2017 Conference Celebrated Museum’s 25th Anniversary
About fifty Danes participated in the third national Danish Canadian Conference in Calgary, June 15-17, 1984. The Conference was held in the Danish Canadian Club, 727 – 11th Avenue S.W., Calgary, the largest Danish club in Canada. It was the third Conference held by the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada, a national umbrella organization consisting of 24 Danish organizations.
The Conference began Friday evening with Registration and an Ice-Breaker Party, where the delegates from across Canada had the opportunity to meet and talk. Most of them had not seen each other since last year’s Conference in Montreal, and many participated for the first time. Everybody was in good spirits, setting the meeting off on a high note which continued for the rest of the Conference.
The theme was heritage. The Conference therefore addressed questions such as: What is heritage? How can we preserve and promote our Danish heritage? How can we pass on to our children our Danish heritage? Two presentations about heritage were made by Jan Eisenhardt, Montreal, and Harry Jensen, Calgary, on Saturday morning. These were followed by comments from the delegates, many of whom address the issue of language, with examples from their own organization and private homes.
At the Saturday luncheon excellent speeches were given by Brian Lee, MLA for Calgary-Buffalo, and former Alberta Lieutenant-Governor, Dr. Grant MacEwan. Brian Lee even began his speech in Danish.
The official Conference photograph was taken after lunch. The discussion on herirage was concluded, and the meeting addressed the business part of the meeting, which included the financial statement, annual report and ratifying the bylaws. The Conference was chaired by Poul B. Christensen, President of the Church Council in Vancouver.
Over 300 people came to the party Saturday night in the Danish Canadian Club, where Calgary Mayor Ralph Klein bid all out-of-towners welcome. As soon as everybody had finished indulging in the beautiful Scandinavian smorgasbord, all the out-of-towners were made Honorary Calgarians by Deputy Chief White Hatter, Bob Peltier. They were all given a certificate and a while cowboy hat, which brought shouts of joy. The Keynote Address was given by Jan Eisenhardt, Montreal. A party everybody will remember for a long time.
It was a demanding program. The Conference resumed at nine o’clock Sunday morning, where the Folk School Course for Canadians was discussed; it will be held at the International College in Helsingør from July 22 to 28, 1984. Next was King Christian X Jubilee Foundation of 1937, where the Federation helped in trying to find a candidate. The Foundation donates travel grants to Denmark for Danish Canadians who have not been back to Denmark for 20 years. Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association announced last year at the Montreal Conference that they would donate the airplane ticket this year. Moreover, fundraising was discussed.
Regarding the Federation’s Board of Directors, Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski were re-elected as respectively President, Secretary and Treasurer. The Regional Presidents and Directors are elected in the five Regions.
1984 Danish Canadian Conference in Calgary, Alberta
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its sixth Danish Canadian Conference at Koldinghus Castle in Kolding, Denmark, from June 30 to July 3, 1987. Over 250 Danish Canadians participated in the Canada Day parade through the pedestrian streets of Kolding on July 1st. Leading the parade was the Royal Danish Guards’ Pipe and Drum Band in their blue uniforms and bearskins. That was followed by a group of flag bearers representing the many Danish and Canadian organizations. Club flags and provincial flags were also present.
Most of the participants in the parade wore red and white. The participants from Winnipeg carried a large club banner while those from Montreal wore hats and a bandolier whereon was written Montreal. Many of the participants handed out small Canadian flags and maple leaf emblems along the route.
The parade took place in beautiful weather. The joyful participants in the parade were delighted to see the Danish and Canadian flags which the City of Kolding had erected in Jernbanegade, along the parade route. It was a striking sight with all the red and white flags. The parade started at Saxildhus Hotel and wound its way through the streets of Kolding up to Koldinghus Castle. Many photographs were taken and four participants recorded the parade on video.
After the parade the participants witnessed the opening of two exhibitions in Kolding. Det Danske Selskab (The Danish Society) opened an exhibition at the Main Library entitled “Denmark in colour and form,” which showcased photographs and art. The exhibition had just returned from a tour to West Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and would later be going to England. In one of the large display windows facing the street the library had arranged an exhibition about Canada, the Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association as well as the Danish Federation.
The conference delegates then participated in the opening of the New Denmark exhibition at Koldinghus. Acting Mayor Peter Skov Christensen bid the Canadian Ambassador to Denmark, Dorothy Armstrong, welcome, where she officially opened the exhibition from the oldest Danish colony in Canada. Among other things, the New Denmark exhibition consisted of photographs and tools, and gave a good impression of this old settlement, founded in New Brunswick in 1872. The New Denmark exhibition continued until the end of July.
After the opening of the exhibition, the Canadian Ambassador hosted a reception in the Knights Hall, which had recently been renovated. The whole castle has been renovated and all four wings now have a roof. There are no floors in the south wing, and none are foreseen, so it can clearly be seen what the ruin looked like before the walls and roofs were re-built over the south wing ruins.
The manager of the castle, slotsforvalter Poul Dedenroth-Schou, gave an interesting presentation about the history and pain-staking restoration of Koldinghus. The first Koldinghus was begun in 1248, and has since been expanded several times. The castle has been both a royal residence and a fortress on the border to the Duchy of Slesvig. In 1808 Koldinghus was destroyed by fire, and it remained basically a ruin for over a century. Most of the castle has now been re-built and houses a museum as well as many restored rooms and halls which now are used as meeting rooms.
The evening before Canada Day the Conference participants were invited to a reception in the Knights Hall, where after they attended the operetta Farinelli in the courtyard.
Canada Day, July 1st, ended with a meal of superb beef in the Geographic Garden, where Canadian Ambassador Dorothy Armstrong planted a Canadian maple tree in the garden’s Canadian section. It was a beautiful summer evening, which ended with folk dancers entertaining on the grand lawn.
Thursday morning, July 2nd, was devoted to the Conference theme “Our Roots”. Three presentations took place in the Library on the first floor of the West Wing, a large light hall with a view of the courtyard and city. The first presentation was by Helle Otte, head of the Danish Emigration Archives in Aalborg, who spoke about the archives and their collection and showed some slides. She was followed by lecturer Erik Helmer Pedersen, University of Copenhagen, who is author of Drømmen om Amerika (The Dream of America). The third speaker was Benedicte Mahler, who spoke about her grandparents, Catherine and Valdemar, who immigrated to New Denmark in the 1880s.
After lunch the three speakers answered questions and elaborated on their presentations. Jens Witthøfft Nielsen, secretary general of Dansk Samvirke then explained what Dansk Samvirke is, and distributed copies of Danmarksposten.
All Conference participants also received a copy of the 179-page Heritage Book, which had been edited by Birgitte Dedenroth-Schou, the city archivist. The 1987 Kolding Book contains articles by among others Hans H. Worsøe, Helle Otte, Palle Bo Bojesen and Jørgen Dieckmann Rasmussen. The photograph on the front cover of the Book shows the south wing of Koldinghus, which has been restored with a roof and hanging wall. The Book also contains a new photograph of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, patron of the Conference.
Thursday afternoon was devoted to youth. Five young Danish Canadians spoke about themselves. They were Ena Holtermann, Bettina Bourgeois, Lene Sondergaard, Trine Schiodan and Michael Alsing Kristensen. Their presentations were followed by questions and discussion.
It was clear from the discussion that it is necessary to get young people involved in the many Danish organizations in Canada, if they are to continue to exist, above all now where very few Danes immigrate to Canada.
The afternoon program ended with Poul Gjorup, The Danish Heritage Society of Dickson, telling the delegates about the Dickson General Store and the plans for a national museum. The presentation was accompanied with photographs and blueprints of the proposed museum.
In the evening a Banquet was held in the theatre of Industriforeningen, where the Royal Danish Guards’ Pipe and Drum Band played at the entrance. Kolding Men’s Choir sang before the dinner, while Kolding Salontrio played during the meal. The Key Note Speaker was Bertel Haarder, Denmark’s Minister of Education. Actress Anne Jensen and actor Jan Schou entertained after dinner. Following coffee it was possible to dance – and later there was a midnight snack. There were many greetings and congratulations to the Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association, the Conference host, as it celebrated its 25th anniversary that same evening.
The Conference participants could sleep in the next morning. But then it was off to a special Church Service at the old Skt. Nicolai Church. The Services were conducted by Pastor Sven Christensen and Parish priest Ole Jørgensen. After the Service many of the participants did some shopping along the pedestrian mall, before heading for lunch at Saxildhus Hotel, where Marie Tastesen, chairperson of the Board of Directors of Koldinghus, spoke.
In the afternoon the delegates met again in the Library at Koldinghus for the Danish Federation’s Annual General Meeting. There was some discussion about the Danish Federation’s Bylaws. Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski were re-elected as respectively president, secretary and treasurer. There was also a presentation about next year’s conference in Winnipeg. In conclusion the Danish Federation President, along with others, thanked Gunnar Kristensen, the conference host and organizer, for a wonderful conference. Poul Dedenroth-Schou was thanked for letting the Danish Federation use Koldinghus Castle for its meetings and Poul B. Christensen was thanked for again this year chairing the Annual General Meeting.
Friday evening ended with a Goodbye Party in the Castle’s Stables Courtyard, where Kolding Royal Danish Guards’ Association was host. The Vejen Majorettes played and supper was provided in a big tent. There was a grand atmosphere and many of the delegates began to sing. The evening concluded with fellowship in Garderstuen, at the far end of Staldgården. This concluded a very successful conference in a lovely city with a great castle. It was an outstanding conference which will be remembered for a very long time by the participants from Canada.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
1985 Danish Canadian Conference in New Denmark, New Brunswick
New Denmark, the oldest Danish settlement in Canada, hosted the national Danish Canadian Conference on June 14 – 16, 1985. Over 60 Danes from Halifax to Vancouver participated in the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada’s fourth annual Conference. The host was the New Denmark Historical Society, one of the 25 member organizations of the Danish Federation.
New Denmark was founded in 1872, when the New Brunswick government invited Danes to establish a settlement south of Grand Falls, where the Salmon River flows into the St. John River. New Denmark, a large farm community where Danish is still spoken, is well known for its potatoes, which are exported all over the world.
The theme of the Conference was “How to Preserve and Document our History”, a theme quite fitting to discuss in New Denmark, where they have succeeded in doing just that. On the national level, however, the Danes in Canada have shown scant interest in preserving and documenting their history. A book about the history of the Danes in Canada has still to be written. Generally speaking, material and primary sources for such a book have not been collected and preserved for posterity. There is therefore an urgent need in the Danish comm.[unity in Canada to ensure that archival material is preserved for future generations.
Professor Kell Antoft, Dalhousie University, Halifax, spoke about “The Importance of Preserving Archival Material”, while Dr. Edward Laine, Public Archives of Canada, spoke about the Ethnic Archives and the federal Danish Archives Program. It was later decided that each organization appoint a historian, who would report back to the Federatio, so that all information could be compiled in one single dossier. It was felt that this was truly one worthwhile matter for the Danish Federation to take up.
The 154-page New Denmark Conference Booklet was itself a heritage project. The Booklet contains a treasure of Danish Canadian biographies, songs and poems, as well as histories, photographs and articles. The New Denmark Conference Booklet, costing $10, is available from the Federation’s Treasurer, Esther Machacynski, 16 Campbell Crescent, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7M 1Z5.
The Saturday luncheon speaker was Mr. Douglas Moore, Member of the New Brunswick Legislature for New Denmark, who had arranged that the Danish flag fly from the Provincial Legislature in Fredericton for the duration of the Conference. He was warmly applauded, as Saturday was also Valdemarsdag, the anniversary of the Danish flag.
Over 100 people came to the Banquet Saturday evening, where speakers included Gunnar Kristensen, President of Skandinavisk Canadisk Venskabsforening, Kolding, Denmark; Danish Consul General Torben Dithmer, Toronto; and the Honorable Jean-Pierre Quellet, New Brunswick Minister for Historical and Cultural Resources. All the participants received a red and white New Denmark hat, and later they were entertained by Danish folk dancers, followed by music and dancing until late into the warm New Denmark night.
Sunday morning, next year’s Conference was discussed, as well as various items which had been tabled Saturday. There were many outstanding matters which had to be concluded, but the Sunday Church Services at St. Ansgar and St. Peter started at 11:00 a.m. There is a beautiful view of New Denmark from the churches, located on Church Hill. The Services were followed by a Pot Luck Supper, which ended a long and successful Conference.
At 2:30 p.m. New Denmark’s annual Founders’ Day commenced at the old Immigrant Lot, where the New Denmark Memorial Museum is located, when the New Denmark Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Boy Scouts carried in their flags, led by two Danish guardsmen in blue uniform, from the Royal Danish Guards’ Association, Eastern Canada.
Robert Brinkman, President of the New Denmark Historical Society, bid everyone welcome and introduced the speakers: Danish Consul General Julius Bruun, Montreal; Danish Federation President Rolf Buschardt Christensen; and Mrs. Beatrice Hansen, President of the New Denmark Women’s Institute, which has arranged the Founders’ Day program for the past 47 years. It was impressive to see young people of New Denmark dancing old folk dances and singing Danish songs. Following the program on the stage, coffee and Danish lunches were available on the grounds, and the Museum was opened.
In the evening many of the participants met at Valhalla Restaurant, located by the old New Denmark Station, where from the potatoes were shipped by train, before the big modern trucks took over.
Holding the national Danish Canadian Conference in New Denmark was moving and inspiring. All the participants raved about the Conference, and were moved by the hospitality and friendliness of the people of New Denmark.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
1989 Danish Canadian Conference in Ottawa, Ontario
2009 Danish Canadian Conference in Red Deer
1992 Danish Canadian Conference in Dickson, Alberta
The Danish Federation’s 2017 Conference celebrated the Danish Canadian Museum’s 25th anniversary. The dormitory had a new improved outside look, the manicured grounds looked great in the beautiful sunshine, and the Nielsen CPR House was officially inaugurated.
As host, the Danish Canadian Museum had chosen Step into the Saga as the Conference theme. The Conference, held in Red Deer and Dickson, from May 25 to May 28, 2017, was officially opened Thursday evening, where former Museum director and Mayor of Red Deer, Morris Flewwelling, gave a well-received speech.
Friday the Danish Federation held its Annual General Meeting, chaired by Gert Andersen. The financial statement was approved and the executive was re-elected. Rolf Christensen thanked Ed Kuhlman for compiling and editing a beautiful 200-page Heritage Book. As well, the meeting endorsed holding the 2018 Conference in Halifax. The luncheon speaker was Otto Christensen from Gimli, who spoke about Jens Munk’s search for the Northwest Passage. In the afternoon, the delegates explored Markerville, seeing both the Stephan Stephansson House and the Markerville Creamery, both of which are historic sites.
Saturday morning the Museum held its Annual General Meeting at the Museum in Dickson. Luncheon speaker was Meaghan Patterson, Executive Director of Alberta Museums. In the afternoon after the opening of the Nielsen CPR House, there was a Viking Enactment on the big lawn. In the evening, there was dinner, and silent and live auctions, at the Spruce View Hall.
Sunday, it was possible to attend the Service at Bethany Lutheran Church and to visit the Dickson Store Museum, prior to the typical Danish lunch with beer and snaps at Glennifer Lake Resort, where the delegates enjoyed the patio in perfect sunshine, while relishing the view of the lake. After lunch, Museum President Svend E. Nielsen as well as chair of the conference organizing committee, Steve Morck, were thanked for putting on a memorable conference. They in turn handed over the flag and mailbox to Larry Kjearsgaard, who is chairing the committee for next year’s conference in Halifax.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
2008 Danish Canadian Conference in Ottawa
2011 Vikings figure prominently at Conference in Calgary
At the Saturday evening Banquet at the 14th Danish Canadian Conference in Montreal, Quebec, on May 27, 1995, Danmarks-Samfundet in Denmark, presented a flag to the Danish Federation. The Danish flag, or fane, was inaugurated with a traditional Danish ceremony by hammering in four nails, one for Queen Margrethe, one for Denmark, one for the Danish Federation and one for Canada. Afterwards, everyone sang Der er ingenting, der maner and O Canada.
