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Canadian-Norwegians celebrate bicentenary

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Norway’s Constitution Day will be celebrated at the Scandinavian Centre (764 Erin St.) on May 17.

The bicentenary celebration is Canadawide and was launched on Jan. 14 in Ottawa. It continues throughout the year.

A $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by the Norwegian Canadian Club of Winnipeg "under the auspices of the bicentenary committee," will be given to "a Manitoba student of Norwegian ancestry/descent who will graduate from Grade 12 in June 2014 and who has been accepted in a first year programme at a post-secondary institution. The winner will be announced on May 17."

As part of the bicentenary celebrations, the Royal Norwegian Consulate presented a concert in March featuring pianist Derek Yaple-Schobert, performing works by Grieg and Saeverud at the Neil Bardal Funeral Centre. On Friday April 11, the 2012 award- winning movie, Kon Tiki, was shown at 17 Wing movie theatre. The closing ceremony of the local bicentenary celebration will be held Nov. 4 at Winnipeg’s new Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The guest speakers will be Lloyd Axworthy, Canada’s former foreign minister, and Knut Vollebæk, Norway’s former foreign minister.

The Manitoba bicentenary committee has been working for months to make this year-round event as successful as possible. The committee consists of seven dedicated Manitobans of Norwegian descent:

• Natalie Denesovych is honorary consul (Manitoba) of the Royal Norwegian Consulate and chair of the 1814-2014 Norwegian Bicentenary Committee in Manitoba;  
• Jim Ingebrigtsen has worked in radio, TV and advertising for more than three decades;
• Trygve John Ringereide has worked with many noted conductors and has performed various genres of music;
• Lanny Knutson is president of the Norwegian Canadian Club. A retired Lutheran pastor, he has served parishes in Regina, Calgary, Erickson (Manitoba) and Winnipeg;
• Sandra Benum is the daughter of Martin Benum, who was the Norwegian consul for 17 years;
• John Ian O’Neill is an award winning photographer, video producer, graphic artist, and website designer;
• Carena Roller is a judge with the Provincial Court of Manitoba.

The Norwegian community first came together in 1912 to form the Norwegian Glee Club and evolved from there. When the present Scandinavian Centre at 764 Erin St .was purchased, the previous Nordlyset (Northern Lights) Club founded in 1967 became the Norwegian Canadian Club in 1985. Membership stands at about 75.

For more information, visit norsefestwest.com

CORRECTION: In my last column I said the Jon Sigurdsson Chapter IODE has 986 members when in fact there are only 86 members.

Arny Hjaltadottir is a community correspondent for the West End. She can be reached arnyhhh@gmail.com

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