If you hear “Kiwi” or “Aussie” being called out around Brunswick Avenue and Bloor Street, it’s probably a member of Toronto’s Australian or New Zealand community greeting a fellow national. The neighbourhood is home to the TRANZAC Club, a large building that has served as a gathering place for the community’s clubs and cultural organizations since 1961. The mandate of the club is to foster friendly relations between Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders through social and recreational activities.
Improved transportation, as well as accessible work permits, made Canada a prime destination for those working their way around the world in the 1950s and ’60s. Following the Second World War, close to 30,000 Australians and New Zealanders came to Canada, many arriving from England.
On April 25, 1948, New Zealanders and Australians gathered together to celebrate Anzac Day, a national holiday commemorating the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli in 1915. The organizers of the event formed the ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) Association, which later became the TRANZAC (Toronto ANZAC Club).
Popular movies have sparked an interest in Australian and New Zealand culture. New Zealand spring lamb is available in most supermarkets; Foster’s Australian beer, brewed by Molson Breweries, is a Canadian favourite; and outback fashions are sold in clothing stores.
Australians and New Zealanders have contributed to the city’s professional, business, and sports sectors. New Zealander Eric Ross Arthur (1898–1982), a professor of architecture at the University of Toronto, founded the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario in 1932. Named a companion to the Order of Canada, Arthur’s restoration projects included St. Lawrence Hall. He was the author of several authoritative books on the city’s architecture, including Toronto: No Mean City.
AUSTRALIA DAY, January 26, marks the arrival and settlement of Governor Phillip at Sydney Cove in 1788. It has been a public holiday since 1838, and is also known as Anniversary Day and Foundation Day. Receptions and other social gatherings are held on this day.
WAITANGI (NEW ZEALAND DAY), February 6, commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The treaty guaranteed protection of Maori lands, forests, and fisheries, and was an agreement between the Maori (Natives) and the Pakeha (Europeans) to form a peaceful and cooperative nation. The TRANZAC Club sponsors sporting events and a party with traditional spring lamb, desserts, and New Zealand wines.
ANZAC DAY, on April 25, was first observed in 1916 in memory of those who served in Gallipoli and later for those who died during both world wars and other conflicts. The day is observed by the Toronto community on the Sunday nearest to April 25, with a wreath-laying ceremony at City Hall, followed by a dinner-dance.
TRANZACTION, (Tel. 416-923-8137, 292 Brunswick Ave). An announcement sheet distributed by the Australian New Zealand Club.
THE AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND CLUB (TRANZAC), (Tel. 416-923-8137, www.tranzac.org, 292 Brunswick Ave).
Sub-groups at the same address: The Maori Dancers, (Tel. 416-321-3134), made up of 30 dancers of all nationalities as well as Maori (New Zealand Natives), perform Native dances at various functions and exhibitions, including the International Caravan. Contact: Rob Macey.
NAGs (Nomad Acting Group), (Tel. 416-391-4692, www.nagsplayers.com). A theatre troupe which has performed in plays in Toronto since 1976. It stages three productions a year, usually a comedy/farce for the Fall and Spring and an annual English-style pantomime each February. Contact: Chairman Dave Harris.
NOMAD Rugby Club, (Tel. 416-410-3655 or 416-410-FOLK, www.torontonomads.com), was formed in 1951 and is joint owner of Fletcher’s Fields, just north of Toronto. The club runs four men’s teams, a woman’s team, and two colts teams, under 19 and under 17. The Nomad’s 1st XV plays in the “A” Division of the Ontario Rugby Union League. The Flying Cloud Folk Club is centrally located at the TRANZAC Club. Regular concerts are held most Sunday evenings from September to May, as well as dances and special events throughout the season. While the club focuses on traditional folk music from Ireland and Scotland, it also tries to book acts that reflect the ethnic diversity of Toronto.