They came from Denmark, California and from across Canada. With over 80 registered delegates and 26 Danish Canadian organizations represented, the 14th Danish Canadian Conference, hosted by The Danish Canadian Society and The Danish Club, both of Montreal, was an overwhelming success.
The activities began just after lunch on Friday, May 26, 1995, at the new Hotel du Fort, right downtown Montreal, with the Annual General Meeting of the Danish Canadian National Museum. Svend E. Nielsen of Innisfail was re-elected President of the National Museum, which eventually is to be built on the purchased Dormitory lot in Dickson, Alberta.
The Conference was officially opened Friday evening by Danish Canadian Society President Ole Larsen, Danish Club President Axel Thøgersen and Federation President Rolf Buschardt Christensen. The Danish Federation then held its business meeting, where the Federation's member organizations reported on their activities during the past year. It was decided to review the Federation's bylaws and Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Betty Kjearsgaard and Esther Machacynski were re-elected respectively President, Secretary and Treasurer. The business meeting was followed by a social get-together.
In connection with the Conference, a beautiful 231-page Conference Book, edited by Morten Holm, had been printed, containing biographies, histories, reports and articles.
The theme of the Conference was Focus on Democracy. The theme was addressed at the sessions on Saturday, which were held at the Faculty Club of Concordia University. Many commented on the outstanding quality of the speakers. Professor Finn Stendal Pedersen of Odense University spoke about the development of the Danish Constitution. Matti Terho gave a short but dramatic overview of Finland's political development. Professor Maria Peluso, a human rights activist, made a strong case for multiculturalism in Canada and emphasized that subtle discrimination destroys democracy. She was followed by journalist Doug Sweet of The Montreal Gazette, who highlighted the role of the media in preserving democracy. Referring to a statement by Quebec Premier Parizeau he pointed to the danger posed by threats from those in power to control the media.
The speaker at the luncheon at the Faculty Club of Concordia University was the Hon. Ed Broadbent, who now heads the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development in Montreal. He spoke eloquently and received a standing ovation. Professor Graeme Decarie opened the afternoon session with a critical and witty look at democracy or the lack thereof in Quebec. He was followed by Jan Eisenhardt who spoke about his life in Denmark around World War I. Rebecca Mancuso then updated the meeting on the Danish Canadian Society's history project and the planned publication of a book about the Danes in Quebec. Lastly, Svend E. Nielsen, using a big map of the Dormitory property, gave a status report on the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta.
The banquet Saturday evening was held in the prestigeous Mount Stephen Club on Drummond Street. A Mountie in red gala and a member of the Royal Danish Guards in uniform carried in the flags - and the flag donated by Danmarks-Samfundet was inaugurated. Otto Hemming Larsen, Minister Counsellor at the Danish Embassy in Ottawa, gave a fitting address. Entertainment after the meal was by Maren and Charlotte and music was provided by Ole's Orchestra.
Sunday there was a Service in St. Ansgar Church, followed by open face sandwiches and beer and snaps in Beck's Hall. Pastor Marty Holobow was the luncheon speaker. Everyone joined in for Happy Birthday for Svend Pedersen of the St. Ansgar congregation, who turned 90. The Conference then officially concluded with the Mail Box and new Danish flag being turned over to Karl Sørensen of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, where the Danish Canadian Conference will be held next year. Most of the participants then left on a guided bus tour of Montreal.
The 2004 Danish Canadian National Conference was held in Montreal from May 27-30, 2004. It was hosted by The Danish Club, Montreal, and the Danish Canadian Society, Montreal.
The theme of the 2004 Danish Canadian Conference was Human Rights. Peter Aage Jorgensen of St. Lambert, Quebec, spoke eloquently about the desirability of dual citizenship for Danes, which the Danish government does not allow at present. Peter Aage Jorgensen, who has been an advocate of dual citizenship for many years, explained how he had tracked down ministers, civil servants and organizations in Denmark trying to get the Danish government to change its legislation. He ended by urging individuals and organizations to join him in his quest.
The Rev. Darryl Gregory Gray, who is both a minister and a social activist, spoke about human rights in Canada, focusing on racism, religion, discrimination, tolerance and respect. Philippe Tremblay, a lawyer and researcher with the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development spoke about international law, the Geneva Convention and the United Nations. Yvonne Christiansen, an English teacher at a local college, who volunteers for Amnesty International, spoke about the suppression of human rights in China.
The Danish Canadian Society and The Danish Club, both of Montreal, hosted the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada's three-day conference from May 27 to 30, 2004. The conference was held at Days Inn and at Hotel Lord Berri in downtown Montreal.
The first day of the Conference was devoted to the Danish Canadian National Museum Society, which held its annual general meeting and a couple of board meetings. The Museum also held a successful auction and showed a video from the Museum's Grand Opening in 2002. Copies of the video were distributed to all member organizations of the Danish Federation.
Saturday was dedicated to the Danish Federation. The annual general meeting, chaired by Ontario Region President Gert Andersen of Waterloo, was held in the morning. Each member organization of the Danish Federation gave a report on its activities. The President gave his annual report and highlighted the stone for the Lung Association monument in Saint John, New Brunswick. A video of the event was also shown. Eva Terp stepped down after eight years as secretary. Elected president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer were respectively Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Ole Larsen, Ella Wolder and Esther Machacynski.
The presentations on human rights were held Saturday afternoon. The annual Banquet, with Danish Ambassador Svend Roed Nielsen as Guest Speaker, was held Saturday evening at the elegant Ritz Carlton Hotel. During the evening the rotating fane and mailbox were presented to Dr. John Mark Nielsen, the Executive Director of The Danish Immigrant Museum, by Ole Larsen of Montreal, as the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, and Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, are the hosts of next year's conference.
Again this year the Danish Federation published an impressive Book with biographies, articles, histories and reports. The 274-page book, edited by Svend Berg of Montreal, also contains several articles relating to human rights. One article tells the story of Peter Aage Jorgensen's internment in the Dachau and Neuengamme concentration camps during WW II. As usual, however, most of the articles are biographies of Danes in Canada.
Sunday was the last day of the Conference. After the Service at St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church on Grand Boulevard, where the sermon fittingly dealt with human rights, a typical Danish lunch was served in the adjoining hall. The lunch officially concluded another busy and successful Danish Canadian Conference.
2000 Conference in Aalborg was opportunity to visit Danish Emigration Archives
The city of Winnipeg, situated where the Assiniboine River runs into the Red River on the flat Canadian prairie, will be home to the new national Human Rights Museum, which at present is slated to be completed in 2012. Due to the excitement generated by this new museum, the Danish Canadian Club of Manitoba had chosen Human Rights as the theme of the 2010 Danish Canadian Conference. Among others, the theme was addressed by students from the école Seven Oaks Middle School. The conference participants were absolutely moved and amazed by these young people, who were so talented, artistic, knowledgeable and eager. Their performances and exhibitions will certainly not be forgotten by those present.
The guest speaker at the Saturday lunch was Mr. Stuart Murray, the new Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. He spoke about how the wealthy Winnipeg-based Asper family had spearheaded the drive for a Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg – and definitely not a Holocaust Museum. Mr. Murray emphasized that this was a Museum of Rights, and not a Museum of Wrongs. His informative speech was very moving, which this subject can easily be.
After his presentation, students from Seven Oaks performed music they had written and/or composed, much of it relating to human rights. It ended with a play about young girls going to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. The play was written and choreographed by a fourteen year old girl who had visited this Nazi death camp earlier in the school year. The conference participants then proceeded to the meeting room where the students displayed their human rights exhibitions. The topics displayed ranged from the Holocaust, Residential Schools for native people, civil rights, refugees, child soldiers, dictatorships, slavery, piracy and terrorism. These young students ranging in age from 12 to 14 were amazing. They were all very eager to talk about their display and human rights project.
The conference began Thursday evening, May 27, 2010, at the Fort Garry Hotel, a beautiful historic property, which is truly a gem, situated across the street from the old railway station – and the Forks, where the Human Rights Museum was being built. Eight blocks down the street in the opposite direction is the Manitoba Legislature, another historic building well worth a visit due to its symmetrical layout and classical architecture.
Karl Sorensen, chair of the organizing committee, introduced Susan Person, president of the Danish Canadian Club of Manitoba, who bid everyone welcome. Rolf Christensen, president of the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada, and Steve Morck, president of the Danish Canadian National Museum, also said a few words of welcome. Nearly fifty delegates had registered for the conference.
Friday was Museum Day. In the morning the Danish Canadian National Museum held its Annual General Meeting. The luncheon speaker was Prof. Carol Harvey who spoke about the author Gabrielle Roy and the Gabrielle Roy Museum, located across the Red River in St. Boniface. Harvey pointed out that in dealing with poverty and various ethnic groups in her writings, Gabrielle Roy had actually also dealt with human rights. In the afternoon the Danish Canadian National Museum officially launched its new website. In the evening the Museum held its annual auction.
Saturday morning the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its Annual General Meeting, which was chaired by Solvejg Nielsen of North Delta, B.C. Rolf Christensen, Ole Larsen, Ella Wolder and Sue-Anne Nielsen were re-elected as president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer – and Erik Hogh was re-appointed as auditor. Adopted was also a resolution about using the funds from the Martha Larsen estate to continue to support the conferences and Danish Heritage Seminars.
In connection with the conference a Heritage Book of over 200 pages had been produced, edited by Svend Berg of Montreal, who also looked after its distribution. The 2010 Heritage Book contains articles, biographies and other information. Highlights this year are the history of the Kingston Club and the story about the Viking Ship travelling from Denmark across Canada to Dickson. This year’s book also contains many obituaries, including both the death notice and eulogy of Holger Frandsen, a former Royal Danish Guard who died at the age of 105 last year.
The Banquet Saturday night was held in a large opulent ballroom on the seventh floor of the hotel. The entertainment and food was first class. Over 80 people attended, and a small group stayed and danced until way past midnight.
At ten o’clock Sunday morning a bus took the participants on a small tour of Winnipeg which focussed on the Forks – driving past the new Human Rights Museum, which is just off William Stephenson Way. The bus then stopped at the Manitoba Legislature, where the delegates were given a guided tour of this magnificent edifice, built in the style of an ancient temple. It was interesting to note that the parliamentarians sit in a semi-circle, unlike in most British-inspired legislatures. Before departing a group photo was taken outside on the steps leading up to the grand entrance.
The concluding lunch was held at the Scandinavian Centre on Erin Street. Danish open face sandwiches with Faxe beer and Aalborg Akvavit were served. Helle Wilson, conference registrar, entertained superbly with dancing and lip-singing a song. The Danish Federation fane and the mailbox with all the plaques from the various conferences were then handed over to the Calgary Danish Canadian Club, who will host next year’s conference. This little ceremony ended a super and truly memorable conference in Winnipeg.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
Saturday morning the Danish Federation held its Annual General Meeting at Pier 21. Vice-president Gert Andersen stepped down and elected new vice-president was Ed Kuhlman of Port Coquitlam. Re-elected as president, secretary and treasurer were respectively Rolf Christensen, Aase Christensen and Sune Overgaard. Moreover, Ed Kuhlman was thanked for producing an excellent Heritage Book with a host of immigration stories. The luncheon speaker was Pier 21 historian Steven Schwinghamer, who then gave a guided tour of the premises. There was also time to do research and view the temporary exhibitions. Dinner was aboard a harbour cruise ship, which sailed along the harbour with a great view of the Halifax skyline as well as docks and container terminal, and many coves. Sunday offered a guided bus tour which included stops at the Victorian Public Gardens, the Halifax Citadel and a cemetery with many of the victims from the Titanic.
The Conference ended with a traditional Danish luncheon at the Austenville Owls’ Club in Dartmouth, catered by the Scandinavian Society of Nova Scotia. At the closing, the participants thanked Larry Kjearsgaard as chair of the Conference Organizing Committee, as well as Birgit Ballantyne, who had been “the boots on the ground” in Halifax. Finally, Larry Kjearsgaard handed the Fane and Mailbox over to Karl Sorensen of the Danish Club in Winnipeg, which will be hosting the Conference in 2019.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
The 34th Danish Canadian Conference was held at the Inn of the Quay, New Westminster, from May 21 to 24, 2015. The host was the Danish House Society, who had chosen the theme Keeping Traditions Alive.
The Conference started Thursday evening with a Meet and Greet Reception, where Ed Kuhlman, the president of the Danish House Society, bid welcome. Friday was Museum Day, devoted to the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta. Luncheon speaker was MLA Judy Darcy. In the evening the program ‘Step into the Saga’ consisted of presentations and information about the Museum, silent and live auctions as well as a raffle.
Saturday morning the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its Annual General Meeting. Luncheon speaker was Pastor Birgitte Saltorp who spoke about women getting the vote in Denmark in 1915. Kjeld Christensen then spoke about the new Dania Home, followed by Scott Larsen who recounted the fate of the Danes aboard the Titanic. The day concluded with a festive banquet in the Hyack Ballroom.
Sunday morning breakfast was offered in the Danish Lutheran Church, followed by Church Service. A bus then took the delegates from across Canada to the Scandinavian Centre for lunch, where the fane and mailbox were handed over to Montreal, who will host the conference next year. The successful conference ended with a bus tour of Vancouver. Thank you to all the conference organizers and volunteers!
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
1983 Danish Canadian Conference in Montreal, Quebec
With the theme “Then and Now” the Danish Canadian Conference in Calgary focussed on the Vikings. Professor Chris Hale of the University of Alberta gave a comprehensive and interesting overview of the Viking explorations and settlements in the Northwest Atlantic, which was accompanied by a power point presentation on a big screen. As well, the Danish Canadian Club of Calgary, the Conference hosts, had also invited some “real live” Vikings to perform – displaying their battle dress as well as weaponry and how these various weapons were used.
The Danish Federation’s 30th Conference was held at the Danish Canadian Club in Calgary from 26-29 May 2011. The Conference consisted of business meetings, presentations relating to the theme, as well as social get-togethers such as traditional Danish lunches and a festive Banquet. The participants came from across Canada. The Conference was opened Thursday evening by Club President Harold Ager and Conference Chair Karsten Dalberg.
Friday was Museum Day, devoted to the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta. In the morning the Museum held its Annual General Meeting, with about 40 delegates in attendance. After lunch, Consul Jonas Albeck spoke about his Danish Canadian Immigrant History Project, whereby he hopes to record as many immigrant stories as possible in Calgary. Afterwards Nancy Millar spoke about the 1928 Persons Case, in which the Supreme Court ruled women are not persons. The decision was later reversed. Moreover, Gordon Petersen, Chair of the Museum’s Marketing Subcommittee gave a presentation on the Museum’s new marketing campaign. Gordon then revealed the Museum’s new logo and marketing brand “Step into the Saga”. It was interesting to note that the Museum had chosen a Viking Ship as its new logo – and the word Saga. At 6:00 p.m. everyone met in the big Valhalla Hall for an Evening with the Vikings, that is, Calgary’s Sons of Fenris. The evening started with a cocktail hour and dinner, followed by entertainment by the Sons of Fenris, games and a very successful auction.
