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  • Hilde Huus

Annual General Meeting Plus!

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Our annual general meeting is a necessary but often fairly routine event. As a non-profit organization, we are required to hold it and of course it is only right that each Council should report on the year’s activities, finances, and upcoming plans. We must have 20% of members in good standing present either in person or by proxy to pass all the required motions, not always a given in the past when meetings were held in person.

Attendance at this year’s annual general meeting was excellent and I think there were two reasons for this. The first was that it was conducted via Zoom, which is certainly very convenient for this type of event. The second reason was that our President, Constantine Ioannou, had invited some guest speakers from some other Nordic organizations to tell us about their own groups. This definitely added some spice to the evening!

It would be quite natural to assume that most Nordic organizations are more or less alike, but I was really struck by how different the groups who presented to us are from one another. The Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto, which impressively dates back to 1959, describes itself as “a group of people interested in learning and sharing Iceland’s unique culture, arts, history, literature and language in the Toronto area.” Their Secretary, Richard Eriksson’s presentation gave us an overview of these very varied activities. There is a unique philanthropic side to the Club in its focus on fund-raising for scholarships and the maintenance of the monument to Icelandic settlers at Kinmount, Ontario.

Ottawa’s own Friends of Iceland Club was represented by its President, Judith Hoye. They are a small club that has been more or less in hiatus due to the pandemic, but normally enjoy a range of activities including guest speakers, film nights, and social events. They are in contact with other Icelandic groups such as the Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto. Richard Eriksson and Judith agreed that, whenever Icelandic Canadians get together, the first topic of conversation is invariably to establish how they are related, which all Icelandic Canadians usually are one way or another. Richard, Judith and our own Councillor Barry Paulson quickly established that they had mutual connections from the Icelandic community in Vancouver.

Mirja Kapsalis spoke on behalf of the Canadian Friends of Finland Ottawa, of which she is Secretary. Their activities are quite varied but there is a special emphasis on Finnish cultural events, especially concerts by Finnish artists and local artists with Finnish background. The Canadian Friends of Finland Ottawa have co-operated with the Canadian Nordic Society in the past to present some wonderful concerts in the Ottawa area.

The final speaker was our own Vice-president, Vibeke Reid, who told us about the Danish Club of Ottawa, where she served as President for several years. The focus of this group is to maintain, celebrate and share Danish traditions, with plenty of food and involvement of children as they celebrate special occasions throughout the year. Their annual Christmas bazaar is an extremely labour-intensive affair, with all hands on deck organizing, setting up, preparing food, etc., but the funds raised subsidize the club’s activities, which do sound like a lot of fun.

It is certainly true, as Constantine remarked, that all of us as Nordic organizations benefit from co-operating. We each have our own histories, goals, and ways of doing things and together we are all stronger. And it’s fun to share!

The annual general meeting part of the evening went off without a hitch. Our Council for 2022-23 was elected and is now posted, with their contact information, on our website at

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