Burnaby Mountain
Japanese totem? poles, Burnaby Mountain, Vancouver One of the first nights in Vancouver my cousin Enis and her husband Jim picked us up. After a beer (Canadian, of course) we went up Burnaby Mountain, not far from Janet and Claus' place. The municipality east of Vancouver is named after Robert Burnaby (1828-1878), a British merchant and an early colonist in the area. It is best known for Burnaby Mountain and Burnaby Lake. In Deer Lake Park you'll find the Burnaby Village Museum, the Burnaby Art Gallery, the Heritage Village, and the Shadbolt Centre for the Performing Arts. More about these places later.

First we admired Burnaby Mountain Rose Garden with its great variety of roses with vibrant colours and heady scents. Then we wondered about the Kamui Mintara sculptures (meaning Playground of the Gods). These huge poles were obviously not First Nation art. Jim, who is a walking, talking encyclopedia told, that the poles had been carved by the Japanese sculptors Nuburi Toko and his son Shusei, belonging to Japan's aboriginal Ainu people. The sculpture tells a story of men, gods and creatures sharing the Earth in harmony. They are tokens of the goodwill between Burnaby and its sister city, Kushiro in Japan. Behind the restaurant we found two majestic Haida totem poles.

We regretted that we had not brought our binoculars, since the view of Vancouver, Richmond, the harbour and the mountains are just breathtaking. On a clear day it is said to be possible to see over Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island.

View from Burnaby Mountain, Vancouver Then we had a wonderful dinner - fish for Jim and lamb for the three of us - in restaurant Horizons close to the top. Jim had made a reservation, and I suggest that you do the same, if you want to come here. Don't come too early, since watching the the sunsetting is fantastic. On our way back we went to the top of Burnaby Mountain to se the architecturally stunning Simon Fraser University (SFU) with its Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. SFU is worth a visit. It was built (designed) in the 60's by the well known architect Arthur Erickson (whom you will meet again, if you follow us Downtown Vancouver). The concrete buildings are very futuristic, so quite a few science fiction moves have been filmed at SFU. Once a week in summer time Simon Fraser University Bag Pipe Band practices in the park.

During our next visit to Vancouver in 2002 we dined again at Horisons with Enis and Jim. And also on this occasion we had a splendid meal with excellent wine from BC.

Burnaby Village Museum
Burnaby Village Museum, Vancouver A couple of times we have been to Burnaby Village Museum, a four-hectare (10-acre) large open-air museum, looking like a snapshot of Burnaby as it might have looked in 1925 with costumed townsfolk and historic buildings. On holidays and special weekends staff organize extra events: on Victoria Day, on Canada Day, Labour Day and on Teddy Bear Day. The villages comprises of more than 30 shops and homes - a Chinese herbalist, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith and an Ice Cream Parlour. Most of the 40,000 artifacts are acquired through donations. We enjoyed a blacksmith (Jeff?, volunteer) demonstrating his skill for a class of school kids. I was lucky to get the key, that the blacksmith had produced right before our eyes. Opening season is May through September and December. Burnaby Village Museum reminds us of "The old Town" in Aarhus, Denmark.

C.W. Parker Carousel in Burnaby Village Museum, Vancouver Britt nearly failed to get a trip on the wonderful carousel. We were not aware of the opening season, so we turned up one of the last days in April. Lots of people were preparing the village for the opening the following weekend and we were allowed to walk around. I told the man who operated the carousel, that we were returning to Europe the following day and thus would not be able to see our grandchild on his carousel. The goodhearted man started the carousel with the fantastic organ and Britt and Claus had a very long trip. During this the man told me the story of the carousel. The carousel was made by C.W. Parker in Kansas in 1912. It is a three row machine carrying 36 jumpers, four ponies, one chariot and one wheelchair. And a Wurlitzer military band organ. In 1935 it came to Happyland Park in Hastings Park, Vancouver. When this park was closed down in 1957 the carousel came to Playland Amusement Park, Vancouver. In 1990 it was acquired and restored by the volunteer group Friends of the Carousel, who donated it to the City of Burnaby. It has been accessible to the public since 1993.

Shadbolt Centre For The Arts
Shadbolt Centre For The Arts in Burnaby, Vancouver During one of our trips to Burnaby we visited The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, situated on the edge of Deer Lake Park. When the Shadbolt Centre opened in 1995 it received the Canadian Wood Council "Award of Merit" for its creative design which is a stunning combination of wood and stone. The Centre is named after two Burnaby residents dedicated to art, Doris and Jack Shadbolt. Jack Shadbolt (1909-1998) was a respected artist and a dedicated teacher of art and Birgit and I have seen some of his colorful works on Vancouver Art Gallery. Doris Shadbolt was a renowned writer (her biography of Bill Reid won two B.C. Book prizes in 1988) and education director and curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 1988 the Shadbolts founded the Vancouver Institute for the Visual Arts, VIVA, which grants awards to local Vancouver artists and to British Columbians who "has made an outstanding contribution to cultural life in the province".

