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The naming of Thorsby

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Thorsby owes its name to more than the Norse god Thor. As historian Merrily Aubrey points out, this Scandinavian settlement lies just southwest of Edmonton.

It was named by the first postmaster, August Sahlstrom, after his birthplace in Torsby, Sweden.

The post office was first established in 1908, and August, along with his brothers Charles and Gustav, operated the post office until 1923. The following year, Jacob Magiuk took over the work for about a year and a half, and then the post office closed in July 1925.

This seems like a fair bit of detail on the comings and goings of a post office, but the post office is the lifeblood of any community.

The community spirit kept alive, for, by 1929, the Thorsby school district was established, and, in May of 1930, the railroad came through.

The CPR had established a wye, just outside of Thorsby. And a wye was a place where trains could turn around and head back to Lacombe.

Earlier that year, the post office re-opened. By 1949, there was enough population in the community to form a village.

Yet another post office to pay homage to its Scandinavian heritage is that at Tindastoll, once a community just south of Red Deer.

Tindastoll was the centre of Icelandic settlement in Alberta. In fact, it was a fairly early settlement. There was enough population in the area to petition for a post office in 1892.

The largest block of settlers from Iceland settled in Manitoba.

Tindastoll itself was named after a mountain in their homeland.

And it has a couple of claims to fame. One is that it was the centre of a very prosperous dairy area. The Markerville Creamery was a model of its kind.

The other claim to fame of Tindastoll was that it was where Stephen G. Stephansson (LINK) settled. He was Iceland's national poet, and his home was made into a provincial historic site.

In the 1980s, an Alberta recording artist, Richard White, set some of Stephansson's poetry to music.

Not far away, Tindastoll Creek flows into the Medicine River, a creek name that's been on the official record since 1958.

On the Heritage Trail, I'm Cheryl Croucher.


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