Scandinavian centre right at home in West End

By: Andrew Swan, MLA for Minto

As published in The Metro

June 24, 2015

Scandinavia is much more than IKEA, Lego, and the Swedish women’s soccer team (although those things alone are a good start). The West End’s rich cultural diversity includes the Scandinavian Cultural Centre, where we celebrate all things Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish.

Minto MLA Andrew Swan poses with a Scandinavian Cultural Centre volunteer.

The centre had its beginnings more than half a century ago as a collection of clubs, hobbyists, music and dance groups from the five Nordic countries agreed to work together to promote their activities. Since 1982, their home has been here in the West End at 764 Erin St.

The centre offers a range of activities for people keen to learn new skills, such as crafts and language lessons, as well as those simply looking to be entertained with good music, dance and food. From fall until spring, the centre hosts brunches serving traditional Scandinavian cuisine every Sunday morning.

Each summer the centre hosts a fun and sometimes irreverent Folklorama pavilion. The centre is also a great destination for field trips: schools can book a visit for students in Grades 3 to 5 to learn all about Vikings, including their daily life, history as well as their tools and diet. I encourage everyone to check out the website at for more details and events.

The West End is home to people with and connections to places all over the world. We are incredibly fortunate to have communities that are eager to preserve their culture and traditions. I am very proud of our government’s record in helping these communities succeed, by supporting cultural and community centres. The Community Places Program (CPP) provides funding for eligible non-profit organizations that are looking for help in maintaining and upgrading their facilities.

In 2011, the Scandinavian Cultural Centre received a CPP grant to assist in updating its kitchen. I am pleased to hear the centre has once again been approved for up to $30,000 in funding that will now go towards replacing the roof and furnace. These investments will ensure that the facility remains in good condition for future generations and will remain a big part of the West End for years to come.