The centre houses a wide range of cultural facilities like a 285-seat Theatre, a 150-seat Recital Hall, a Studio Theatre, 6 dance studios, music rehearsal rooms, pottery studios etc. The centre offers a wide spectrum of art programs for all ages, music, theatre, dance, painting, drawing, ceramic and literature. Throughout the year festivals, performances, seminars and workshops take place here. We had coffee in the café in the lobby. We admired the exhibition of artworks which had been made by very gifted young students.

In the wonderful park is a a 10,000-seat outdoor amphitheatre, which houses outdoor festivals and concerts like "Symphony in the Park" and the Burnaby Blues Festival. In the Month of May the Rhododendron Festival.

The Danish Church in Vancouver
Almost every time Birgit and I go to Vancouver we visit The Danish Church in Burnaby/Vancouver. The present church is from 1984. But back in the 1920's the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America considered if they should have a mission for the Danes who lived in Vancouver. In May 1923 pastor Rasmussen from Dalum, Alberta lead a service in Danish at The Norwegian Church in Vancouver. This became a monthly event with pastor Alfred Sørensen coming up from Seattle. In the summer of 1923 a group of 21 people formed the Ansgar Congregation (Ansgar, "Apostle of the nordic countries", who made the Danes christians). The congregation applied for funding to build a church to the organization "The Danish Church Abroad", but during depression in the 1930's money was scarce. So pastor Alfred Sørensen had to continue his long journeys between Seattle and Vancouver.

In 1932 the Ansgar Congregation called pastor Jørgen Nielsen from Enumclaw, Washington. Having a resident pastor urged the need for a church, and in 1933 the Ansgar Congregation purchased a property at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Prince Albert Street in Vancouver. In July 1933 pastor Jørgen Nielsen suddenly resigned, so The Congregation decided to halt its activities in Vancouver. Then in 1935 "The Danish Church Abroad" sent pastor, Clemens Sørensen to Vancouver.

Building the First Church
Now the desire for a Danish church in Vancouver grew. The Ansgar Congregation had the property at 19th Avenue and Prince Albert Street - and besides that about $150. Paper bricks were made and sold raising another $100. Pastor Sørensen wrote to individuals, papers and magazines in Denmark and to all the Danes in British Columbia for support.

A small group of people gathered on the last day of the year 1936 at the corner of 19th Avenue and Prince Albert Street to participate in breaking the ground for the church. Professor Carl Brink Christensen, who had been a dedicated supporter for a Danish church in Vancouver for many years, broke the ground first. Professor C.B. Christensen had been teacher in the Danish colony of Cape Scott on Vancouver Island. On the first working day of the new year some workers with a team of horses began excavating the basement.

Times were hard and many people were unemployed. So it was decided to pay all unemployed hands $1 a day for helping. Sometimes pastor Sørensen would drive around in his old Ford persuading unemployed men to help building the church. Ladies were involved too, serving warm soup and hot coffee with home made cake.

On the day for raising the rooftree the Danish flag was flying over the church building, and Professor C.B. Christensen gave a solemn speech. On the 8th of May 1936 Professor Christensen's coffin was carried from the church. That was the first Divine Service in the yet unfinished church.

On the day of the consecration 15th of August 1937 all Danes gathered in the church, Saint Ansgar Church. Cheap kitchen chairs had been bought, a large box covered in white paper made the altar, and a preliminary pulpit had been put together. But despite lack of furniture the church could be used for services.

Royal Visit in 1967
Princess Margrethe of Denmark and her husband Prince Henrik paid a visit to the church in 1967. The occasion was that East Asiatic Company had invited Princess Margrethe to open a new paper mill on Vancouver Island. The couple landed in BC's capital, Victoria on Vancouver Island on 25th of September 1967. Two days later they came to Vancouver, where a reception with 500 guests was held at Hotel Vancouver. On Saturday 30th of September they paid a visit to the Danish Church. Once the royal guests were inside, the folk dancers carried in flags representing the many Danish organizations while the choir was singing. Princess Margrethe brought greetings from "mom and dad" and she greeted each of the old people personally. I'm sure that it was the day of their life.

The present church
The Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, Burnaby

Around 1982 it was decided to build a new church, and Architect Søren Rasmussen was asked to make the drawings. The church is situated at 6010 Kincaid Street, Burnaby, next to Dania Home. Dania Home, which is a retirement home built by the Danes in the 1940’s, offered to to sell a lot to the Danish Church for $50,000, which equalled what it over the years had cost Dania Home Society in taxes. The old church was sold for $300,000 to The Church of the Good Shepherd, a Chinese Anglican congregation. In March 1984 the work began. The need for volunteer work was limited, although there were quite many fundraising activitees taking place. The church was consecrated on 14th of October 1984. As you may see from the foto, the church looks like a typical Danish village church from the 12th century; only has granite and bricks been replaced by lumber and drywall. The look is absolutely Danish.

Replica of statue of Christ by Bertel Thorvaldsen in the Danish Church in Vancouver The statue of Christ is a replica of a famous statue by Bertel Thorvaldsen which is in the Cathedral of Copenhagen. It was donated by Vigerslev Church, Denmark. The inscription beneath the statue reads: "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest". The embroidered rug in front of the altar was made by many members of the Church. The pattern is partly a replica of the altar rug in Fåborg Church, Denmark.

