Toronto – Canada

A travel report by Wolfgang Steinhardt, GCJ


On August 11. 2012 the OSJ of Canada celebrated this year‘s investiture. As many members of the Lazarus Union are also members of the OSJ and I have myself the honour of being the Commander of the Austrian-German Commandry “Leopold II“ it was no question to follow the invitation of the Grand Master H.E. Chev. Stephen Lautens and participate in this investiture.


In the past years I had only time to come to the celebration itself and could hardly participate in any other activities for lack of time. But this year things were different and I took my time to experience also other places and activities.




The Grand Prefect of the Knights of Honour of the Lazarus Union, H.E. Chev. Dr. David Douglas picked me up at Toronto airport after a nine hour flight and together with his wife was a truly caring host during my whole visit.



On this day I visited the famous fair ground “Canada‘s Wonderland,“ also somewhat notorious for its ultimate roller coasters. Not two or three, like in other places but two dozen of them. A selection I have met nowhere else in the world.

But Canada is mostly only set up for individual travel and public transport is completely underdeveloped compared with most European countries. Nobody was able to explain to me how to go to this place by public transport. Still I decided to take a go and travel the distance, about 50km north of Toronto, by public transport.

An ALMOST unsolvable task.

It tooks me over 2 ½ hours to get at least in the vicinity of the park by underground and bus. The bus driver told me “…I am not going there, but I can drop you out in the VICINITY of the park…“). “Vicinity” in that sense meant that I had to walk the last 2 km in pouring rain, including crossing a busy highway, having had only a small just-in-case-umbrella with me. Distances in this country are enormous and for Europeans extremely difficult to estimate. (Who would in Vienna walk from St. Stephan‘s Cathedral to the Prater in pouring rain?)

In the face of all these adversities I managed to reach the park, although completely drenched.

But the effort was not in vain, definitely not. It was the ultimate tour enjoying more than 20 different roller coasters and as I was already soaked to the skin I did not mind that it was not possible to use the umbrella on the roller coasters (it was raining all the time). Tired to death and with a slight headache I returned toToronto. Of course once more by public transport but on a different route I managed to come back to my hotel in only two hours.


In mod-morning I visited Toronto‘s financial district. This part of town has incredibly large subterranean pedestrian zones stretching over dozens of blocks which are a definitive must on any visit ofToronto. One gets the feeling that one can be born here (there really is a birth clinic), enjoy one‘s childhood, go to school and college, work, have a family, and finally die without ever having to leave the pedestrian zone (there is also a mortician). The only place I was not able to find was a cemetery. The one thing one misses there is daylight and so I was more than happy to resurface again.

Highlight of the day was David‘s invitation for lunch on the 377m high CN Toronto Tower. The restaurant takes one hour to revolve a full 360° and gives a magnificent view on Toronto‘s skyline. On days with good weather one can even spot the spray of theNiagara Falls120km away.

The end of the day was crowned by a reception of the OSJ in the exclusive “National Club Toronto“ on invitation of the Grand Master (membership fee 2.000.- Dollar per member per month, if one gets accepted as a member at all) and the common dinner  afterwards which did not end short of midnight.


Day of the investiture

In mid-morning I visited the “Royal Ontario Museum“ (a modern addition fitting neatly into the old building) together with Dr.Martin von Grossmann (member of the board of the Lazarus Union and commander of the OSJ commandry of the United States of America) and his wife.

There was a most impressive interactive dinosaur exhibition placing one back into this pre-historic era. Due to the size of the huge museum one could spend weeks in there but we had only time to look at Canada‘s history and its first inhabitants as the preparations for the oncoming investiture in the St. Thomas Chapel had to take place.

At 15:30 the investiture commenced with the trooping of the colours, the marching in of the postulants, the knights, the chapter, the guests of honour, and the Grand Master. Owing to tradition and to the protocol for the duration of the investiture the command was turned over to H.E. Chev. Nugent Schneider, the Grand Master. In this place I want to congratulate and to thank the Commander, his wife, and his team for the perfect investiture, the beautiful supporting programme and their great hospitality.

The following reception in the venerable “Hart House“ ofTorontoUniversityand the gala dinner in the club where also all the honours and awards took place provided a worthy closing of the day. It is simply nice to meet new friends and renew old friendships. Not least because of this the Order of St.Joachim is also a group member of the Lazarus Union and its members are automatically officers of the Lazarus Union. The Grand Master of the Order of St.Joachim holds the rank of a CSLI Major General and Commander of the Canadian CSLI branch.


The Grand Master invited to his house for an informal meeting where in the presence of the Gand Prefect of the Knights of Honour of the Lazarus Union, H.E. Dr. David Douglas, among other things also a discussion took place on the organisation of the oncoming 260 year celebration of the order (1755-2015) in 2015. There is even a chance that this celebration might take place in Vienna as a big year‘s event. Such meetings are especially important as they provide good possibilities for important side talks and discussions exempt by the protocol of an investiture.


Fortunately the weather improved and so it turned out we had reserved the best day for a visit to the Niagara Falls. By car we went fromTorontoon the side ofLakeOntariodirectly toNiagara. Of course a trip with the “Maid of the Mist“ was part of the tour. To travel directly to the falls in such a tiny ship, engulfed by the spray and almost in direct contact with the wall of water was a unique and almost supernatural experience.

After visiting the falls we joined a rehearsal of the “Toronto Signals Band“ (also called “Canada´s Marching Ambassadors“) where we received a most heartily welcome which made me considering visiting them with our Lazarus Union Big Band in 2014 or 2015 to have some shared performances. David himself acts as a drummer in this formation and will provide the necessary contacts.

I am very curious how this is going to develop and I am looking forward to it with great pleasure!

Report in the newspaper at 19.Aug.2012


The day of our return trip finally came and a visit in David‘s private condominium on the 15th floor for a farewell lunch was the final and official closing event of this wonderful trip.Toronto is definitely worth a visit and all those not with us really missed a good time.



Wolfgang Steinhardt, GCJ

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