On Saturday morning the Danish Federation held its Annual General Meeting, which was chaired by Solvejg Nielsen of Delta, B.C. The various member organizations of the Danish Federation each gave a Report on their organization. The auditor, Erik Hogh, presented the Financial Statement and Auditor’s Report. President Rolf Christensen presented the Annual Report and thanked the members, the Board, the Editor and the Conference organizers for their work and dedication. Regarding the election, Sue-Anne Nielsen of Ottawa stepped down as treasurer and elected in her place was Bendix Andersen of Victoria. Re-elected president, vice-president and secretary were Rolf Christensen, Ole Larsen and Ella Wolder. Erik Hogh was re-appointed auditor. After lunch Danish Bishop Steen Skovsgaard spoke about interfacing with Muslims in his former parish in Aarhus. This was followed by musical entertainment by Mr. Craig West. In the evening a big Banquet was held in the Valhalla Hall, with great food and live music by Jana and Danny. Speeches to mark the Calgary Conference and the 30th anniversary of the Danish Federation were given by MC and Conference Chair Karsten Dalberg, Calgary Club President Harold Ager, Danish Consul Jonas Albeck, Danish Federation President Rolf Christensen as well as Calgary Deputy Mayor Andre Chabot.
Sunday morning the Conference participants went on a short bus tour of Calgary, ending at Sharon Lutheran Church, which was officially consecrated, becoming a part of DSUK in Denmark. Seven ministers were present, including Bishop Skovsgaard and Pastor Charlotte Berg, the Calgary minister. The ship model of the bark Sørine, which had hung in the old church, was carried into Sharon Church.
The Danish Lutheran Church, belonging to DSUK, on 32nd Avenue, and Sharon Lutheran Church, belonging to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, on 10th Avenue, had recently merged and the two congregations will use Sharon Lutheran Church, while the Church on 32nd Avenue will be sold. The new joint congregation, which will remain a member of DSUK, decided to mark this occasion by consecrating the new home of the two congregations in connection with the holding of the Danish Federation’s annual Conference in Calgary. The members of the Danish Federation were delighted to participate in this very special and moving event. A group picture in beautiful sunshine was taken outside the Church – which was full to capacity due to the solemn occasion. Indeed, historic occasion!
A traditional Danish lunch with open-face sandwiches, beer and snaps, back at the Danish Canadian Club, concluded the Conference. The Federation President thanked Karsten Dalberg and his busy crew for a great Conference. Eva Terp invited everyone to Toronto in 2012, and then distributed a song prepared by the 2012 hosts called “Invitation to Toronto 2010”, sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic. Calgary Club President Harold Ager then handed the Fane and Mailbox over to the Danish Lutheran Church in Toronto, who will be hosting the 2012 Danish Canadian Conference.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
The Danish Federation was given a flag stand by the Royal Danish Guards' Association, Eastern Canada, at the national Conference in Calgary, Alberta, which took place at the Highlander Hotel from May 27-30, 1999. The hosts of the Conference were the Danish organizations in Calgary, who had chosen Danish Traditions in the New Millennium as the theme. The organizing committee, headed by Karen Glowa, had done a superb job in putting on a great Conference for the 75 registered delegates.
The 252-page Conference Book, edited by Niels Jorgensen of Nanaimo, contains biographies, histories and articles related to the Danish community. It can be obtained by sending $ 11.00 to Rolf Christensen, 679 Eastvale Court, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada K1J 6Z7 Eastvale Court, Gloucester, Ontario, Canada K1J 6Z7. The Calgary Conference Book is a real treasure.
Friday was devoted to the Danish Canadian National Museum Society, which collected over $ 20,000 during the course of the Conference. A trip to the National Museum site in Dickson took place Sunday afternoon, in order to see where the planned museum will be built.
The Federation's annual general meeting took place Saturday morning, while the Conference theme was addressed at a workshop in the afternoon. A fun-filled Western Party with delicious food, dancing and superb entertainment, was held at the Danish Canadian Club on Saturday Night.
Sunday morning breakfast was served at the Danish Lutheran Church. A talented choir entertained before the Service. Lunch was at the Danish Canadian Club, where the Federation's flag and mailbox were handed over to the Danish Emigration Archives, who will be hosting the Conference in Aalborg, Denmark, in June 2000.
Taking Action was the theme of the Danish Canadian national conference, which the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held in Thunder Bay from June 12-15, 2003. In four workshops the Danish Federation, a national umbrella group, looked at: (1) the future of Danish organizations in Canada; (2) what kind of activities get members out to events; (3) how to attract dormant, potential and new members; and, (4) fundraising and making activities financially viable. The workshops generated a lot of discussion and good ideas. Before ending the workshop session, a spokesperson from each of the workshops gave a verbal report, which will be written up and published in the Danish Federation's Conference Book next year. The participants hope the various Danish organizations across Canada will find the workshop reports useful in their local work.
The Conference was organized and hosted by the Pass Lake Historical Society, whose president is Ingrid Price. Conference Coordinator was Paul Olsen. The Pass Lake Historical Society is based in Pass Lake, about 50 kilometers east of Thunder Bay, which is located on Lake Superior. Pass Lake is an old Danish settlement, founded in 1924. The Conference itself was held at the historic Prince Arthur Hotel, where Mayor Ken Boshcoff bid welcome Thursday evening.
Friday, June 13th was devoted to the Danish Canadian National Museum, whose president is Kirsten Wohlgemuth. The Museum held a couple of board meetings and its Annual General Meeting, as well as a successful auction in the evening. In the afternoon there was an interesting excursion to Fort William, the old fur-trading fort, which has been restored to how it looked in 1815. Saturday was dedicated to the Danish Federation. The Annual General Meeting, chaired by Gert Andersen of Waterloo, was held in the morning and the workshops on Taking Action were held in the afternoon. A couple of board meetings took care of business. The annual Banquet, with Mike Gravelle MPP, as Guest Speaker, was held in the evening. It attracted many of the local members of the Pass Lake Historical Society.
Again this year the Danish Federation published a Conference Book with biographies, articles, histories and reports. The book, edited by Eva Terp of Toronto, also includes a brief history of the Danish American Heritage Society, as well as a short article about the October 2002 Conference in Omaha. Other articles in the Conference Book relate to the centennial of Dickson, Alberta, and the opening of the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson last year. As well, there are several articles about Pier 21, where so many Danish immigrants landed, and which is now a historic site and museum.
On the Sunday the Historical Society had arranged a bus tour to Pass Lake. First stop was at Salem Lutheran Church, with a short but moving Service by Pastor Marilyn Haugenstrand. The Conference participants also had an opportunity to see the new plaque and the new stone monument, dedicated to the pioneers, which is located just outside the Salem Church Cemetery. The Conference ended with a typical Danish lunch at Pass Lake Community Hall, where Ingrid Price handed over the Danish Federation's fane and mailbox to Ole Larsen of Montreal, where the Conference will be held next year.
The seventh Danish Canadian Conference of the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada was held in the Scandinavian Cultural Centre in Winnipeg on May 27-29, 1988, where the Danish Canadian Club of Manitoba was host. A hearty thank you the Winnipeg Club for organizing an interesting and well-run Conference; particularly to Anni-Markmann-Andersen, Lissen Lockwood, Chris and Birthe Christensen as well as Karl and Marilyn Sorensen! The theme of the Conference was Communication, the focus being on newsletters and interpersonal relations. The workshops on communication, given by Mrs. Lendre Rogers-Kearns, were useful and highly informative.
About 75 delegates participated in the Conference. The Danish Federation, which is a national umbrella organization, brings together 29 members organizations across Canada. Among the participants were Jens Witthøfft Nielsen, the Secretary General of Dansk Samvirke, Copenhagen, and Gunnar Kristensen, president of The Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association, Kolding.
A major decision was taken by the delegates, that is, the Conference dealt with, and supported, a proposal from The Danish Heritage Society of Dickson to establish a Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta. The Danish Heritage Society of Dickson, which was founded in 1985, specifically to establish a local pioneer museum, has since taken over the Christiansen family’s General Store, which is now in the process of being restored as a museum.
The idea of also establishing a national museum has been discussed for a couple of years. The proposal to establish a national museum on the property adjacent to the old General Store was officially put forward at the Winnipeg Conference, as the Dickson Heritage Society was only willing to proceed with this national project if there was support for such a project among the Danes across Canada. The proposal was well received and passed unanimously. The Danish Heritage Society of Dickson is now able to proceed with the plans for a national museum, well knowing that they have the support of the Danish community in Canada.
Some of the delegates from Dickson, led by Sharon Thesberg, came in Danish national costumes. They had made a model of Dickson and story boards with photographs of Dickson. As well, they handed out a brochure as well as a promotional video. Present was also Gordon Christiansen, who had donated his General Store to the Dickson Heritage Society.
The Annual General Meeting of the Danish Federation was chaired by Poul B. Christensen of Vancouver. Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski were re-elected respectively president, secretary and treasurer. The Danish Federation President reported that the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism had awarded the Danish Federation a grant in the amount of $8,000 to hold the Conference on Communication. This financial support enabled the Danish Federation to carry out the Conference. As required by the Department, an Evaluation Report will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism after the Conference.
All delegates received a copy of the 180-page Heritage Book, edited by Chris and Birthe Christensen. Many of the articles and biographies dealt with the Danes in Winnipeg and area. A Conference highlight was certainly the river cruise in beautiful sunny weather down the Red River, not to mention the typical Danish smørrebrød served for lunch at the Scandinavian Centre.
The 2012 national Danish Canadian Conference was officially opened at a reception in the Novotel North York Hotel in Toronto on Thursday evening May 24th. The Conference Theme was Vikings in Canada 2012. The host of the Conference was the Danish Lutheran Church in Toronto. President of the Church Council, Sune Overgaard, as well as Co-Chair of the Organizing Committee, Liselotte Ostergaard, bid all the participants welcome. So too did David Zimmer, Member of the Provincial Parliament for Willowdale. Rolf Christensen, President of the Danish Federation, and Steve Morck, President of the National Museum, were also asked to say a few words of welcome. At the reception entertainment was provided by the talented Church Choir, followed by a sing-along with Knud Westergaard on the piano.
Friday morning the Danish Canadian National Museum held its Annual General Meeting. A comprehensive Annual Report had been prepared for the meeting, which was led by President Steve Morck. The luncheon speaker was James Jensen, curator at the Waterloo Region Museum, who spoke about his museum and the fact that they had deliberately avoided the word history in their name, despite the reality that their museum is about the region’s history.
In the afternoon four workshops were held, focussing on the future of the Danish Federation, the Danish government looking into allowing Dual Citizenship, as well as two workshops focussing on the Danish Canadian National Museum.
Dinner Friday evening was held in the Madsen Greenhouses in Newmarket. A bus took the participants to the Madsen Greenhouses, which are also used for weddings and other events. With all the flowers and lights the decorated greenhouses reminded the delegates of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Entertainment was provided by the Church Choir, the Danish Folk Dancers of Toronto and by ballet dancer Joy Kidston. A tombola, silent auction, gift shop, sponsorships and lotteries raised money for the National Museum.
The Danish Federation’s Annual General Meeting was held Saturday morning at the Novotel. It was chaired by Solvejg Nielsen, President of the Pacific Region. The Financial Statement showed a modest surplus. The Annual Report had been printed in the 2012 Heritage Book. Membership in the Danish Federation remained at 42 member organizations. President Rolf Christensen and Vice-President Ole Larsen were re-elected. Secretary Ella Wolder wanted to step down after serving in that position for eight years. Elected new Secretary was Aase Christensen of Guelph. Treasurer Bendix Andersen also wanted to step down. Elected new Treasurer was Sune Overgaard of Toronto. Reappointed Auditor was Erik Hogh. The President welcomed the new board members and thanked Ella and Bendix for their work and dedication. The President also thanked Svend Berg, the editor of the 2012 Heritage Book, for a beautiful book, and one of the largest to date. Following the Annual General Meeting a group photo of all the participants was taken.
Mrs. Lene Søndergaard Maclean was the key-note speaker at the Saturday Luncheon. In an inspiring speech she spoke about the Vikings and the Vikings coming to Canada, thus addressing the Conference theme.
Saturday evening a festive banquet was held in the Novotel’s Gibson Room. The tables were beautifully decorated and a band stand and dance floor had been set up. After dinner Magnus Martensson, a Swedish comic from New York entertained by telling jokes and playing the piano – reminiscent of Victor Borge. He was a big hit. This was followed by Lancier dancing by the Danish Folk Dancers. Later the participants could dance to the Par 3 Band.
Sunday started with a Church Service, conducted by Pastor Elisabeth Arendt, in the Danish Lutheran Church of Toronto on Finch Avenue. Afterwards delicious Danish open-face sandwiches were served – with Faxe Beer, donated through Ole Larsen of Montreal. After lunch Liselotte Ostergaard presented “Through the Ages” on stage – a celebration of Danes who came and contributed to Canada. It ended with the “Viking” youth of today singing for the 120 luncheon participants.
A big thank you to the Danish Lutheran Church of Toronto for a successful Conference, particularly to Sune Overgaard, Liselotte Ostergaard, Eva Terp and the rest of the busy organizing committee, as well as the many volunteers and sponsors. While serious business was conducted during the meetings, the breaks, meals, socializing and entertainment were truly enjoyable as well as memorable.
The presentation of the Fane and Mailbox to the Danish Social Club of Victoria concluded the Conference. Solvejg Nielsen, standing in for Bendix Andersen, President of the Danish Social Club of Victoria, accepted the Fane and Mailbox as well as a Viking Banner, made by the children in the Toronto congregation. The Banner will in future be passed on to the next conference host. The closing ceremony ran well over time, which clearly revealed the great fellowship among the Conference participants. There was much to talk about, before saying goodbye and “see you next year in Victoria!”
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
1993 Danish Canadian Conference in Kingston, Ontario
The 20th national Danish Canadian Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Danish Federation was held in Kitchener and at Sunset Villa from May 31 to June 3, 2001. The host was
Sunset Villa Association in Puslinch, Ontario.
Friday was devoted to the Danish Federation, with the Banquet Friday night. Saturday was National Museum Day, followed by a dinner, auction and presentation of next year's Conference. Sunday morning the Conference moved to Sunset Villa in Puslinch, where the delegates had lunch and participated in the annual Danish Constitution Day festivities in the afternoon.
The Conference Theme was The Danish Immigrants' Contribution to Canada. The 150-page annual Conference Book, with biographies, reports, histories and articles about the Danes in Canada is available from the Danish Federation.
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its second national Danish Canadian Conference at the Quality Inn in Montreal on May 28-29, 1983. The theme of the Conference was “The Role of the Danes in the Canadian Mosaic”. The aim of the Conference was to discuss Multiculturalism, the role of the Danes in Canada and Federation projects. Moreover, the Federation’s finances and fundraising were discussed.
The Conference was organized by the Federation’s Quebec Region, which consists of The Danish Canadian Society, Montreal Inc. (founded in 1934) and The Danish Club, Montreal (founded in 1922). The Conference Coordinators were Erling Nielsen and Svend Berg. Elected to chair the Conference was Poul B. Christensen, Vancouver.
Svend Berg and Erling Nielsen had also prepared a 114-page Conference Booklet, which contained greetings and messages from Multiculturalism Minister Jim Fleming, Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau, Danish Ambassador Vagn Korsbæk and Montreal Consul General Julius Bruun. As well, the Booklet contained a one-page write-up from each of the Federation’s member organizations, outlining its founding, history and activities. Copies of the Conference Booklet will now be distributed to various organizations, libraries, archives, government departments and the media.
