By Dennis Oleson, Brandon, MB
The Icelandic Canadian Club of Western Manitoba, often referred to as the Brandon Club, has been fairly busy over the summer and accomplished a number of things. We donated two $300 scholarships to students furthering their education at a post-secondary institution. On June 17th, we had a small gathering with cake, coffee and ice cream at a member’s home to celebrate Iceland’s independence from Denmark on June 17, 1944. Time during the summer was also spent organizing a fish fry fundraiser that was held on September 29th, when about 200 people enjoyed a meal of pan-fried Lake Winnipeg pickerel.
For the first time since Snorri West started, the Brandon Club took direct part in the program. On July 19th and 20th, we showed the Snorri West participants what some of the southwestern part of Manitoba was all about.
Right: The Snorri West Participants after the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police (RCMP) Musical Ride in Neepawa MB.
On the 19th, after arriving from Winnipeg, they were taken on a horse-drawn wagon ride to experience the desert-like terrain of the Carberry Sandhills in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, also known as the Spirit Sands.
Left: Sanding the toes in the Carberry Desert Spirit Sands.
From there they went on to visit the Frelsis (Liberty) Lutheran Church at Grund (RM of Argyle), which is not only the oldest standing Icelandic Church in Canada, but it is still in use today. The church was built in 1889 by immigrant Icelanders near Baldur, Manitoba. This, along with a short trip to the Skalholt Icelandic Cemetery, provided a bit of Icelandic immigrant history for our guests.
After that, it was off to Neepawa, where they watched and enjoyed the Canadian showpiece called the RCMP Musical Ride. Several pictures were taken with our guests in close proximity to the horses and their riders.
The next day, July 20th, we showed them several of the attractions around Brandon, including the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum and the Brandon Cultural Museum, which contains a taxidermy collection of a great many of the animals indigenous to the province. This part of the museum seemed to be especially interesting to our guests, particularly in terms of picture taking.
Right: Snorri West participants at Grund Church with some ICCWM members and the fine people who showed it to us.
As the final part of their Brandon stay, the 2016 Snorri Westers journeyed to Minnedosa, where they visited a heritage village. After that, our guests were able to take part in an evening of dragon boat practice exercises on Lake Minnedosa. The exercises were being held in preparation for the 2016 Canadian Cancer Society Dragon Boat Challenge that took place in Winnipeg on September 9th and 10th. This rather strenuous boating activity, at which I was told our guests excelled, was followed by a swim in the lake.
At right: Snorri Westers being shown how to row, row, row, your dragon boat. Middle of the lake at left.
A planned wiener roast had to be cancelled due to rain, so the Snorri Westers had a quiet evening with their billets before their trip to Gimli the next morning.
Needless to say, we greatly enjoyed our first experience in hosting the Snorri West group and look forward to doing so again. We want to thank the Icelandic National League of North America, its Snorri West Program, and especially the 2016 Snorri West participants for providing us with a very pleasurable two days in July.
Below: The RCMP Musical Ride is always impressive, even when it is 30 degrees Celcius.