A recent exhibit at the library of Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta in Camrose, celebrates the bicentennial of Norwegian Independence. Titled 1814, the Incredible Year, the exhibit highlights the 200th anniversary of Norway’s Constitution. Appropriately, the exhibit was brought to Camrose because of the large Norwegian heritage in this area. (See www.Norwaystories.com/if you missed the exhibit.)
Independence from Denmark, though, did not provide the life that many Norwegians sought, especially in the latter part of the 19th century. Many migrated to the New World, first to the United States, then to Canada, seeking a better life. With the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, settlement of the prairies took hold.
Many Norwegians settled in the Donalda District, including a group of eight families who made the journey in 1903 from their home in South Dakota. They boarded an immigrant train from Pollock and made their way on the Canadian Pacific Railway to Alberta where more fertile land and a more benevolent climate beckoned. Wetaskiwin was the jumping off point for homesteaders looking to East Central Alberta.
The Norwegian immigrants who came to the Donalda area included the families of Brynhjolf Stolee, Stephen Solomonson, Rosenberg Stolee, Jacob Vikse, Lars Hagan, Lars Larson Goransrud, Ole Paulson, and Halvor Aspedokken. Descendants still live in the area.
The name Eidswold was suggested for the post office by Einar Quesseth after Eidsvoll in Norway where independence was signed. But the name was changed to Donalda when the Canadian Northern Railway eventually pushed through the area; Donalda is named after the niece of railway magnate Donald Mann.
The Sharon Lutheran Church is hosting an award-winning musician. Kim Douglas, an award-winning gospel singer will be leading the Sunday morning worship and concert at the Church on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Dec. 18 is the date of the Donalda School concert at 7 p.m. This is an annual event which welcomes participation from each student and teacher. One can expect a variety of entertainment ranging from piano recitals to Christmas plays and skits.
The recent Village Christmas event in Donalda was a success, although it was exceptionally cold. The Market Place was the biggest ever with 15 vendors and twenty-four tables. Santa’s Shopping Centre attracted lots of children. Thanks to everyone for donating so the children could do their own shopping. And thanks to all the elves who made sure the presents were all wrapped. Thanks also to the parade entries for their bravery against the cold.
Willow Canyon (former ski hill) is available to rent. There are new bathrooms, a heated chalet, kitchen facilities (bring your own water), and a big fire pit, all for $30 a day. What a perfect place for Christmas party and tobogganing. Phone Jody at 403-883-2330. The village also boasts an indoor arena and community hall for rent.
Happy Birthday greetings this week go out to: Brayden Benjamin Hofer, Samson Bailey, Bev Getzlaf, Jon Hillestad, Kim Salmon, Lee Crumly, Tracey Klatt, Brett Schoettler, Lincon Bjorge, Ron Schoettler, Jaden Charles, Kade Strandquist, Mike O’Malley Vikse, Frank West and Bernice Dietrich; and to anyone we may have missed!