At the Banquet Saturday night, Montreal Consul General Julius Bruun brought greetings, Victor Barmer read “Flugten til Amerika” in English and Danish, and Jan Eisenhardt spoke about “The Role of the Danes in Canada.” Entertainment was provided by the duo Maren and Charlotte, who also sung the Federation Song, written especially for the occasion by Inter Andersen, Kingston.
At the Conference it was decided to support the King Christian X Jubilee Foundation of 1937, which is administered by the Consulate General in Montreal. The Foundation awards travel grants to Danish Canadians who have not been back to Denmark for twenty years. The Federation will now assist the Foundation in finding suitable candidates. The Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association announced that it would donate the next airplane ticket.
It was also agreed to examine the possibility of arranging a short Folk School course at a Danish Folk School, especially designed for Danish Canadians and Canadians in general. The course would be in English and of about one week’s duration sometime during the summer. The purpose of the course would be to tell the participants from Canada about Denmark, Danish society, traditions etc. by means of lectures and excursions.
Regarding the Federation’s Board of Directors, re-elected were Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski, as respectively President, Secretary and Treasurer. The Regional Presidents and Directors are elected in the five Regions.
The Conference, attended by 32 delegates and observers, was an overwhelming success. Over 70 people attended the Banquet. All participants left the Conference enthused and inspired. Next year’s Conference will be held in Calgary.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
A successful Danish Canadian Conference, hosted by The Danish Club of Ottawa, was held at the Delta Hotel and Suites, 361 Queen Street, Ottawa, from May 22-25, 2008. Over 90 people had registered for the Conference. The theme was A Capital Event. The Conference had been organized by Lisbeth Hansen, Mylene Poulsen, Sue-Anne Nielsen, Peter Poulsen, Poul Hoffmann Nielsen, Andrea Stills and Rolf Christensen.
The Conference began with a Reception at the Royal Danish Embassy, where Ambassador Poul Erik Dam Kristensen bid everyone welcome to his residence. Words of welcome to the Conference were also given by the President of The Danish Club of Ottawa, Lisbeth Hansen, by Danish Federation President Rolf Christensen and President of the Danish Canadian National Museum, Svend E. Nielsen. Most of the participants were transported to the Embassy and back to the hotel by an elongated OCTranspo bus. It was an excellent way to start the Conference, setting the right atmosphere.
Friday was Museum Day. In the morning the Danish Canadian National Museum held its Annual General Meeting, chaired by Svend E. Nielsen. At the following Board of Directors meeting, Svend E. Nielsen stepped down as President, but was later elected Vice-President. Elected new Museum President was Steve Morck of Calgary. At lunch Dr. Rhonda Hinther, curator at the Canadian Museum of Civilization spoke about her projects at the Museum of Civilization and mentioned the Danish items in the Museum's large collection. In the afternoon Steve Morck gave an update about the activities at the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta. The presentation included several photos of the Thomsen log cabin and the Nielsen CPR House, both now located on the new Bethany property. Carl Sorensen spoke about the Viking Ship that is being built in Roskilde for the Museum in Dickson.
In the evening an auction was held. Members of The Danish Club of Ottawa as well as conference participants from across the country generously donated items for the auction. Over 130 items were donated. Johan Westra from Bytown Auctioneers looked after the auction with help from the Dickson Museum. The auction raised over $5,000.00. Thank you to all the auction supporters.
On Friday afternoon the Calligrammes Gallery at 21 Murray Street opened the exhibitions Viking Vestiges by Richard Studham, and Echoes of the Mind by Grethe Lauesen, Peter Hiort Petersen and Maya Hiort Petersen. All the Conference delegates had been invited to the opening of this "Danish" exhibition, which had been planned to coincide with the Conference. Later the Gallery said it wanted to extend the exhibition by a week.
Saturday morning the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its Annual General Meeting. Each Danish organization represented gave a report on its activities, which will be printed in next year's Heritage Book. The Board reported on the estate of the late Martha Larsen, which had been willed to the Danish Federation, and reported that a committee had been established to set guidelines for how the money should be invested, spent etc. Elected President, Vice-President and Secretary were respectively Rolf Christensen, Ole Larsen and Ella Wolder. Annie Kruus of Ottawa wanted to step down as Treasurer, and elected new Treasurer was Sue-Anne Nielsen of Ottawa. Erik Hogh was re-appointed as auditor for the Danish Federation.
Svend Berg of Montreal had again edited the 2008 Heritage Book, which is 260 pages in length. It contains many articles, reports and biographies, including a dozen biographies from Ottawa.
The Saturday luncheon speaker was reporter Joël-Denis Bellavance from La Presse, who spoke about being a journalist in Ottawa. He ended by speaking about his court case regarding a leaked document, where a Federal Court in Montreal has ruled he must reveal his sources. After lunch Ambassador Poul Erik Dam Kristensen gave a power point presentation about Denmark and Danish-Canadian relations. The Danish economy is doing very well, but labour shortages are already occurring, he said. This was followed by a presentation by David Flemming of Heritage Ottawa, who spoke about heritage preservation in an age of rapid development.
Over 90 people attended the Banquet Saturday evening at the Delta Hotel. The Ole Larsen Trio provided background music as well as dancing music. "Elvis Presley" got the Banquet hopping and entertained for nearly an hour. A great social occasion!
Sunday morning a group photo was taken in front of the Parliament Buildings. At lunch Lisbeth Hansen of The Danish Club of Ottawa handed over the flag (fane) and mailbox to Joanne Nielsen of the Red Deer Danish Canadian Club, who will host the 2009 Conference. Lastly Ole Larsen of Montreal presented a colour photo of Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik to The Danish Club of Ottawa, which was received by Lisbeth Hansen on behalf of the host Club. The Conference ended with a short guided bus tour of Ottawa - in beautiful sunshine.
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its 2005 Conference from May 26 to 29 at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. This was the first time that the Danish Federation has held an annual Conference in the United States. Conferences are usually held in Canada, but three have been held in Denmark. The host of the 2005 Conference was The Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, which had chosen the Conference theme The Danish American Immigrant Experience. Conference Coordinator was Dr. John Mark Nielsen, executive director of the Danish Immigrant Museum. Dana College and the Danish American Heritage Society co-sponsored the Conference.
The Conference officially opened Thursday evening, May 26, in the Forum in the Durham Center. Friday morning the Danish Canadian National Museum held its Annual General Meeting, chaired by Carl Sorensen, the President. The speaker at the Friday lunch was John Mark Nielsen, who gave a brief history of Danish immigration to Iowa and Nebraska. After lunch Steve Morck, using a big screen, gave a high tech presentation and update on the Museum in Dickson.
The Danish Federation held its Annual General Meeting, chaired by Solvejg Nielsen, Friday evening. Treasurer Esther Machacynski of Kingston had decided to step down after 24 years and elected new Treasurer was Annie Kruus of Ottawa. Re-elected as President, Vice-President and Secretary were respectively Rolf Christensen of Ottawa, Ole Larsen of Montreal as well as Ella Wolder of Vancouver. Moreover, Erik Hogh of Caledon, Ontario, was re-appointed auditor.
Saturday was spent in Iowa. At 8:30 the participants boarded a big modern coach, which then crossed the Missouri River into Iowa, stopping at the Danish Windmill on Main Street in Elk Horn. At 11 o'clock the group assembled in front of the Danish Immigrant Museum's Family History and Genealogy Center, where chairs had been set up to watch the parade, it being Tivoli Fest that day. Marching bands, majorettes, floats and vintage cars, along with vets and the National Guard, in addition to police, firemen and ambulances participated in the parade. Many of the floats were devoted to Hans Christian Andersen's 200th birthday.
In the afternoon there were two presentations at the impressive Danish Immigrant Museum. This was followed by a presentation at the Family History and Genealogy Center on Main Street. The Saturday night banquet was held at the historic Whitney Hotel in Atlantic, not far from Elk Horn. The Master of Ceremonies was Jim Iversen, the President of the Danish American Heritage Society. The guest speaker was Major Rick Burns, who showed pictures from his tour of duty in Iraq. The Danish Canadian National Museum then held its successful Buy-a-Brick draw. The last item of business was Jim Iversen handing over the Plaque with the Danish mailbox to Margaret Chester, who accepted it on behalf of next year's Conference hosts in Vancouver.
Sunday morning the participants attended a very contemporary Service at First Lutheran Church in Blair. The closing of the Conference took place at the Sunday Luncheon in the Campus Center. After some speeches and presentations the President of the Danish Federation thanked the organizers for a successful and memorable Conference in the Danish heartland of America.
Historic Nanaimo on beautiful Vancouver Island, on Canada's Pacific coast, served as the backdrop to the Danish Federation's 15th annual Conference, held from June 7-9, 1996. The host, Vancouver Island Danish Canadian Club, had chosen Our Youth as the Conference theme. The two-and-a-half day event took place at the renovated Dorchester Hotel, located right on the waterfront across from the historic Bastion, Nanaimo's landmark.
The national Conference brought together about 75 participants from across Canada. Gunnar Kristensen, President of the Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association, Kolding, Denmark, and Jens Witthøfft Nielsen, Secretary General of Dansk Samvirke, Copenhagen, Denmark, were also present.
The Conference started Friday afternoon, June 7th, with the annual general meeting of the Danish Canadian National Museum. Among other things it was decided to step up fundraising. Svend E. Nielsen of Innisfail stepped down as President, the National Museum's first, and elected new President of the Museum was Andy Kjearsgaard of Edmonton.
The Conference was officially opened in the evening by Niels Jorgensen, President of the Vancouver Island Danish Canadian Club. Three speakers then addressed the theme Our Youth. They were Karl Monk, Dennis Silvestrone and Elisabeth Kiaerbye. This was followed by a very successful Wine and Cheese Reception, where everyone had a chance to meet and chat.
Saturday morning was devoted to the Danish Federation's annual general meeting, chaired again by Poul B. Christensen of New Westminster, B.C. In addition to the normal business, the discussion centred around amendments to the Bylaws, reimbursement of airfares and support for Danish language courses. Re-elected President and Treasurer were respectively Rolf Buschardt Christensen and Esther Machacynski. Betty Kjearsgaard stepped down as Secretary and elected Secretary was Eva Terp of Toronto, who has been a delegate for many years and who is a founding member of the Danish Federation.
Following lunch, where DKU Pastor Lars Basboll of Edmonton was the Guest Speaker, two teachers addressed the topic Our Youth: Marianne Mikkelsen and Nanaimo School Vice-Principal Al Cormons.
About 175 people attended the Banquet at Bowen Park Saturday evening. A Danish flag (fane) donated to the Danish Canadian National Museum was inaugurated by having four VIPs hammer four nails into the fane. They were: Minister Counsellor Otto H. Larsen of the Royal Danish Embassy in Ottawa, Regional President Ole Larsen of Montreal, who had made the arrangements for getting the fane, Svend E. Nielsen, outgoing President of the Danish Canadian National Museum, as well as a RCMP officer in uniform. After a delightful and typically Danish dinner, Minister Counsellor Otto H. Larsen and Morten V. Pedersen of Calgary spoke to the many guests. There was awesome entertainment by Knud Peter Nielsen and his ensemble from Vancouver. The National Museum held its Buy-a-Brick Draw and then there was dancing to music by the versatile group A Step Above. It was the kind of dinner/dance all Danish organizations aspire to put on for their members.
Sunday began with a Danish Church Service at St. Paul's Anglican Church by DKU Pastor Kai Glud of Burnaby. The Service was followed by Brunch at the Dorchester Hotel, whereafter Yvonne Leicht spoke about Our Youth and Jens Witthøfft Nielsen addressed the topic of Danish language courses.
The last item of business was handing the Danish Federation's mail box and fane over to the New Denmark Historical Society, who will be hosting next year's Conference in New Denmark, New Brunswick. Ole Larsen of Montreal accepted the mail box and fane and will see to it that it reaches New Denmark.
In connection with the Conference, the Nanaimo Club had prepared a beautiful 280-page book, edited by Niels Jorgensen. It contained a wealth of biographies, histories, reports and articles. Many commented on the quality of the articles and the impressive layout of the book, complete with index etc. The Conference Book, made professionally on a computer by Niels Jorgensen, and printed near Montreal, is a treasure for anyone seeking information about the Danes and their activities in Canada.
The successful Conference concluded Sunday afternoon with a sea cruise of Nanaimo harbour and surrounding islands, which included the sighting of several bald eagles and sea lions. A Conference that will be remembered for a long time.
The Danish Federation’s Conference in Denmark was a wonderful opportunity to visit the Danish Emigration Archives and carry out research. The Conference delegates can now return home and inform other Danes where and how to conduct research or acquire information at Udvandrerarkivet and other archives in Denmark.
The 19th Danish Canadian Conference, hosted by the Danish Emigration Archives in Denmark, began Monday evening, June 26th, with a visit to Aalborg’s historic Town Hall on Gammel Torv, where Deputy Mayor Peter Reinau bid everyone welcome with a drink. He told the delegates in a very entertaining way about the historic Town Hall and then showed a couple of videos of Aalborg - geographically the town on the top of the European Continent.
Many of the 75 registered delegates stayed at Slotshotellet, located on the waterfront. Delegates included representatives from the Danish American Heritage Society in the U.S and from Denmark the Scandinavian Canadian American Friendship Association and the Danish Canadian Society.
The Conference itself began Tuesday, June 27th, which was devoted to the Conference theme: How to Trace your Danish Roots. At Medborgerhuset, across the street from Slotshotellet, Director Jens Topholm and Conference Coordinator Birgit Flemming Larsen, welcomed all the delegates to Aalborg and the Conference. A choir from the Aalborg Music School sang Danish summer songs - and ended with Happy Birthday for Elsie Dahl, who turned 86. Professor Harald Runblom of Uppsala University, Sweden, then spoke about Scandinavian emigration to North America. This was followed by a presentation about DANPA by Jens Topholm, who showed on a large screen what DANPA (Danmarks Nationale PrivatArkivdatabase) contains. DANPA is a data base on the Internet, which contains search capabilities for descriptive records representing about 150,000 private archives in Denmark. The web site address is: danpa.dda.dk
Birgit Flemming Larsen then gave a brief overview of the history of the Danish Emigration Archives and the role played by Max Henius in establishing Rebild and the Archives. She then gave a short summary of the collection at the archives. After lunch at Slotshotellet, Professor Erik Helmer Pedersen, Copenhagen University, spoke about emigration issues, and what needs to be done, collected, researched and published. This was followed by a visit to the Danish Emigration Archives, where the delegates could look at files and the library as well as surf the Internet.
In the evening, a bus picked up all the delegates at the hotel and took them to the ferry, where a 2½ minute ferry ride carried them to Restaurant Kronborg on the island of Egholm, where the menu was delicious Danish eel, washed down with snaps and beer. An entertaining dinner talk was given by Tommerup Pastor Svend Faarvang, formerly of Vancouver.
Wednesday began with a visit to the distillery Aalborg Akvavit. It was fascinating to hear the story of the development of distilling and of the industry - as well as the changes in legislation governing its production through the ages. The visit ended with a tour of the distillery and a stop at the distillery’s museum. Samples of Akvavit were also presented to the visitors.
The Danish Federation’s Annual General Meeting, chaired by Poul B. Christensen, was held in the afternoon. Member organizations reported on their activities during the past year. Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Ole Larsen, Eva Terp and Esther Machacynski were re-elected respectively president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. The Board was asked to find an auditor to replace Svend Pedersen who sadly had passed away.
An interesting and informative 240-page Conference Book, edited by Niels Jorgensen, had been printed - and distributed to the delegates prior to the Conference. It contains biographies, histories, reports and articles from across Canada - and is available for $ 11. It also includes an index of all previous Conference Books.
