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Scandinavian Place Names, Part Five: Valhalla

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Valhalla is yet another settlement that traces its origin back to Scandinavian immigrants.

According to historian Merrily Aubrey, Valhalla is situated 49 kilometres northwest of Grande Prairie.

In Norse mythology, Valhalla is the home of the gods, where Viking heroes went after death. In modern times, it's probably a synonym for heaven.
The name was suggested by Reverend H.N. Ronning, a Lutheran pastor who founded the settlement, where quite a number of Norwegian people settled.

Halvar Ronning was born in Telemark, Norway, in 1862. And his life's work as a missionary took him around the world.

In 1880, he came to America to study, and he was ordained a minister in 1887. In 1889, he left for missionary work in China. It was while in that field he met and married Hana Rorin, in 1891. Mrs. Ronning, unfortunately, died in Phin Chin, China, in 1907. With a family of seven, he arrived back in Canada to settle at Bardo, Alberta, in 1908. And there he married Gunhilda Hort, in 1912.
Pastor Ronning was the father of Chester Ronning, the Canadian diplomat, who worked for many, many years in China.

Not long after his marriage to Gunhilda, Pastor Ronning uprooted his family once again.

After working with the Bardo community in the south, Halvar Ronning, at the suggestion of another family heading to the Peace River Country, went north in 1912.
He did this to scout-out a territory where a congregation of Norwegians could be supported.

The Valhalla post office was established in 1916, and the first postmaster was G.R. Owens - yet another good Scandinavian name.

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