Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/9/2015 (648 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It has taken Thunder Bay author Elinor Barr eight years to complete her book Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants.
Now that it’s done, she’s on the road to promote, and will launch it in Winnipeg at McNally Robinson Books on Sept. 16, 2015 at 7 p.m.
"Winnipeg acted as the Swedish capital of Canada from 1885 until after the Second World War, a period of 60 years. During this time Swedish activity centred on Logan Avenue, just down from the CPR station. Swedish immigrants arrived daily by train because government agents at Atlantic ports steered them to Winnipeg," Barr says in an interview.
Asked how this particular book came about, Barr explains:
"I had written quite a few local history books and two books and several articles about Swedes when Don Sjoberg (formerly of Winnipeg, now of Edmonton) phoned me out of the blue and said that — if I would write a history of Swedes in Canada — he would raise money to make it happen.
"When I agreed, he began fundraising in earnest... Enough money came in, all from Swedish sources, to fund the project, a total of $65,000.
"This covered the cost of my travels in Canada, Sweden and the United States for research and promotion purposes, office expenses, and a small honorarium. The publisher, University of Toronto Press, covered publication costs."
Barr hired an assistant to help catalogue the research material and had to find translators as she only learned Swedish after she retired.
"The research material has been donated to the University of Manitoba Archives and will be ready for public viewing in September 2015. The archivist, Brian Hubner, will speak at the book launch." She said.
Barr was born in 1933 to Swedish parents and grew up in Ignace, Ont. She graduated from McKellar General Hospital School of Nursing in Fort William.
Later, as a mature student, she earned a BA in history from Lakehead University. She has published eight books and quite a few articles and book reviews. She was also an "associate producer for TVOntario and Thunder Bay Television, and scriptwriter for the National Film Board and White Otter Films."
In 2001 she set aside her business affairs so that she could concentrate on researching and writing Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants.
Arny Hjaltadottir is a community correspondent for the West End.