The Danish Emigration Archives, in collaboration with the Danish Society for Emigration History, had also published a book on the occasion of the Conference, entitled In Denmark Born - To Canada Sworn. It is a 183-page book with forty Danish-Canadian biographies and an article about Scandinavian migration to Canada by Professor Harald Runblom. It will later be available in Canada through the Danish Federation.
The Banquet Wednesday evening was held at Skydepavillonen at the base of the Aalborg Tower. Skydepavillonen, from which there is a beautiful view of Aalborg, is owned by Det Broderlige Skydeselskab Papegøjegildet af 20. maj 1431. The Conference Delegates were bid welcome by Egon Østergaard, president of the society, who told about their long and proud history. The dinner was delicious and the wine flowed freely, while the delegates sang.
Thursday began with a church service by Bishop Søren Lodberg Hvas at St. Budolfi Cathedral. He is also president of DKU, the Danish Church Abroad. Back at the Civic Centre (Medborgerhuset), Frank Engelbrecht of Sunset Villa told about the plans for next year’s conference in Kitchener and handed out tourist information. Inge Paquette then gave an update on the Danish Canadian National Museum and showed the Museum video. A couple of cheques were also presented to the National Museum.
The following lunch at Slotshotellet concluded the Conference. Birgit Flemming Larsen handed over the mailbox to Herb Jorgensen, and the Federation President thanked Birgit Flemming Larsen for organizing a memorable Conference in Denmark - and for publishing the book In Denmark Born - To Canada Sworn.
In the afternoon a guided tour in a modern double decker bus took the delegates to the Viking burial grounds at Lindholm Høje and Børglum Monastery, where there was a chance to visit the church. The bus passed by Rubjerg Knude with the sand-hidden light house and Lønstrup, a quaint seaside resort of artists and sunbathers. A stop at the Maarup Church on the coast, which many fear is in danger of falling into the sea soon, provided an opportunity to drink a Gammel Dansk and eat a piece of real Danish pastry - and to talk about the last three days which had passed all too quickly.
2006 Danish Federation celebrates 25th anniversary at Conference in Vancouver
Seventy-seven Danes from across Canada had signed up for the national Danish Canadian Conference in Victoria, which was held at the Ramada Inn from May 23-26, 2013. Host was the Danish Social Club of Victoria. The successful Conference was organized by Bendix Andersen and the theme was “What is our Heritage?” All delegates received a Conference Kit which included a copy of the 2013 Heritage Book. Despite the business meetings, many of the delegates described the Conference as fun!
The Conference started Thursday evening with a welcome by Bendix Andersen as well as from Elder Elmer George from the Songhees Band, an indigenous North American Coast Salish First Nation, who reside in the greater Victoria area.
Friday was Museum Day, dedicated to the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta. In the morning the Museum held its Annual General Meeting, chaired by the President Gordon Petersen. The luncheon speaker was William Reeve, retired curator at the Port Hardy Museum, who spoke about the former Danish colony at Cape Scott on Northern Vancouver Island. Present at the luncheon was also Ruth Botel of Port Hardy, who provided many of the photographs on display at the Conference, depicting Cape Scott. In the afternoon there was a trip to the Maritime Museum of B.C., courtesy of the Danish Canadian National Museum. In the evening the Museum presented the delegates with attention-grabbing museum updates and raised some money by holding a silent auction. Again the participants showed their support by being very generous.
Saturday morning the Danish Federation held its Annual General Meeting at the Ramada. It was chaired by Solvejg Nielsen, President of the Pacific Region. The Financial Statement, covering only nine months due to the change in fiscal year, showed a deficit.
The Bylaws Committee consisting of Larry Kjearsgaard, Eva Terp and Bendix Andersen suggested that the position of Vice-President remain as at present, but proposed that the Secretary in each Region be officially made part of the Board of Directors of the Danish Federation. The motion was carried unanimously.
So-called Club Reports were presented by the various member organizations. The report from the Victoria was given by Jørgen Kierkegaard, who had just been elected President of the Victoria Club. The Federation President then presented the Annual Report, which was printed in the 2013 Heritage Book. The President mentioned that membership in the Danish Federation officially remained at 42 member organizations, but would likely decrease in the coming year as one organization had reported that it had called a meeting to dissolve itself. Among many other things, he mentioned that in April, the Ontario Region had unveiled a plaque at Sunset Villa, commemorating the founding of the Danish Federation in June 1981. The President also thanked Svend Berg, the editor of the 2013 Heritage Book, for a beautiful book.
Concerning elections to the Board, Rolf Christensen, Aase Christensen and Sune Overgaard were re-elected as respectively President, Secretary and Treasurer. Ole Larsen decided to step down after serving as Vice-President for fourteen years. Elected new Vice-President was Gert M. Andersen of Guelph. Reappointed Auditor was Erik Hogh. The President welcomed Gert Andersen and thanked Ole Larsen for his support, work and dedication.
The luncheon speaker was Nils Jensen, the Mayor of Oak Bay, who was born in Denmark, and who has had a very successful career in Canada. Many of the participants commented on his eloquent delivery and keen sense of humour.
The afternoon was devoted to a presentation of how to do genealogical research on the Internet. Speakers included Pat Acton, the president of the Victoria Genealogical Society, Merv Scott, VGS projects director, and Cheryl Munkholm, a VGS member who had done research on Victoria Club webmaster Kai Hansen, who was used as an example of how to search for your roots in Denmark using Church Records and Census Returns available on the Internet. It turned out that Kai Hansen’s roots were very interesting.
In the evening the Banquet featured dinner and dancing as well as some presentations and draws. The music was provided by the CanUS Jazz Band.
Sunday morning began with a bus tour of beautiful Victoria with its lush gardens and parks. After the tour a group photo of all the participants was taken in the meeting room of the Ramada. This was followed by lunch where Bendix Andersen and Rolf Christensen thanked all the delegates for coming. In conclusion Guardsman Kurt Jensen and Bendix Andersen handed over the Fane and Mailbox to Vita Christensen of The Danish Club of Ottawa, host the Conference in 2014.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
Next year will be the beginning of a new decade, and with the aging of the present membership within the Danish community in Canada, Danish organizations must address the issue of where they are going to be in the 1990s and beyond.
What does the future hold for Danish Canadian organizations in Canada? That question constituted the theme of the 8th Danish Canadian Conference, held by the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada on May 26-28, 1989, at the Skyline Hotel in Ottawa. President Leif Janichen bid the delegates welcome and Doug Fee, MP for Red Deer brought greetings from Dickson (Esther and Sharon Thesberg) and Gerry Weiner, the Minister for Multiculturalism.
Most of the people, who are active in Danish organizations in Canada, are Danes who came to Canada as immigrants in the 1950s. That is nearly forty years ago. Consequently, many of the leaders within the Danish community in Canada are now becoming senior citizens. Younger members and leaders will eventually replace the older active Danes, or that is at least the hope expressed by the present membership. Otherwise the various Danish organizations will not remain viable and survive. It is essential that the younger generations become involved and carry on the work, or the current Danish associations will only have a limited future and existence.
With the Canadian government’s present immigration policy, it is unlikely that Danish organizations in Canada will grow through immigration from Denmark. During the last several years, only about 100 Danes have immigrated to Canada, according to Statistics Canada.
In the future, Danish organizations in Canada are going to have to rely more on second, third and fourth generation Danes. Danish organizations will have to focus more of their attention and their activities on Canadian-born Danes, than on immigrants.
Gradually, Danish organizations will change from being primarily Danish immigrant organizations, to being Danish-Canadian associations with few or no services for new-comers. This change will also mean that Danish will be spoken less and increasingly the language of communication will be English. This change will only continue to take place, however, if Danish organizations succeed in attracting the second, third and fourth generation.
Contributing to the discussion were presentations by Navin Perekh (originally from India), Elvira Sanchez de Malicki (originally from Ecuador) and Russell Barton from the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism. Russell Barton gave a rousing speech saying, “There is a tendency to say that the youth are the future. But really, you are the future. You have the power, and you are the future of your community. You are firmly in control of the Danish community in Canada. Its fate is in your hands. You will decide where the Danish community in Canada goes, and what happens in the future.” Other contributions were made by Hugh Larsen, former president of The Danish Club of Ottawa, as well as Dr. Ed Ziegler (Ottawa) and Dr. Hans Møller (Montreal).
In connection with the Conference, the Danish Federation, consisting of 28 member organizations from across Canada, had put together and published a 175-page book, which contains biographies, histories, articles and reports pertaining to the Danes in Canada. One of the reasons for publishing this book is to document the history of the Danes in Canada, and to inform others about the activities and the contributions of the Danes to Canada.
The Annual General Meeting was chaired by Poul B. Christensen. The president, secretary and treasurer were re-elected. Svend Pedersen was re-appointed auditor. Secretary Martha Larsen reported on the Danish Federation’s first Heritage Seminar, to be held at Geneva Park near Orillia in August 1989.
A record 85 delegates from across Canada participated in the Conference on “Our Future”. The delegates were also given a progress report on the plans for a Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta, the oldest Danish settlement on the Canadian Prairies. As one delegate said, if we don’t preserve our past, then we will not have a future!
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its 10th annual conference in Copenhagen in the period 23-26 June 1991. The conference host was Dansk Samvirke. It was the second time that the Danish Federation held its Conference in Denmark. The first time was in Kolding in 1987.
The conference began at noon on Sunday, June 23, in the hall of the Trinitatis Church, which is known for its tower, the Round Tower (Rundetårn), built by King Christian IV. There is a splendid view of Copenhagen from the top of the Round Tower, which is located in the old part of the city.
The three-day conference began by Peter Heering Jr., president of Dansk Samvirke, opening the conference, which was followed by the Danish Federation’s Annual General Meeting. In addition to the usual items of business the Danish Federation gave a report on the immigration of Danish pastors to Canada. Some members had comments to the Danish Federation’s Report on the Future of Canada, which had been sent to the Canadian government’s Spicer Commission. The President also gave an update on the plans for the Heritage Seminar to be held in Banff in 1992. Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski were re-elected respectively president, secretary and treasurer. After the Annual General Meeting, Pastor Jørgen I. Henriksen, formerly of Edmonton, held a Church Service in Trinitatis Church.
In the evening the Conference participants were driven by bus to Frederikssund to see the Viking play Amled (Hamlet in English). About one-hundred actors took part in the outdoor play. Afterwards a giant bonfire was lit on the beach and the participants sang Danish songs while they watched the “witch” burn on the fire, as is the tradition at Sankt Hans (Saint John) – which also commemorates the summer solstice. After the bonfire, food and mead were served in Valhalla, where there was further entertainment. It was light until nearly 11:30 p.m.
Monday morning four young people explained what it means to have a Danish identity – two of them were from Canada. This was followed by a lecture by Prof. Ole Feldbæk, who spoke about Danish identity from a historical perspective. It was an interesting lecture, based on his recent book “Dansk Identitetshistorie”.
The lunch, arranged by the Danish Canadian Society, was held in Boels Gaard in Nyhavn. After lunch Andy Kjearsgaard and Jørgen Dieckmann Rasmussen spoke about the plans for the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, as well as the plans for Queen Margrethe’s visit to Dickson in October.
It was then university lecturer Jørgen Wurtz Sørensen’s turn to speak about Danish identity, where he also tried to explain why the Danes are so interested in identity at present. The day ended with a reception at the Canadian Embassy on Dag Hammarskjölds Allé.
The Banquet, hosted by the Fiddlehead Club, was held in Peter Lieps Hus in the Deer Park north of Copenhagen. After dinner Jens Witthøfft Nielsen, Dansk Samvirke, presented the Danish Federation Fane and mailbox to Andy Kjearsgaard. These items are always stored and kept by the organization hosting the upcoming conference.
Wednesday morning the delegates were welcomed to the Copenhagen City Hall by Mayor Lars Engberg. Then the Minister of Communications and Ecclesiastical Affairs, Torben Rechendorff, unveiled the book Danish Emigration to Canada, published by the Danish Emigration Archives in Aalborg. After the launch of the book a reception was held in the Copenhagen City Hall, where the famous Copenhagen City Hall pancakes were served. This concluded a busy, impressive and informative Conference in Wonderful Copenhagen!
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
1987 Danish Canadian Conference in Kolding, Denmark
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada’s 33rd annual Conference was held at The Westin Hotel in Ottawa from May 22 – 25, 2014. The Conference theme was Getting Involved and the event was organized and hosted by The Danish Club of Ottawa.
The Conference started Thursday evening with a Meet and Greet Reception at the residence of Danish Ambassador Niels Boel Abrahamsen. The delegates were bussed from The Westin to the residence in Rockcliffe Park. Ambassador Abrahamsen bid welcome as did the president of The Danish Club of Ottawa, Vita Christensen. The president of the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada, Rolf Christensen, said a few words, followed by Gordon Petersen, president of the Danish Canadian National Museum, who presented Ambassador Abrahamsen with a painting of the Dagmar Church at the Museum. As had been done in 1989, a group photo was taken of the delegates near the flagpole in the upper garden. The wine for the reception had been donated by Mary and Jes Petersen, the beer by Ole Larsen, and the cheese by Arla Foods.
Friday was Museum Day, where the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta, held its Annual General Meeting. Prior to the AGM, the Museum’s board of directors met for a breakfast meeting, an opportunity for outside-Alberta directors to participate in a board meeting. At the AGM it was announced that the Museum would have to change its bylaws as required by the new federal legislation. As well, the Ontario Region presented a cheque to the Museum to pay off the Bethany Church property. The cheque was presented by Annelise Pedersen, who had received a very generous donation from Asger Pedersen. At lunch, Joe Bissett spoke about issues facing Canada’s immigration policy.
After lunch Michele McNabb from the Museum of Danish America spoke about her museum in Elk Horn, Iowa. The Friday afternoon also included a workshop on the Mission and Vision of the Danish Federation, conducted by Gordon Petersen and Steve Morck.
In the evening the Museum in Dickson presented Step into the Saga, primarily updates on what had happened at the museum since the last AGM. The evening included some very successful fundraising, including a live auction, silent auction, raffle and the Donate-a-Brick program. The items for the auctions and raffle had been donated by The Danish Club of Ottawa, delegates, board members and the Museum. The evening’s program also included a short skit.
Saturday morning the Board of Directors of the Danish Federation held a short board meeting. This was followed by the Danish Federation’s Annual General Meeting, chaired by Solvejg Nielsen. The various member organizations then gave short reports on their activities over the past year. As required by the new federal Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, the member organizations unanimously approved a new set of Bylaws. The chair thanked the Bylaws Committee, consisting of Larry Kjearsgaard, Eva Terp, Gert M. Andersen and Rolf Christensen, for a job well done. The Board was re-elected with Rolf Christensen as president, Gert M. Andersen as vice-president, Aase Christensen as secretary and Sune Overgaard as treasurer. The financial statements were approved. Stepping down, after fourteen years as auditor, was Erik Hogh. Appointed as the new auditor was Soren Sondergaard. At lunch Jim Creskey, editor of The Hill Times, spoke about the challenges of reporting on Federal politics.
The theme of the Conference, Getting Involved, was addressed by Ottawa City Councillor Tim Tierney, who spoke about Getting Involved Locally, as well as by Barbara McInnes, former CEO of the Community Foundation, who spoke about Achieving Success by Getting Involved. In the evening the delegates enjoyed a wonderful and well-deserved three-course dinner and dance, with the band Fitzroy providing the music.
