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Main street in Viking, Alberta, ca. 1900-1903. Although the earliest Scandinavian settlers in the area had arrived in 1902, it wasn't until 1908 that the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway arrived directly between the towns of Prague and a settlement near Viking, Alberta. The new site was named Meighen, but when the settlers had converged onto their new land, there were heated discussions about a new town moniker. "Harland", as the son of a prominent pioneer, was the title suggested by some of the settlers, but many of the people who had come from Scandinavia preferred the name "Viking". As the story goes, a certain "Wily Ben Gray," who was of the latter opinion, convinced a group of Norwegian ladies to cast their votes in his favour. This highly unusual strategy proved successful, and the town was officially named after the legendary Norwegian seamen. The first town council, attended by four men, was held on March 12, 1909.

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