Tracey Tong/metro ottawa


Sandra Jomphe of Ottawa and Daniel Guignard of Gatineau enjoy a 25-kilometre cross-country ski during Norway Day in Gatineau Park yesterday.

After this weekend’s snowfall, many area residents had seen enough of the white stuff. But one group was in its element yesterday.

The Ottawa-Gatineau region’s Norwegian population shared its love of skiing and winter at the sixth annual Royal Norwegian Embassy’s Norway Day festivities at Gatineau Park.

"Norway Day is a celebration of winter and the love of skiing that both Canadians and Norwegians enjoy," said Wenche Linneboe, with the Norwegian Embassy and an event organizer.

"This is something in common to celebrate."

There are only several hundred Norwegians in the Ottawa area but it’s still important for Norwegians to celebrate their roots.

Norwegian immigrants introduced cross-country skiing as a leisure activity in Canada in the late 1800s and it has since exploded.

"This is a Norwegian tradition," said Norwegian ambassador Tor Naess, who served traditional refreshments at Huron Shelter yesterday.

The event is also an opportunity to increase the public’s knowledge about Norway, Naess said.

One of about 1,500 people attending the event, June Kvamme was there to "get in touch with my Norwegian roots." The Almonte resident immigrated to Canada with her parents as a child and said the event allowed her to meet other people from Norway.

Her friend, Norwegian-born May-Evelyn Hansen, who moved to Canada at age 22 to marry a Canadian, remembers skiing to school as a child.

"If they hadn’t plowed in the morning, you just put on your skis," said the Renfrew resident.

out west

  • Most Norwegians settle in Western Canada, Wenche Linneboe said.

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