Sunday morning the delegates were treated to a cruise on the Rideau Canal, from the Convention Centre to Dow’s Lake and back. It was also Race Weekend in Ottawa, so the delegates had to dodge the marathon runners when crossing Colonel By Drive. A coach then transported the delegates to St. John’s Lutheran Church Hall for a traditional Danish lunch with beer and snaps. Musical entertainment was provided by four very talented children of the Ottawa Club, Ethan and Halden Kanstrup and Dana and Lee Jessen. In concluding the Conference, Ottawa Club president Vita Christensen duly handed over the Mail Box and Fane to Solvejg Nielsen, as Vancouver will host the 2015 Danish Canadian Conference.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
1998 Danish Canadian Conference in Winnipeg
2007 Danish Canadian Conference in Edmonton
2012 Danish Canadian Conference in Toronto
How do we get young people involved? That was the question and theme when the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held it 5th national Danish Canadian Conference at Hotel Valhalla Inn in Toronto in the period May 30 – June 1, 1986.
Dr. Lillian Ma, former president of the Chinese Canadian National Council, began the proceedings by talking about experiences from her youth. This was followed by presentations by four young people: Ena Holtermann, Bettina Bourgeois, Lene Sondergaard and Tamara Suganisiri.
The Youth Session Saturday morning was led by Pastor Emilie Esbjørn of the Danish Lutheran Church in Toronto. There were many questions and comments. Everyone was impressed by the presentations by the four young people.
To find out why young people are involved in Danish clubs, an essay contest for young Danes was held. The lucky winner of the contest was Bettina Bourgeois, Montreal, who just in April had been elected to the board of the Danish Canadian Society, Montreal.
The submitted essays were published in the 150-page Heritage Book, edited by Eva Terp, which contains articles, photographs, histories, annual reports, greetings and other items. The Heritage Books sells for ten dollars. It is very popular. Last year’s New Denmark Book was already sold out before Christmas.
Over 60 delegates from across Canada participated in the Toronto Conference. Participants from Denmark included Gunnar Kristensen, president of the Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association; Arne Dyhrberg, Dansk Samvirke; as well as actress Anne Jensen, who has toured New Denmark, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver to speak about Hans Christian Andersen and read some of his fairytales.
The Conference began with registration Friday evening, which Karen Olsen, treasurer at the Danish Church, took care of. Erik Thomsen, president of the Ontario Region, bid welcome and then gave the floor to Ole Jensen, president of the Church Council in Toronto; Bent Hansen, president of Sunset Villa; and Jorgen Birk Andersen, who recently had stepped down as president of the Royal Danish Guards’ Association, Eastern Canada.
Elected to chair the Annual General Meeting was Poul B. Christensen, president of the Church Council in Vancouver. After the annual and financial reports there was a report on the King Christian X Jubilee Foundation of 1937, as well as a report on the Heritage Seminar for Canadians at the International College in Helsingør. Esther Thesberg of Innisfail then spoke about the plans for the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson. Gunnar Kristensen then informed the delegates about the plans for next year’s conference in Kolding, Denmark, which will partly be held at Koldinghus Castle.
Before the Saturday lunch a group photograph was taken in the garden at Valhalla Inn. The luncheon speaker was the Hon. Lily Munro, Ontario Minister for Citizenship and Culture, who spoke about the Ministry’s many activities across the province.
Saturday afternoon each member organization gave a report on their historian and his or her activities. At last year’s conference in New Denmark it had been decided that all members of the Danish Federation should appoint a historian, as there is a pressing need for the Danes in Canada to make sure that archival material is preserved for posterity. Similarly it is necessary to start thinking about writing a history of the Danes in Canada.
Again this year fundraising was on the agenda. Margeret Dvorsky, president of the Slovak Canadian National Council, gave a solid presentation on fundraising, and provided much good advice. Erik Thomsen then gave a report on fundraising and mentioned that the Danish Federation had received financial support from the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, and would likely also received some money from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture.
Late in the afternoon elections were held. Re-elected were Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski as respectively president, secretary and treasurer. Svend Pedersen of Ottawa was re-appointed auditor. A couple of motions regarding the Danish Federation’s Bylaws were also dealt with.
The annual Banquet was held Saturday evening. The Key Note Speaker was Consul General Erling Harild Nielsen, Toronto, who also made Donn Larsen Ridder af Dannebrog, presenting him with Ridderkorset. Donn Larsen, Danish Consul in Edmonton, is Honorary Director of the Danish Federation, and has done much for the Danes in Alberta over the years.
Before the music and dancing started, membership certificates for the three new members of the Danish Federation were presented to the Danish Heritage Society of Dickson, Scandinavian Forum and Dansk Samvirke. The airline ticket donated by SAS was drawn by Mr. K.A. Arvidsson. The proceeds from the lottery tickets went to the Danish Federation. The airline ticket to Copenhagen was won by Anne Andersen of Kilbride.
At 8:30 Sunday morning the busses left for the Danish Lutheran Church on Finch Avenue, where breakfast was served. There was then further information on next year’s conference in Kolding, Denmark, which will be held in connection with Canada Day.
The Church Service by Pastor Emilie Esbjørn was at 10:30. Following the Service the busses took the delegates to Sunset Villa, about 85 km west of Toronto. A typical Danish lunch was served on the Sunset Villa terrace. At the lunch Ole Larsen, Montreal, presented the Royal Danish Guards’ Association, Eastern Canada, with a large photograph of King Christian X on horseback. Gunnar Kristensen of Kolding also presented gifts to the Church and Sunset Villa.
Many Danes attended Danish Constitution Day at Sunset Villa, with entertainment on the big lawn in front of the stage. The Guest Speaker was Mr. William Kempling, M.P. for Burlington, who brought greetings from the Hon. Otto Jelinek, Minister of State for Multiculturalism. The Constitution Day celebration concluded the Danish Canadian Conference. The participants left the Conference enthused and inspired.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
2016 Danish Canadian Conference in Montreal, Quebec
2003 Conference in Thunder Bay and Pass Lake
The 35th Danish Canadian Conference was held in Montreal from May 26 to 29, 2016. The host was the Danish Club of Montreal, which had chosen the theme Renewal and Sustainability. The Conference started with a Reception in Old Montreal, where Kren Clausen, the president of the Danish Club of Montreal, and Ka’nahsohon Deer, Faith-keeper and Native Elder bid welcome, followed by Danish Ambassador Niels Boel Abrahamsen, who officially opened the Conference.
Friday was Museum Day, devoted to the Danish Canadian Museum in Dickson, Alberta. The evening the program ‘Step into the Saga’ consisted of a PowerPoint presentation about the Museum; as well silent and live auctions.
Saturday morning the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its Annual General Meeting. Luncheon speaker was Danish architect Poul Ove Jensen who spoke about his firm’s new Champlain Bridge over the St. Lawrence River. This was followed by a presentation about Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles and a Panel Discussion about Renewing and Sustaining Danish Clubs in Canada. The day concluded with a festive banquet in the Vieux Port Steakhouse.
Sunday morning a bus took the delegates to St. Ansgar Lutheran Church, where a traditional Danish lunch was served after the Service. At the lunch the Montreal Club handed the Fane and mailbox to the Danish Canadian Museum, who will host the 2017 Conference. The conference ended with a bus tour of Montreal. Thank you to all the conference organizers and volunteers!
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
Danish Canadian Conference, hosted by the Red Deer Danish Canadian Club, was held at the Black Knight Inn in Red Deer, Central Alberta, from May 21-24, 2009. In total, 72 people registered for the Conference, the theme being “Laughter has no accent.” The Conference was organized by Larry Kjearsgaard (chair), Jutta Husted, Joanne Nielsen and Svend Larsen.
The Conference began with a Reception where Dorothy Stone, President of the Red Deer Danish Canadian Club bid welcome, as did the mayor of Red Deer, Morris Flewwelling, who is well known to the National Museum, the Danish Federation and the Dickson Store Museum.
Friday was Museum Day. In the morning, all the delegates were driven to Dickson in a big bus. The Danish Canadian National Museum’s Annual General Meeting was held in the Dormitory – a first! Lunch was served at Bethany Lutheran Church, and included lunchtime entertainment. In the afternoon everyone had the opportunity to see the new Royal Danish Guards exhibition upstairs in the Dormitory, and to walk around the lake to see the Thomsen log cabin and the Nielsen CPR House. In the evening, back at the Black Knight Inn, Peder Bang from Jutland, acted as auctioneer. The auction, with proceeds going to the National Museum, raised over $5,000. Thank you to all the auction supporters.
Saturday morning the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its Annual General Meeting, which was chaired by Solvejg Nielsen of North Delta. Each Danish organization represented gave a report on its activities, which will be presented in next year’s Heritage Book. The Financial Statements showed a surplus. Elected President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer were respectively Rolf Christensen, Ole Larsen, Ella Wolder and Sue-Anne Nielsen. Erik Hogh was reappointed auditor. Svend Berg had again edited the 2009 Heritage Book, which is over 200 pages in length. It contains many timely articles, up-to-date reports and very moving and interesting biographies.
The Saturday luncheon speaker was Ken Valgardson, a very talented stand-up comedian who kept the audience in stitches. Lunch was followed by a workshop by Pat and Chris from the Red Deer Laughter Club.
About 145 people attended the Banquet Saturday Night. The Banquet also celebrated the Red Deer Club’s 50th Anniversary. The Federation presented a Certificate to the Red Deer Club. There were several speeches and presentations and the draw for the Buy-a-Brick lottery. The talented Danny Hooper, who got everyone laughing and dancing, provided the evening’s entertainment. Truly a fun-filled and memorable dinner dance.
Sunday the bus took the participants to Markerville to see the Markerville Creamery, now a historic site. The Creamery was started by Christian Marker and owned by Dan Morkeberg – and later his son. Lunch was then served in Fensala Hall, consisting of soup, main course and dessert, with snaps and FAXE beer (courtesy of Ole Larsen). Dorothy Stone then handed over the fane (flag) and mailbox and plaque to the Winnipeg Club, who will host the 2010 Conference. This ceremony concluded a very successful Conference. The atmosphere on the bus back to Red Deer was great! Truly a Conference with laughter – and no accent!
Other highlights of the conference were the commemoration of the 1619 Jens Munk Expedition in search of the Northwest Passage and the flag ceremony at Winnipeg City Hall to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Dannebrog. The delegates were given time to visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights or doing a Self-guided Walking Tour of the Winnipeg Exchange District and the 1919 General Strike.
The conference concluded at the Scandinavian Centre with a delicious lunch of smørrebrød, beer and snaps complimented by entertainment by the Nordic Folk Dancers and the Nordic Folk Band “Sill-I-Tones”. The Danish Federation flag and mailbox were handed over to the Vancouver Island Danish Canadian Club, host of the 2020 Danish Canadian Conference.
More on the, Arctic: Past, Present and Future, theme can be found in the 2019 Heritage Book.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
1994 Danish Canadian Conference in Edmonton
2013 Danish Canadian Conference in Victoria
The Danish Federation`s 13th national conference at The Mayfield Inn in Edmonton brought together representatives from across Canada as well as representatives from Denmark and the United States.
The three-day event began Friday afternoon, May 27th with the second Annual General Meeting of the Danish Canadian National Museum, which was chaired by National Museum President, Svend E. Nielsen.
The official opening of the Danish Federation`s Conference took place at 7 p.m., followed by the Federation`s Annual General Meeting, chaired by Poul B. Christensen. At the business meeting, Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Betty Kjearsgaard and Esther Machacynski were re-elected as respectively president, secretary and treasurer of the Danish Federation. Svend Pedersen of Ottawa was again appointed auditor.
Over 60 people had registered for the conference, including Denmark´s ambassador, H.E. Jørgen M. Behnke and wife, Henning Bender, the director of the Danes Worldwide Archives in Aalborg and Edmonton`s Danish Consul, Dr. Donn Larsen, who is Honorary Director of the Danish Federation. The evening ended with a Wine and Cheese Reception, where everyone had a change to eat, drink and chat.
The hosts of the conference were The Danish Canadian Society Dania and the Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church. The theme of the conference was Our Future: Adapting to Change. Lili and Svend B. Nielsen, who organized the conference, had edited the impressive 366-page Conference Book, the largest to date, which contained biographies, reports, histories and articles about the Danes in Canada.
The first session Saturday morning dealt with immigration, particularly nannies and pastors. Some time was spent discussing OHIP coverage for foreign clergy on short-term visas in Ontario. The second session looked at how to get young people involved. In the third session the Danish Senior Citizen Homes in Canada reported on their current situation and future plans. There are three Danish Senior Citizen Homes in Canada: Sunset Villa in Puslinch, Ontario; Ansgar Villa in Edmonton, Alberta; and Dania in Burnaby, British Columbia. There are also plans to build Senior Citizen Homes in Toronto and Calgary. Dania in Burnaby inaugurated a new complex in 1993, The Carl Mortensen Manor, but has plans to expand again. The fourth session dealt with History Projects. Martha Larsen showed a 10 minute video about Sunset Mindepark. Other member organizations were encouraged to make similar projects.
The luncheon speaker was Professor Chris Hale, who spoke about the Scandinavian Program at the University of Alberta. After lunch Henning Bender, the director of the Danes Worldwide Archives in Aalborg, gave an interesting presentation about high tech at the archives in Aalborg. The sessions then continued, ending with a presentation about next year`s conference in Montreal.
In the evening there was a grand banquet, with a speech by Ambassador Jorgen Behnke, the draw in the National Museum`s Buy a Brick lottery and first class entertainment by Richard and Deborah Popovich. Sunday morning started with a short National Museum meeting on collection policy. The Museum had also taped some interviews on video. This was followed by a Church Service at Ansgar Lutheran Church by Pastors Jens and Liselotte Basboll. Outside the Church a group photo was taken.
The conference concluded with a buffet lunch at Ansgar Villa, the beautiful senior citizen complex in Edmonton, which Holger Madsen and Lars Basboll had spoken of the day before. That concluded a very successful Conference. Many of the delegates then said goodbye - or rather au revoir - paa gensyn - in Montreal next year. Some of the participants then went on a guided tour of Edmonton in the afternoon, where Svend B. Nielsen was the guide.
1995 - Danish Flag presented to the Federation at the Danish Canadian Conference in Montreal
2018 Danish Canadian Conference in Halifax
1991 Danish Canadian Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark
A very successful Danish Canadian Conference was held in Edmonton from May 24-27, 2007. Over 75 people from across Canada registered for the Conference, which was hosted by the Danish Canadian Society Dania and Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church, both of Edmonton. The theme of the Conference was Honouring our Traditions: Past, Present and Future. The theme was addressed in a workshop on Saturday afternoon, along with three other issues: Activating dormant organizations; Support for Multiculturalism; and Possible future project for the Danish Federation.
The Conference was organized by a committee headed by Svend B. Nielsen, who had done a great job in putting on a superb Conference. There was a very good turnout at the three lunches as well as the Saturday night banquet.
The Conference was opened Thursday night at the Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel, just off Jasper Avenue, in downtown Edmonton. Svend B. Nielsen bid everyone welcome. Greetings and words of welcome were then extended by the presidents of Dania, Ansgar Church and the Danish Federation, respectively Bent Skousbol, Hanne Roemer and Rolf Christensen. Afterwards everyone had a chance to mingle and talk.
Friday was devoted to the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson. The Museum's Annual General Meeting began in the morning and continued in the afternoon. The luncheon speaker was the Mayor of Red Deer, Morris Flewwelling, who had been involved in the establishment of both the Dickson Store Museum and the National Museum, when he headed the Red Deer Museum and Archives. After the Annual General Meeting, Museum Vice-President Steve Morck gave a Museum presentation. The delegates were then free for the rest of the afternoon, while the Museum's Board of Directors held a Board Meeting, where Svend E. Nielsen of Innisfail was re-elected President of the National Museum. In the evening Peder Bang from Jutland was back to take care of the big auction, which brought in over $4,000, thanks to the generous bidders.
