Featured Member -- René Wälti President, SCT
When René immigrated to Canada in 1972, his idea was to gather some experience abroad and to improve on the English language. His plan was to return to Switzerland after about 2 years. But like so many other Swiss immigrants with the same idea, he ended up staying.
Trained as a typesetter with some years of experience in typography, publishing, and newspapers, he was also familiar with the latest technology in high quality typesetting. This opened doors to new opportunities. After working with some of the best graphic arts studios in Toronto, he decided to go out on his own and in 1978, together with a partner, founded Type Studio Limited. The idea to participate in the activities of any of the local Swiss organizations was remote at this time. Rather he wanted to integrate, build a business and be part of the local economy. This worked very well for him. Initially, sales in his company doubled year over year as he served the advertising and design industry of Toronto. Eventually his company worked around the clock, with three shifts and a staff of 30.
Enter the desktop computer. With the Macintosh computer maturing to the point of being capable to replace traditional typesetting, the graphic arts industry was beginning to go through a transformation. René recognized this trend early on, and when a buyer for his company showed up in 1986 he took the opportunity to sell.
What to do next? One of his lifelong desires was to work in an advertising agency. When it presented itself, he seized the opportunity to do freelance work for one of Toronto’s largest agencies. Later he became their Studio Director and acquired the professional designation of CAAP (Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner).
Over the years the Canadian advertising landscape went through dramatic changes, with agencies being taken over by larger U.S. based firms. René was not left unaffected by this trend, and today he is employed as an account manager and quality control specialist at the Toronto packaging design firm of Hunter Straker.
It was during Toronto’s International Caravan in 1989 that he visited the Swiss pavilion, which was hosted at the Estonian House on Broadview Avenue. Amongst other presentations there was the Toronto Yodeling Choir. It didn’t take long for him to decide to join the yodelers right there and then. It was by no means something he had ever done before, not even back in Switzerland.
So it took 17 years of life and work in Toronto, before he joined any Swiss organization. But his involvement didn’t stop with the yodelers. Later he became a member of the Canadysli Carnival Group and he is regularly performing with the Theatre Group. From 2005 to 2009 he was a Delegate for the Council of the Swiss Abroad and at the same time was sitting on the Finance Committee of the Swiss Club. During his tenure in the Council he was persuaded to become President of the Swiss Club, a position he has held since 2008.
The Swiss Club Toronto was founded in 1918 by Charles Faessler. Including the committee members, there were 36 charter members. Today the Club has close to 650 members.
The annual main event is the Swiss National Holiday, which is celebrated on the Sunday before the 1st of August. For the children there is a visit by Santa Claus in late November. Occasional other events are organized from time to time as they are presented to the board.
Most activities are organized through the various Sections of the Club. There is 5-pin bowling and 10-pin bowling and a yearly golf tournament. The Amicale Romande offers a Fondue night and a Raclette afternoon. The Gym Section organizes a “Grümpeltournier”. The Jass Section hosts a tournament. The Men’s Section offers visits to industrial plants and culinary excursions. There is an annual movie night. Every year The Theatre Section stages a play in Swiss- German dialect. The Women’s Section offers its members social get-togethers, but is also involved in charity work.
Many hours are spent in planning and organizing these events and activities for the Swiss living in the greater Toronto area. It is a worthwhile effort with the goal of bringing the community together, get acquainted with newcomers, make new friends and take care of old friendships.
For membership in the Swiss Club Toronto, please contact the membership chairperson Monika Rüber at 416-203-2026 or by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Swiss Club Toronto, please visit the Club’s website at www.swissclubtoronto.ca
FEATURED MEMBER ARCHIVE:
Schwaben Capital Group
Velago Patio Furniture
The I Love to Travel Group
Neuchâtel Junior College
Busch Vacuum Technics Inc
René Wälti President, SCT
Mesh Innovations Inc.
Niagara Helicopters Limited
Urban Edge Shading Inc.
Hottinger Asset Management
Lindt & Sprüngli