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Sporið touring Ontario and Alberta

Photo courtesy of Sporið



Danshópurinn Sporið, an Icelandic folk dance group, will perform in Ontario and Alberta during its upcoming tour. Sporið – its name means “The Step” – is based in Borgarfjörður, but its members come from various places in southwestern Iceland. The group is known for their spirited and educational presentations of Icelandic folk dances, which are drawn from all the way back in the 13th century to the present day.
Sporið’s first performance on this Canadian tour will be in Toronto at Morningside High Park Presbyterian Church, 4 Morningside Drive, on Sunday, October 2, at 2:00 p.m. They will be joined by the Danish Folk Dancers of Toronto, who will perform two dances at the beginning of the program. Admission is $10 at the door and there will be treats and coffee afterwards.
On October 3, the group will embark on a day-long trek to Midland and Kinmount. At Midland, they will visit Ste. Marie Among the Hurons, a recreated French Jesuit Mission from the 1600s, where they will enjoy a guided tour. At Kinmount, they will be received by local historian Guy Scott, who will talk about the history of the first large group of Icelanders who lived and worked at building a trestle bridge as well as the railroad track at Kinmount in the 1870s. Sculptor Gudrun Girgis will speak about a memorial raised in 2000 in honour of those who came to Canada. The memorial, “In the Presence of a Soul,” commemorates the 25 Icelandic children who perished during the first two months in Kinmount and who are buried in unmarked graves in the area.


The steward of Skálholt

Photo: Stefan Jonasson


An Icelandic folktale from the collection of Jón Árnason, Íslenzkar þjóðsögur og ævintýry (Icelandic Folk Tales and Legends), which was inspired by the work of the Brothers Grimm. The tale was translated into English by George E.J. Powell and Eiríkur Magnússon for their volume Icelandic Legends, which was published in London in 1866. This translation reflects the quaint language of Victorian England, including a few archaic words, and is presented here as it originally appeared.
There was once a bishop at Skálholt who was extremely harsh and merciless to his stewards. Unwillingly, therefore, they lived with him, and left him dishonoured. Many wished evil to the bishop for his harshness, and prayed that the devil himself might come to him in their stead; and at last it fell out that the bishop, being in want of a steward, was at a loss to get one.


Drugstore diner

Photo courtesy of Chuck Jonasson

Author: Chuck Jonasson, Winnipeg, MB

“I am always drawn back to places where I have lived,” wrote Truman Capote in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “the houses and their neighbourhoods.” There is the tiny, white one-and-a-half story house, for instance, where I had spent the first six years of my life. It had been a fixer-upper. My father had added a small front entry and replaced the dull gray asphalt shingles with crisply painted wood siding, dressing up an otherwise plain exterior. It was situated on one side of a double lot, the other side serving alternately as a cornfield-forest, where in the summer my brother and I would hide and fight the world’s great battles, and as a skating rink in the winter, where neighbourhood children first learned to glide on pencil-thin blades. Out back, my father had planted a small pear tree; I can still recall the looks of surprise the year it actually bore fruit.
Some of my fondest memories were of my father, his fascination with the garden, and the great patience and pleasure he took in planting, caring for, and watching it grow. On one particular hot summer day I eagerly joined in as he tugged unwanted plants from the neat rows of onions, beets, peas, carrots and corn. And it didn’t take too long before he noticed his small willing helper, hands and face muddied, in pursuit of that same honest simple toil. A half a row of carrots laid to the side, unceremoniously ripped from earth’s nurturing womb. Still, my father reacted with a warm smile and a gentle explanation that soon taught me the difference between good plant and weed.


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