Saturday, the Danish Federation held its Annual General Meeting, which was chaired by Solvejg Nielsen of North Delta, B.C. Membership in the Danish Federation had dropped by one to 40 member organizations. The Financial Statement showed a healthy surplus. The President mentioned the issue of Aalborg Akvavit in his Annual Report. Invitations to host the Danish Canadian Conference in 2009 and 2010 were received from respectively the Danish Clubs in Red Deer and Winnipeg. Elected President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer were respectively Rolf Christensen, Ole Larsen, Ella Wolder and Annie Kruus. Appointed auditor for the coming year was Erik Hogh.
The 280-page 2007 Heritage Book had been compiled and edited by Svend Berg of Montreal. It contains a wealth of articles, biographies, reports and histories, many of them relating to the Danes in Alberta. The Saturday luncheon speaker was now-retired Senator Thelma Chalifoux, who spoke about her work, voluntarism, citizenship and her family. Her father was Métis and her mother was Danish. The lunch was followed by the workshops.
About 130 people attended the Banquet Saturday night. The Drayton-Turner Valley Room in the hotel had been turned into a nightclub with great food and a live band. There were speeches and door prizes, the Buy-a-Brick draw and a great atmosphere. People mingled, ate, drank and danced.
Sunday morning two buses took the delegates to Ansgar Lutheran Church. The Service by Pastor Rikke Aagaard Nielsen was in Danish. A group photo was taken outside the Church. Then everyone boarded the buses for the Dutch-Scandinavian Centre, where a typical Danish lunch was served, with open-face sandwiches, Faxe beer and Aalborg Akvavit. At the lunch Bent Skousbol, President of Dania, handed the Danish flag (fane) and Danish mailbox to Vita Christensen, Danish Club of Ottawa, as Ottawa will be hosting the 2008 Danish Canadian Conference. This little ceremony officially concluded the 2007 Conference.
After lunch there was a bus tour to Elk Island National Park, east of Edmonton. The bus tour ended yet another memorable Conference. See you next year in Ottawa!
2015 Danish Canadian Conference at the Inn of the Quay
2002 Conference in Red Deer
Grand Opening of Danish Canadian National Museum
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada held its 12th Danish Canadian Conference in Kingston, Ontario, in the period May 28-30, 1993. The host organization was The Danish-Canadian Club of Kingston and the Conference theme was Focus on Women, superbly organized by President Alan Henriksen, Treasurer Esther Machacynski, Registrar Carla Perris and others. Well over 80 people from across Canada participated in the successful Conference, which was opened at Days Inn Friday evening by the Kingston Town Crier. Well over 100 people attended some of the events. Participating from Denmark were Pastor Emilie Esbjørn as well as Jørgen Dieckmann Rasmussen, editor of SCA’s Scan-Can-News. Among the speakers were Judge Inger Hansen; Sheila Henriksen, who is Special Advisor to the Commissioner of Corrections; and Jytte Bishop, who works for a Battered Women’s Shelter in St. Catharines, who all addressed the Conference theme of Focus on Women. Prof. Christopher Hale of Edmonton spoke about his encyclopedia project where he is writing the entry on the Danes in Canada. Professor Finn Stendal Pedersen spoke about the emigration of young Danish farmers at the turn of the century. He was also looking for correspondence and old letters which could be donated to the archives. Mrs. Gerda Nørgaard spoke about her early life in Pass Lake, a Danish settlement near Thunder Bay. Saturday evening there was a reception and dinner, followed by dancing to “Major Drum and the Ragtime Kid” at the historic Old Fort Henry and on Sunday there was a Thousand Islands cruise along the St. Lawrence River.
At the business meeting Saturday morning, chaired by Poul B. Christensen of Vancouver, it was decided to increase the number of Federation Regions across Canada from five to six. All member organizations present also gave a report on their activities. The Danish Federation, a national umbrella organization, consists of 39 member organizations. Elected president, secretary and treasurer of the Danish Federation were respectively Rolf Buschardt Christensen of Ottawa, Betty Kjearsgaard of Edmonton and Esther Machacynski of Kingston. Svend B. Nielsen of DANIA, spoke about the 1994 Conference in Edmonton. The year and place of other Danish Canadian Conferences was also decided.
With its 216 pages, the 1993 Kingston Conference Book is the largest to date. It contains numerous articles, histories and biographies relating to the Danes in Canada. There is an article about Charles C. Meyer, the editor of the Danish-language newspaper Danebrog, which was launched in Ottawa in March 1893 – one hundred years ago. Another centennial article deals with the Danish butchers of London, Ontario, who also arrived in 1893. There are two articles about the 120th anniversary of New Denmark, which was celebrated in 1992. The Kingston Club was also able to get a considerable number of ads for the Book.
In conjunction with the Conference the Danish Canadian National Museum held its first annual general meeting. A number of important decisions were made regarding name, bylaws, publicity, fundraising etc. At the same time the National Museum launched its Buy a Brick project in order to raise money for the proposed national museum, to be located in Dickson, Alberta. The plan is to buy the former Dormitory property in Dickson, about 800 meters down the road from the Dickson Store Museum, which was opened by the Queen of Denmark in 1991. President of the National Museum is Svend E. Nielsen of Innisfail, Alberta.
Following the Conference in Kingston, the Danish Federation held a one-week Danish Heritage Seminar at the Crieff Conference Centre, a neighbour to Sunset Villa. Headmaster was Pastor Emilie Esbjørn. It was one of the best Seminars to date. It ended on Sunday, June 6th, at the Danish Constitution Day at Sunset Villa, where the Keynote Speaker was Pastor Emilie Esbjørn of Langebæk – and formerly of Toronto.
1982 Danish Canadian Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia
The Danes in Canada have officially founded a society to establish a National Museum. The founding meeting of the Danish Canadian National Museum was held at the Country Lodge in Innisfail, Alberta, on Saturday, June 27, 1992, in connection with the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada’s National Conference.
The aim of the Danish Canadian National Museum is to build a museum in Dickson, Alberta, the oldest Danish settlement on the Canadian Prairies. The supporters realize it is an enormous project which will take time, work and money. But they firmly believe the project is viable and will succeed. A feasibility study has already been carried out and the Society is now looking at the first phase of development.
Until February 1992, all activities relating to the proposed National Museum were carried out by the National Museum Steering Committee, a sub-committee of The Danish Heritage Society of Dickson. The Steering Committee’s mandate ended with the adoption of the feasibility study.
The planned National Museum will display and interpret the Danish experience in Canada. But the long term goal is also to provide a library and archives for researchers. In addition to the National Museum, the Society is planning a Coffee House, surrounded by three gardens: a typical Danish Garden, a Pioneer Garden and a Children’s Garden of Imagination.
Elected president of the Danish Canadian National Museum was Svend E. Nielsen, a dairy farmer from the Dickson area. Elected vice-president, secretary and treasurer were respectively Andy Kjearsgaard, Juanita Nissen and Harry Jensen. The board of directors will also consist of representatives from across Canada to ensure that it truly becomes a National Museum.
The Danish Federation’s annual Conference was held in Innisfail, Alberta from June 26-28, 1992, the host organization being the Danish Heritage Society of Dickson, whose president is Erling Hansen. Most meetings were held in the Country Lodge, while the Western Barbeque Saturday night was held at the Spruce View Community Centre – with live Western entertainment. At the Danish Federation’s Annual General Meeting Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski were re-elected to the positions of president, secretary and treasurer. Again Gunnar Kristensen, president of Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association of Kolding, Denmark, attended the Conference. The Federation, which is a national gathering of Danish clubs in Canada, now consists of 35 member organizations.
Rolf Buschardt Christensen
1990 Danish Canadian Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia
2005 Conference in Blair, Nebraska and Elk Horn, Iowa,
At a national conference in Vancouver, Canada, the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada celebrated its 25th anniversary. It was a celebration, which will be remembered for a long time. Seven of the thirteen founding members of the Danish Federation were present, and each received a certificate of acknowledgement and appreciation at the Banquet Saturday evening, May 13, at the Inn at Westminster Quay. The seven recipients in alphabetical order were: Svend Berg, Poul B. Christensen, Rolf Christensen, Ole Larsen, Esther Machacynski, Soren Sondergaard and Eva Terp.
In the afternoon the Federation President spoke about the group photos from each of the Federation's Conferences. The twenty-five photos were displayed on a large panel. While speaking he highlighted the Federation's many activities over the years.
The theme of the Conference was Celebrating 25 Years. The theme was chosen by the Pacific Region, which hosted a Danish Federation Conference for the third time, including the very first one in 1982, a year after the Federation's founding at a Danish Constitution Day Celebration on June 7, 1981. The host region consists of the following eight organizations: The Danish Brotherhood in America; Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver; Granly Danish Lutheran Church; Royal Danish Guards' Association Pacific Northwest; Danish Canadian Community Centre; Vancouver Island Danish Canadian Club; Danish House Society; and Dania Home and Dania Society.
The Conference was held at the Inn at Westminster Quay on the Fraser River from Thursday evening to Saturday night. Sunday the Conference continued at the Danish Lutheran Church in Burnaby, lunch was at the Scandinavian Community Centre and dinner at Granly Danish Lutheran Church.
On Thursday evening Solvejg Nielsen, President of the Pacific Region of the Danish Federation had bid everyone welcome. Friday was devoted to the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta. In the morning Steve Morck and Sharon Thesberg conducted a Museum workshop, beginning with a slide presentation. At lunch Mr. Colin Stevens, Director of the New Westminster Museum gave a very informative talk about the history of the city and region. In the afternoon the National Museum held its Annual General Meeting. There was then free time until the auction at 8 p.m., where Knud Nielsen was the auctioneer. A generous amount of money was raised for the National Museum in Dickson.
The Federation's Annual General Meeting, chaired by Soren Sondergaard, was held Saturday morning. The many clubs belonging to the Danish Federation and who were represented by delegates gave reports about their activities. The Annual Report and the Financial Statement were presented. Annie Kruus of The Danish Club of Ottawa invited everyone to Ottawa in 2008. Elected President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer were respectively Rolf Christensen, Ole Larsen, Ella Wolder and Annie Kruus. Reappointed auditor was Erik Hogh.
Saturday afternoon Denmark's ambassador to Denmark, H.E. Poul Erik Dam Kristensen, spoke about Denmark, Danish-Canadian relations and trade, Hans Island and the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which had appeared in Jyllands-Posten. It was a very informative and timely talk.
The 2006 Heritage Book contains a wealth of biographies, articles, histories and reports, all relating to Danish Canadians and Danes in general. Svend Berg again ably edited the 261-page book.
The Saturday evening Banquet was held in the Hyack Room at the Inn at Westminster Quay. The guest speaker was Danish Ambassador Poul Erik Dam Kristensen. Entertainment was by the talented Scandinavian Dancers, accompanied by the musicians Gammel Dansk.
Sunday morning breakfast was served at the Church in Burnaby. The Church Service was conducted by Pastor Bodil Toftdahl, who was seeking the position as pastor in Vancouver. The lunch at the Scandinavian Community Centre ended the Conference. Margaret Chester handed the mailbox and fane over to Bent Skousbol, the President of Dania in Edmonton.
Sunday afternoon a bus took the group on a sightseeing tour of Vancouver, with a stop in Stanley Park near the totem poles. The dinner in the evening was at Granly Danish Lutheran Church in Surrey, where the Danish Community Centre had prepared a big birthday cake. The talented Tivoli Singers provided beautiful entertainment.
Next year's Conference in Edmonton will be hosted by Dania and Ansgar Lutheran Church and will be held the last weekend in May. The theme will be Honouring Traditions. The Chairman of the 2007 Conference Committee is Svend B. Nielsen.
This was the first Danish Canadian Conference in Halifax, and an opportunity to visit Pier 21, the old immigration shed, which is now the Canadian Museum of Immigration. Naturally, the theme of the Conference was Pier 21: Where we met Canada. At the opening reception of the Conference on Thursday, May 24, 2018, at the Delta Barrington Hotel, the guest speaker was Danish Ambassador Niels Boel Abrahamsen.
Friday was Museum Day, where the Danish Canadian Museum held its Annual General Meeting. The luncheon speaker was Danish Consul Melissa Mathers, a fifth-generation Danish consul. There was a guided tour to spectacular Peggy’s Cove in the afternoon. In the evening there was a Museum presentation by Svend E. Nielsen as well as a presentation about explorer Jens Munk by Otto Christensen, and the work of the Danish Federation’s Jens Munk Committee, by the chair, Carl Sorensen. This was followed by an auction in support of the Museum.
1999 Danish Federation given flag stand at Conference in Calgary
2010 Danish Canadian Conference on Human Rights
2001 Conference in Kitchener - Federation celebrates its 20th Anniversary
Over $ 30,000 were donated to the Danish Canadian National Museum at the 1998 Danish Canadian Conference in Winnipeg, Canada. Donations were received from Danish organizations and individuals who want to see the establishment of a Danish Canadian Museum in Dickson, Alberta, with the largest donation coming from The Danish Canadian Club of Calgary. This means that the National Museum Society has enough funds to pay off the mortgage on the Museum property in Dickson.
The Conference started Thursday evening, May 21, with a welcome by Karl Sorensen, president of The Danish Canadian Club of Winnipeg, the host of the Conference, followed by a performance by the Scandinavian Folk Dancers. It ended Sunday afternoon, May 24. The Conference, attended by 54 delegates from across Canada, was held at The Sheraton Hotel on Donald Street and then shifted to The Scandinavian Cultural Centre on Erin Street on the Sunday.
At the Friday luncheon, Ms. Leslie Hughes, a well-known Winnipeg freelance broadcaster, spoke about The Changing Face of Canada, the theme of the Winnipeg Conference. On Saturday, the luncheon speaker was Danish-born Peter Kaufmann, a candidate for mayor of Winnipeg.
Friday was devoted to the National Museum, starting with the Annual General Meeting. Ms. Donna Van Horne conducted a Workshop on Membership and Fundraising, and Chris Christensen conducted a Discussion on Relations between the Danish Federation and the National Museum. At the Wine and Cheese Reception in the evening, the entertaining Peder Bang fra Jylland conducted an auction.
The Federation's Annual General Meeting, was held Saturday morning. The various member organizations gave brief reports on their activities and it was agreed to create a Danish Federation Web Site on the Internet. Re-elected president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer were respectively Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Børge Chris Christensen, Eva Terp and Esther Machacynski.
In connection with the Conference, a beautiful 262-page Winnipeg Conference Book had been prepared. It contains a wealth of biographies, histories, reports and articles, including one about the 180 World War II Canadian airmen who are buried in Denmark and another about the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, written by the Museum's President. The book is available from the Danish Federation for $ 11.00.
The Saturday Banquet began with the Scandinavian Choir, singing various Danish songs. There were draws for the Buy-a-Brick Lottery and for a Bell Pull by Elsie Dahl. Entertainment and dancing was by a large and talented High School Band, which started off with Glenn Miller's In the Mood.
The Conference ended with Winnipeg Club President Karl Sorensen handing the mail box and fane over to Steen Jochumsen of Calgary. Aalborg Akvavit and Giraf Beer, compliments of these firms, thanks to Ole Larsen, were served with the typical Danish lunch in the Scandinavian Centre. Sunday afternoon the vast majority of out-of-town delegates went on a wonderful guided tour of Winnipeg.
