DDiane Hanson is leading a group from the town of Viking on a bus trip to the Royal Alberta Museum to see the viking exhibit. The small town folks are coming to learn about their Scandinavian history, but also hope to connect with Edmontonians and encourage them to drive out to Viking to enjoy its many summer attractions. Taken on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Edmonton.
Greg Southam Greg Southam / 00087364A
They arrived in a small bus instead of a warship, but the Vikings landed in Edmonton on Saturday.A pack of residents from the eastern Alberta town of Viking rode into the city Saturday to visit the Royal Alberta Museum, which is hosting the world’s largest touring exhibition of Viking artifacts.Diane Hanson organized the Saturday trip, and has another full busload of Vikings signed up for a second excursion on May 3. Hanson is with community group Rural Outreach and Agricultural Renaissance Society, and said the trip will give Viking residents who might not be able to make the drive themselves a chance to see the exhibit.Viking is about 120 kilometres east of Edmonton. Most of the town’s early European settlers were immigrants from Norway, along with others from Denmark and Sweden, and one man from Iceland. But the current population of just over 1,000 is much more diverse, Hanson said.“We like that. We’re not trying to be distinctly Scandinavian, but it is a piece of our history and it’s something that we celebrate because it kind of gives our town a little bit of identity,” she said.The town has a park that pays homage to Scandinavian folklore about trolls, and a tea house that features a collection of rosemaling — a traditional style of Norwegian decorative painting on wood.It also has the Viking Historical Museum, but that facility mainly features history of the town, not Viking history.For years, the townspeople put on a big Scandinavian festival that drew in a lot of visitors, but the tradition has petered out.“It kind of faded because all those old girls just got old, and there was no one to pick it up and carry it forward,” Hanson said.But she’s hopeful the trip to Edmonton will drum up some reciprocal tourist interest for Viking, which she said still has great summer events, including a Viking reenactment and rodeo on the same weekend in June. There’s also the annual Brettzky Hockey Challenge, which was started by hockey player Brett Sutter.Viking’s most famous exports are the six Sutter brothers who played in the NHL. And even the town’s ice rink has a story behind it: to get money to build it in the 1950s, organizers raffled off a new car each month.In honour of the fundraising scheme, they christened it the “Carena.” The original Carena was destroyed by fire in 2005, but a new one of the same name has since been built.Ahead of the trip, Hanson said she planned to dress in a traditional Scandinavian costume and bring along posters she hopes to hang in or around the museum to encourage Edmontonians to consider making a trip out to her prairie town, which she bills as “safe, clean and small.”“We have everything but a swimming pool,” she said.The Viking exhibit is on loan from the National Museum of Denmark, and will be at the Royal Alberta Museum until Oct. email@example.com/paigeeparsons
Diane Hanson is leading a group from the town of Viking on a bus trip to the Royal Alberta Museum to see the Viking exhibit. The small town folks are coming to learn about their Scandinavian history, but also hope to connect with Edmontonians and encourage them to drive out to Viking to enjoy its many summer attractions. Taken on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Edmonton.
Greg Southam Greg Southam /