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Victoria’s Norway House celebrates 75 years of community service

Long-standing lodge promotes Norwegian, Scandanavian culture
Dancers will hit the floor at Victoria’s Norway House on June 11 for the lodge’s 75th-anniversary celebration. (Courtesy of Eidsvold Lodge)

Between folk dancing and traditional fish delights, Victoria’s Eidsvold Lodge has tried to put community at the centre of everything it’s done over the last 75 years.

Also known as the Norway House, the centre’s mission has been promote Norwegian and Scandanavian culture in its long-standing local history on Vancouver Island.

Pandemic restrictions pushed Eidsvold’s 75th-anniversary celebrations back by a year, but its Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic and Sami (the Indigenous community of northern Norway) members are welcoming the public to an open house filled with family-friendly cultural events on Saturday (June 11).

The lodge is an important Norwegian connection for its members – some who have been with the centre for 65 years – who were born overseas and others, like president Linda Murray, who have ties to Scandinavia but hail from here.

“It brings back memories for them and for us it’s a window into what our culture would’ve been if we were in those Scandanavian countries,” Murray said.

The centre has tried to advance community service through its student nurseries, cross-country skiing program for people who are visually impaired and helping to launch the Inter-Cultural Club of Greater Victoria.

Reflecting their social custom of gathering around a meal, the open house will have treats – like the rolled waffle-like cookie called krumkake – ready for the public.

“We’d like to get everybody that we can in just to see what the Norwegian and Scandanavian culture is all about, and to give them a taste of the food and to show them the facility.”

The lodge itself brings the local community a lot of pride as Murray said it’s one of the few physical centres dedicated to Norwegian culture in Canada. Its hardwood floors have been stomped on by traditional Leikarring folk dancers for decades, with that group also performing at the open house.

The lodge also houses a large library of Scandanavian books that will be on display Saturday.

The open house will also include traditional folk painting, children’s storytelling, crafting activities and more. The Saturday open house runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 1110 Hillside Avenue.

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