2019 Danish Canadian Conference in Winnipeg
1986 Danish Canadian Conference in Toronto, Ontario
1988 Danish Canadian Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba
New Denmark and its 125th anniversary as a Danish settlement provided the backdrop for the Danish Federation's 16th annual Danish Canadian Conference. The host, The New Denmark Historical Society, incorporated the Conference into its celebration. While the Conference itself took place at the Près du Lac Motel in Grand Falls, the many activities surrounding the 125th anniversary were held in New Denmark itself.
New Denmark celebrated its 125th anniversary on Thursday, June 19, 1997. On that day it was exactly 125 years ago since 28 Danes were landed on the shore of the St. John River, where New Denmark is now situated. Before this little group of hardy pioneers lay many hardships, among them, clearing the thick forest, before any crops could be sown between the tree stumps. Behind them was a three-week sea voyage from their homes on the Danish island of Zealand. On June 19th the New Denmark Memorial Museum opened at nine o'clock. At 1:30 p.m. there was a re-enactment of the arrival of the first Danes to New Denmark at the Museum site. This was followed by a Memorial Service, chaired by Sterling Jensen, the President of the Historical Society. The main speakers were: The Very Rev. William Hockin, Danish Consul Peter Teed, Miss New Denmark Kyra Hansen, SCAFA Consultant Arne Naamansen, National Museum President Andy Kjearsgaard, Betty Kjearsgaard, National Museum Director Elsie Dahl, President of the New Denmark 125 Committee Robert Jeppesen, Federation President Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Pastor Svend Faarvang of Tommerup, Denmark, and Guest Speaker Danish Ambassador Jørgen Behnke.
After the Memorial Service, there were refreshments at the Recreation Centre, where both the Lieutenant Governor Marilyn Trenholme Counsell and New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna were present and made some very favourable remarks to the nearly 300 guests present. Saturday afternoon there was a parade from the Museum to the Recreation Centre on top of Klokkedahl Hill, which had beautiful decorated floats and which lasted well over 30 minutes. The Danish Federation flag was carried in the parade by Guardsman Jørgen Birk Andersen of the Royal Danish Guards' Association, Eastern Canada, who was in uniform (blå).
In the evening a big bonfire was lit, where a witch was burned and sent to Bloksbjerg, while the crowd sang the Midsummer Song as well as other Danish songs. It was fun celebrating Skt. Hans in New Denmark as it is a custom which is not usually celebrated in New Denmark.
The Danish Canadian Conference was opened Friday morning by Sterling Jensen, the President of the New Denmark Historical Society and Rolf Christensen, President of the Danish Federation. The Conference brought together about 75 participants from across Canada. The proceedings began with the Annual General Meeting of the Danish Federation, again chaired by Poul B. Christensen of Vancouver. The first point was adopting the new Bylaws which had been circulated to the Member Organizations prior to the meeting. It was decided to create the position of Vice-President, to give Directors, who do not represent a Member organization, the vote, as well as other housekeeping matters. Re-elected President, Secretary and Treasurer were respectively Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Eva Terp and Esther Machacynski. Elected to the new position of Vice-President of the Federation was Børge Chris Christensen of Winnipeg. The last item of business was handing the Danish Federation's mail box and fane over to the Danish Canadian Club of Manitoba, who will be hosting next year's Conference in Winnipeg.
For the first time, the invitation to the following Conference was given by video on a VCR where everyone had a chance to see Karl Sorensen on screen speaking about the preparations for 1998. Melynda Jarratt, Centennial Project Coordinator of the New Brunswick Lung Association, told the delegates about the Association's centennial anniversary in the year 2000. As well, she spoke about the Association's connections with Denmark and told the story about Einar Holbøll, the Danish postmaster who in 1904 invented the Christmas Seal, to raise funds to fight tuberculosis.
Friday afternoon, the Danish Canadian National Museum held its Annual General Meeting, which focused on fundraising. At the following board meeting of the National Museum, Svend B. Nielsen of Edmonton was elected new President, taking over from Andy Kjearsgaard. At the Banquet in the evening, attended by many local people from New Denmark, the National Museum held its Buy-a-Brick Draw. The National Museum then showed its new promotional video, whereafter a very successful Wine and Cheese Reception was held. Gunnar Pedersen of the New Denmark Historical Society gave the delegates a brief overview of the New Denmark Memorial Museum. Most delegates had visited the Museum the day before.
Sunday began with a Church Service at St. Peter's Lutheran Church by Danish Pastor Svend Faarvang of Tommerup, Denmark, as well as the Pastor Paul Schult and Pastor Leslie Johnston. The Service was followed by a pot luck lunch at the New Denmark Recreation Centre. In connection with the Conference, a beautiful 240-page book, was prepared. It contains a wealth of biographies, histories, reports and articles.
The successful Conference concluded Sunday afternoon with a bus tour of hilly New Denmark. It is a Conference that will be remembered for a long time, because it was held in the first Danish settlement in Canada, which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary.
2014 Danish Canadian Conference in Ottawa
1997 - 16th Danish Canadian Conference
Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of New Denmark
1996 - 15th Danish Canadian Conference held on island in the Pacific
The annual National Danish Canadian Conference was held at the Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg from May 23rd to May 26th, hosted by the Danish Canadian Club of Manitoba. The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada and the Danish Canadian Museum both held their Annual General Meetings in connection with the Conference.
The theme of the Conference was The Arctic: Past, Present and Future. The Friday lunch guest was Fred Ford, President of the Manitoba Inuit Association, speaking on the new Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery which is due to open in 2020. At the Saturday dinner and dance, a very interesting presentation on the various studies being carried out in the Artic was given by Prof. David Barber, Associate Dean, University of Manitoba. On the Sunday morning, the delegates were taken on a walking tour of the “Journey to Churchill” at the Assiniboine Zoo, which featured a number of animals found in the Artic. The participants were mesmerized by the underwater viewing tunnels, which gave the opportunity to view the polar bears and seals swimming from below the surface of the water.
Over 75 people from across Canada participated in the National Danish Canadian Conference in Vancouver on May 25-27, 1990, where the theme was “Our Volunteers”. It was the Danish Federation’s 9th annual conference, and the host was the Federation’s Pacific Region, which is made up of the Danish Community Centre of Vancouver; the Danish Brotherhood in America, Lodge 328; the Royal Danish Guards’ Association, Pacific Northwest; the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Vancouver; Danish Society, Senior Citizen Residence; Granly Danish Lutheran Church, Surrey; and Vancouver Mid-Island Danish Canadian Club, a new and very dynamic club on Vancouver Island, which just joined the Federation within the last year.
Many of the out of province participants arrived early in order to go on the Sightseeing Tour Friday afternoon, where they saw Little Mountain, Stanley Park and the North Shore as well as other attractions. The weather cooperated and everybody was impressed with the natural beauty of the West Coast.
The Conference was officially opened at Granly Danish Lutheran Church in Surrey, where everybody was bid welcome by Pacific Region President Poul B. Christensen, Honorary Director, Consul Donn Larsen, Federation President Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Granly President Aage Iversen and Pastor Benny Grey Schuster. A lovely dinner had been prepared by the Granly ladies. There was then entertainment, including music by “the most unique orchestra in the world,” playing on home-made instruments. The atmosphere was great and everybody had a good time. Transportation was then provided to the Sheraton Villa Inn in Burnaby, where many of the guests were staying.
Saturday morning a business meeting was held at Dania, the beautiful seniors’ residence in Burnaby. At the meeting, Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski were re-elected as respectively President, Secretary and Treasurer. As well, Svend Pedersen was re-appointed auditor. However, this was the first national conference where Multiculturalism Canada did not provide a grant. Consequently, it was decided to deduct $200 from the posted travel reimbursements for voting delegates.
The delegates were also given various reports, including one on the very successful one-week Danish Heritage Seminar, held at the YMCA’s Geneva Park in Orillia, Ontario, in August 1989. The successful launch of this Seminar was due to the determination and hard work of Martha Larsen and Pastor Emilie Esbjørn.
In connection with the Conference, the Danish Federation had put together and published a 156-page Conference Book, containing greetings, biographies, histories, articles and reports pertaining to the Danes in Canada. The book was edited by Poul B. Christensen. One of the reasons for publishing the Conference Book is to document the history of the Danes in Canada, and to inform others about the activities and the contributions of the Danes to Canada. The shortfall for the Conference Book was generously covered by the Pacific Region.
The luncheon speaker was Pastor Benny Grey Schuster, who provided a very funny version of Denmark’s history. In the afternoon the focus was on the theme “Our Volunteers,” where three Professional Registered Parliamentarians spoke about volunteers. Al Paquette spoke about the legal aspects of volunteering. The delegates then returned to the hotel.
At the Grand Banquet at the Sheraton Villa Inn Saturday evening there was a salute to three Federation volunteers: Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Martha Larsen and Esther Machacynski. There were Door Prizes and a raffle for a 50-piece gold-plated flatware set. The “Working Capital” cheques of $100 were returned – the winner being Dania Society. After dinner, there was dancing to the Lance Harrison Orchestra.
Sunday morning there was a breakfast meeting in the hall of the Danish Church in Burnaby, where various business matters were dealt with, and Jens Witthøfft Nielsen of Dansk Samvirke invited everybody to Copenhagen for the 10th annual Conference in 1991. Attending the Conference from outside Canada were also Gunnar Kristensen, President, Scandinavian Canadian Friendship Association, Kolding, and Gerald Rasmussen, President, Danish American Heritage Society, Junction City, Oregon.
After the breakfast meeting, there was a Service in the Church by Pastor Svend Faarvang. The member organizations in Vancouver had brought their flags, which were carried in.
After coffee in the Church there was a National Museum meeting across the parking lot at Dania, where Andy Kjearsgaard gave a report and went through the Questionnaire which Dickson had sent out. It was also agreed that B. Chris Christensen of Winnipeg would join the National Museum Steering Committee as the Representative for Manitoba. Moreover, Gunnar Kristensen presented the National Museum with a generous cheque.
It was the second Danish Canadian Conference to be hosted by the Pacific Region; and Vancouver thus became the first location to host a second Conference. The Federation’s very first Conference in 1982 was also held in Vancouver.
It was a super Conference with an excellent atmosphere. Thanks to all the organizers and friendly hosts in Vancouver and area, who had organized a very constructive and memorable Danish Canadian Conference!
2004 Conference in Montreal
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada's annual Conference was this year hosted by the Red Deer Danish Canadian Club, which organized a very successful Conference. It set records regarding turnouts for registration (90 delegates), for the Saturday night banquet (153 persons) and for the Sunday lunch - with 192 people enjoying Danish open face sandwiches, eased down with cool Faxe beer and Aalborg Akvavit.
The Conference was held May 23-26 in Red Deer at the Black Knight Inn. Red Deer is located about half way between Edmonton and Calgary in the province of Alberta. The president of the Club, which was founded in 1959, is Pernille Nielsen. The Conference Co-ordinators were Leo Eriksen and Alison Pedersen, both of the Red Deer Club, who did a superb job and who were helped by a busy team of volunteers. The theme of the Conference was Give our Past a Future.
The Conference began Thursday night with a welcome reception, where the Red Deer Club bid welcome and Morris Flewwelling from the City Council extended greetings from the mayor. Friday was devoted to the National Museum. In the morning the Annual General Meeting was held and in the afternoon Kurt Nagel conducted a workshop on genealogy. Peder Bang from Jutland, a renowned fundraiser, was auctioneer for the evening and raised over $ 6,000.00. Many of the participants from across Canada had brought beautiful items for the auction, with proceeds going to the National Museum in Dickson.
Saturday was dedicated to the Danish Federation with the Annual General Meeting in the morning. The luncheon speaker was archivist Michael Dawe, who spoke about the founding of Dickson one hundred years ago. In the afternoon the delegates visited the Red Deer Museum and Archives, where coffee was served at the Norwegian Laft Hus. The Banquet, a formal affair with dinner, dance and superb entertainment by Richard and Deborah Popovich, was held in the evening at the Black Knight Inn. It was also an occasion to thank the Red Deer Club for a successful Conference, to listen to speeches, present some prizes and generally have lots of fun.
In connection with the Conference the Red Deer Club had compiled and produced a 192-page Book with articles, histories, biographies and reports, all relating to the Danes in Canada. Editor of the Book was Erling Hansen, helped by Kirsten Wohlgemuth and many others.
Sunday morning the delegates got on a big bus to Dickson, home of the Dickson Store Museum and the Danish Canadian National Museum. Dickson is the oldest Danish settlement on the Canadian Prairies, founded in 1903. The delegates were driven to Bethany Lutheran Church where Pastor Randy Fiege gave a rousing sermon. The delegates were then driven to the Spruce View Community Hall, where Kim Nielsen bid all the delegates welcome to a typical Danish lunch. Following lunch the delegates were driven to the Dormitory site in Dickson, where the Grand Opening of the Museum took place at 2 p.m.
Grand Opening of Danish Canadian Museum
A major and historic milestone was passed by the Danish community in Canada on Sunday, May 26, 2002, when the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta, was officially opened. The National Museum is situated in the former Girls Dormitory. Dickson, the oldest Danish settlement on the Canadian Prairies, founded in 1903, is located about half way between Edmonton and Calgary.
The President of the Danish Canadian National Museum Society, Kirsten Wohlgemuth, bid the over 700 visitors, in beautiful sunshine, welcome from the big veranda in front of the entrance to the old Girls Dormitory. The Canadian and Danish national anthems were sung. A Danish flag was raised by a Royal Danish Guard in uniform. There were several speakers, including Assistant Deputy Minister Mark Rasmussen from Alberta Community Development, County Councillor Elmer Stoyberg, Danish Federation President Rolf Buschardt Christensen, Dickson Store Museum President Antonia Nissen, Calgary Honourary Danish Consul Jonas Albeck, and others. Present were also Egon Bodtker, President of the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, and representatives from Danish clubs across Canada. Fred and Bernice Andersen, with a Viking from nearby Markerville, donated a set of Icelandic Sagas to the Museum.
The National Museum's founding President, Svend E. Nielsen, cut the ribbon and officially declared the Museum open. The ribbon was held by the two other past presidents, Andy Kjearsgaard and Svend B. Nielsen. The Girls Dormitory was built in the 1930s and was later also used as a school for both boys and girls.
Inside the old Girls Dormitory are several rooms with displays relating to the history of the Danes in Canada. There are also a library and reading room, an archives, an office, a meeting room, a gift shop with a fair selection of Danish Canadian books, and a small restaurant which serves Danish pastry and apple cake. The Girls Dormitory is situated in a park with several gardens and a small lake with a mermaid sitting on a rock. There are benches strategically placed around the gardens.
Close to the lake is a small Danish Church, which seats 20 people. The Church is built in the typical Danish village church style. In a separate ceremony the Church was consecrated at the Grand Opening by Pastor Holger Madsen of Edmonton, and was baptized Dagmar Pioneer Church. A Children's Garden of Imagination is in the process of being developed, complete with a Gazebo-style story telling hut and a bust of Hans Christian Andersen, donated by the Red Deer Danish Canadian Club. Scenes from Andersen's fairy tales will be featured throughout the woods on the property.
The Museum is owned and operated by the Danish Canadian National Museum Society, which was founded in 1992. Prior to that it had been a committee under the Dickson Store Museum, a general store with living quarters upstairs, which had been officially opened by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark in October 1991.
The National Museum and Gardens are open from mid-May until the end of September. The Coffee House, the small Church and the picnic area are available for special family activities. Meeting facilities with food services are available for small groups throughout the year. For further information call the General Manager at 403-728-0019 or at email@example.com. Regular hours are Monday to Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 noon to 5:30 p.m. Tours are welcome. The Museum has already attracted many visitors from Denmark and the United States. It is well worth a visit and will grow and expand in the future.