It’s been a place of gathering, dancing and celebrating for Regina’s Austrian community for 40 years, but the club will soon be looking for a new home.
The current building the Austrian Club is based out of, located in northeast Regina in Maxwell Crescent, was built in 1978 but will be sold because it’s too big for the number of people still in the club.
John Jost, who is now 84-years-old, said many people from Austria came to Canada in the 1950s, but they never had a place of their own in Regina.
“I came home one day from work and there were five guys at my place and they said ‘It’s time to build our own club,’” Jost said.
He said he was the first president to be elected and it took place in an existing building on Victoria Avenue.
But in 1978, the club decided to build its own structure.
“Everybody helped, it was all free labour and, at that time, we had lots of tradespeople because European guys all kind of have a trade,” Jost said.
Jost said when they first started to build the club, it was still nothing more than a wheat field.
“At that time Henry Baker was the mayor and he said ‘Just go out there and that’s the future.”
He said the club became a place for meetings and celebrations over the years. The club also played host to the Austrian pavilion during the Mosaic Cultural Festival throughout the years.
“We got together and after the dances, we sang our old songs together … even after the dance was over, people stayed.”
At its peak, the club had 3,000 members. That number has now dwindled down to a couple hundred.
While the club is leaving its home, Jost said it isn’t closing its doors to the future.
“Once we get organized again, we will have a smaller place somewhere.”
The club is hosting a farewell party on Oct.5.