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Scandinavian Settlers

Many of the Scandinavians who ended up in Alberta came via the United States, leaving their newly established homesteads in North and South Dakota to launch a new living in Alberta.

The Pallesen family were Danish settlers in Alberta in 1910. Ostrom sisters, Norwegian settlers in Alberta, early 1900’s. As early as 1882 a group of Icelanders from North Dakota settled in Markerville, west of Red Deer. In 1892 a group of Swedes followed and dispersed across the province, settling in areas such as Calmar, Wetaskiwin and Camrose. In later years, groups of Swedes moved into the region around Clive, Meeting Creek, Edberg, Kingman, Donalda and Hay Lakes. The heaviest concentration took place southwest of Edmonton. The Danes however, tended to settle around Dickson, Olds, Markerville, Ponoka, Dalum and Standard while the Finns settled at Eckville, Sylvan Lake, Hughendon and Stettler. The Norwegians were just as scattered, settling around places like Foremost and Claresholm, even as far north as Grande Prairie.

Scandinavian settlers in Dickson, Alberta. Although each Scandinavian group had its own social and cultural societies, and despite the fact that Scandinavian settlers were scattered widely throughout the province, there did emerge a uniquely Scandinavian way of life based upon shared ideas of social and political activism, often centered around the Lutheran church.

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  • Scandinavian, Place Names, Part One: Armena and Bardo - How did the Alberta towns Armena and Bardo get their names? Hear the story of two of the first Scandinavian settlements in the province.
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  • Scandinavian Names, Part Two: Dalum and Nuorison Creek - Dalum got its name thanks to a group of Danish settlers who settled near present-day Drumheller. Settlers from Finland named Nuorison Creek. Hear more about these first Scandinavian settlers.
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  • Scandinavian Place Names, Part Three: Oyen and Standard - The south-central part of Alberta has been a favourite of Scandinavian settlers since the early part of the twentieth century. Listen, and learn about the Norwegian Andrew family, and the towns of Oyen and Standard.
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  • Scandinavian Place Names, Part Four: Thorsby and Tindastoll Creek - Settlers from Sweden and Iceland named the towns of Thorsby and Tindastoll in honour of their Scandinavian heritage. Listen to find out more about these towns and their settlers.
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  • Scandinavian Place Names, Part Five: Valhalla - Valhalla is the mythical home of Viking gods, but it was also the Alberta home of Scandinavian settlers led by Norwegian pastor H.N. Ronning.
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  • Markerville Creamery - The Markerville Creamery was an initiative set up by Mr. C.P. Marker in 1902. Hear Dorothy Field explain the history of this historic site.
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  • Stephansson House: Part One - Stephan Guthmundarson Stephansson was a famous Icelandic poet before he came to Markerville, Alberta. Hear about Stephansson and his little farmhouse near Red Deer.
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  • Stephansson House: Part Two - The Stephansson farmhouse, at Markerville, Alberta, grew with the Stephansson family, room by room. Stephansson House is now a historic site.
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  • Stephansson House: Part Three - Listen to the history of Stephansson House's unique architectural details, from its brilliant colours to its eight lightning rods!
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  • Stephansson House: Part Four - Stephan G. Stephansson has been called the Shakespeare of Iceland. Hear some of Stephansson's poems, and learn about the man himself.
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See also:

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            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.