At the front of the church is a Canadian and a Danish flag. On the pole of the Danish flag there are two silver plaques, one reading, "Oct 14 1984", the other, "H.M. Queen Margrethe II and H.R.H. Prince Henrik of Denmark. Visit Vancouver, B.C. Oct 16 1991".

Like in almost any Danish church there is a model ship hanging under the ceiling of the Sanctuary. In fact there are two ships. In 1937 Mr. Holmgren, Vancouver donated the first ship. The ship, which is a frigate, was once stolen, but some time later it was recovered from a second hand store in downtown Vancouver. The second ship was donated in 2000 by Poul Møller Hansen, Tsawwassen as a kit to be assembled. Mogens Tveden, White Rock, built the model. The ship is the frigate Jylland (Jutland), the world's longest wooden ship. A Danish warship built at the Royal Dockyard in Copenhagen in 1860, known from the Battle of Helgoland 1864, tourist attraction in Ebeltoft, Denmark, close to our home.

The church has two organs: In 2004 Resen Church in Denmark donated the pipe organ. The electronic organ was purchased in 1986. The plaque on the front reads: "This organ is donated by the congregation of the Danish Church in memory of the Danish men and women, who during World War II in and outside Denmark lost their lives for the sake of freedom".

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark's monogram The Queen’s monogram, designed by the Queen herself, is installed over the main entrance in 1985. On the west wall of the Sanctuary are pictures of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Prince Henrik.

About half the pews have a plaque with a name. We wondered what these names meant, but I have later learned that they are the names of the parishes of Denmark that contributed to the building of the first Danish church in Vancouver.

Royal Visit in 1991
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark on visit to The Danish Church of Vancouver The next royal visit to the church was on 16th of October 1991. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Prince Henrik came on the last day of an official visit to Canada. First they visited Dania Home, a Danish retirement home close to the church. In the church the royal couple were sitting next to the altar in the crowded church. Pastor Glud welcomed the honoured guests and gave a brief history of the church.

The Queen then approached the unfinished embroidered altar rug. She was seated and Vera Pii pointed out to the Queen where the three royal stitches should be. The Queen protested and said that it was not the right colour of thread she had been given. "No", Vera Pii answered, "but we want in the future to know where Your Majesty did make the stitches". "Oh, I understand", the Queen smiled, "I'm not always that quick in the morning". And the the three stitches were sewn with the golden thread. Before leaving the church Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik signed the Guest Book.

This is the explanation why three stitches in the flower that should have been purple have the same golden colour as the crosses.

In the Church Hall downstairs is an exhibition of group pictures of all the confirmation classes back to the early 1940'es. After service people gather here for a cup of coffee. Service is in Danish the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month and in English on the remaining Sundays and all major holidays. One day we went to the church for a concert. A choir - as far as I remember "Sons of Norway" - were singing Danish, Norwegian and Swedish songs. I talked to an elderly man after the concert explaining that this was our first visit to the church. The man told that he often came to the church. In fact his wife had died during a service in the church a year before, but he kept coming regularly to the church for comfort.

The Jelling stone, aka Denmark's Baptism Certificate On the lawn outside the main entrance is a replica of the famous runic stone in Jelling, Denmark, the old Viking capital of Scandinavia. King Harold of Denmark (Harold Bluetooth, 940-981) erected the monolithic runic stones outside the burial mound of his parents, King Gorm the Old and his wife Thyra. The stone says,

"Haraltr kunukr bath kaurua
auk aft thaurui muthur sina sa
haraltr ias sar uan tanmaurk"

In English: "Harold, king, bade these memorials to be made after Gorm, his father, and Thyra, his mother. The Harald who won the whole of Denmark and Norway and turned the Danes to Christianity". The runic stone is called Denmark’s Baptism Certificate. These are the oldest words in history from a Danish king and the first time Denmark is mentioned as the name of our country. Like most kids in Denmark Birgit and I have visited the Jelling Stone during our school time. I remember during my first visit I bought a small replica as a gift for my mother, who kept for the rest of her life.

What a small world
I am going to finish this visit to Burnaby with an episode, that shows, how small the world is. Shortly after we had returned to Denmark, Henrik Agerskov, a collegue of mine introduced me to Doug and Patty, his parents-in-law. They had come to visit their daughter Erin and Henrik, who lived and worked in Denmark. Doug and Patty Berardine lived in Vancouver. They told that the wedding had taken place in The Danish Church in Burnaby and asked, if I had ever been there. And to their surprise I could tell them that Birgit and I had been there on the previous Sunday.

The proud grandparents Doug and Patty with newborn Samuel, Aarhus, Denmark Doug and Patty in their wonderful home in Burnaby

We have seen Doug and Patty a couple of times in our home in Denmark. Latest when they came over for the birth of Erin and Henriks son Samuel. We have visited Doug and Patty in their beautiful appartment in Burnaby with Janet, Claus and Britt and were treated like royals. Just before Christmas Erin, Henrik and Samuel moved to Canada and are now living in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver. Here is the Berardine/Agerskov family homepage.

Home page Top of this page Previous page Next page