Swedish History Reenactors in Canada


From Aard regular Christina Reid (she started commenting less than a week after the blog opened, bless her heart!), a few pictures from Mid-summer Eve at the Scandinavian Cultural Centre in Burnaby, British Columbia. Tina and her hubby are active in the Reik Félag reenactment group. And her brother is the singer of Viking/Tolkienian metallers Amon Amarth!



We’re seeing two periods of Scandy history being celebrated here. Tina & hubby represent the Viking Period in the 9th & 10th centuries. The other people, the ones erecting a May pole, are into the rural culture of the 19th century, which is the main focus of open-air museums all over Sweden. Looks exactly like a Swedish May pole celebration, only with more of a passive audience around. I guess they don’t identify as Scandies.



Photographs by Darlene Toews.

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  1. #1 Mattias Niord
    August 4, 2009

    Martin, I wonder if those fellows might no a net aquiantance of mine. He is canadian and inte re-enactment. His name is Daryl…

  2. #2 Malin Sandström
    August 4, 2009


    The costume on the foremost woman in the 2nd picture MUST be a Skedevidräkt, i.e. the folk dress in “my” part of Östergötland (which is also approximately the part you are investigating kings in, if I’m not mistaken). Funny coincidence, that!

  3. #3 Malin Sandström
    August 4, 2009

    umm, sorry, I mean the 3rd picture. Not the 2nd, with a bearded guy brandishing a sword 🙂

  4. #4 Lars L
    August 4, 2009

    There are loads of people here in Visby (Gotland, Sweden)walking around in old fashioned clothes. It is the annual “Medieval Week”, with people from all over Europe. It seems to be all from Migration Period stuff up to 19th C dresses in an flabbergasting mix, emo, goth, reinactment, live, crystal you name it! Unbelievable! http://arkland.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/medeltidsmanniskor/

  5. #5 Nariane
    August 4, 2009

    There is a local group of Viking Re-enactors near me (also in Canada)

    I’d love to do this… *sigh*

  6. #6 Al West
    August 5, 2009

    Amon Amarth are so awesome. The lyrics on “Gods of War Arise” are inspirational. 😛

    Some seek shelter in the church
    A refuge for those with faith
    But we know how to smoke them out
    A pyre will be raised

    But those who choose to stand and fight
    Will die with dignity
    For the unfortunate few who survive
    Waits a life in slavery

    Viking metal. It’s such a natural combination.

  7. #7 Mark Danielson
    August 5, 2009

    Summertime in the Northwestern part of the US and in British Columbia brings out a lot of Scandinavian culture. I used to play English concertina (!) with a group specializing in Swedish traditional dance music. We toured Sweden in the late 90s, played for a few of the Midsommar Fests(read about my Swedish concertina experience in my blog at nosleinad6@wordpress.org). As for Viking arrival before Columbus, I’m pleased to say that we get to teach it to our students in the fifth grade, even in America!

  8. #8 Martin R
    August 5, 2009

    Could you please try giving us the URL for your blog one more time? That wasn’t right.

  9. #9 Mike Olson
    August 5, 2009

    The re-enacters are cool. Being of Swedish ancestry I was interested in this sort of thing growing up. However, in the pre-internet era there was little means of learning Swedish history. Mostly, condensed stuff about vikings being from Scandanavia and raiding into England, Ireland and France. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned the Swedes mainly headed east and were more frequently traders rather than pillagers. It was then I also learned they served as mercenaries in Greece as well. The gentlemens costume seems to reflect that eastern influence. It was as an even older adult I learned of Sweden’s military exploits under King Gustav. On a different note about twenty miles from my home is the town of Bishop Hill. A colony settled by members of a Swedish religious cult. They had a fantastically strange belief system in which the leader essentially tried to take a messiah like position. They were a communal group and the colony only lasted about twenty years as a religous community after they immigrated. It is still somewhat of a tourist site and a good place to get Swedish paraphenalia. My favorite is a $3 car window sticker with an elk embossed on a yield sign with “Sverige,” underneath.

  10. #10 Daryl Haaland
    August 5, 2009

    I think I recognise a few of these folks from a household that used to play in the SCA, called Hus Hrafna Snakke (raven speak) none of them is me but I’d cheerfully play with them at any time. I suspect that they are part of the Vikes N.A. umbrella organisation. For viking Metal I actually prefer the Faeroese band Tyr, Swedish Otyg, or Norwegian Storm.

  11. #11 Kat
    August 11, 2009

    Actually, the group pictured here is called Reik Felag. You can check out their website at http://www.reikfelag.ca. They gladly welcome curious questions and new members!

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