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Generations unite for 100-person family reunion

One hundred people – some from as far as Denmark and Egypt – descended on the Peninsula for a family reunion last week.
Family members compete in a tug-of-war during last week’s reunion.

One hundred people – some from as far as Denmark and Egypt – descended on the Peninsula for a family reunion last week.

The four-day “Viking Reunion,” hosted at Camp Alexandra in Crescent Beach, brought together the relatives of three Danish siblings who immigrated with their families to Canada in 1951.

It was the third of its kind, according to organizer Helen Christiansen, whose husband, Bent, is the son of one of the immigrant siblings, Marinus Christiansen.

The first reunion was held at Mara Lake in 2001 and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the family’s expansion to Canada, while the second was hosted in Denmark – where many family members still live – five years later.

This year’s event included three generations of relatives, with 43 from Denmark, seven from New Jersey, three from California, one from Florida, two from Egypt, three from Quebec City and 40 from B.C.

They went head-to-head in a variety of activities, including the three-generation three-legged race – which saw grandmothers paired with their daughters and granddaughters – and a two-generation two-legged race for the males.

“The big one is the tug-of-war,” Christiansen noted in the days leading up to the reunion.

“We get family against family at each end.”

Guests – identifiable by coloured T-shirts – also explored Crescent Beach with Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society, and attended the Snowbirds Fly for Child performance Wednesday.

They also planned to check out some of the popular local attractions, such as the White Rock promenade and pier, 1,001 Steps and Softball City; and go on a driving tour of gardens in the area, including a traditional Danish one, Christiansen said.

“It’s been a project that’s taken well over a year of planning,” she said, noting guests received a booklet complete with family trees and photos.

The effort is well-worth the time spent together, however, which is why the family has made a point to meet every five years.

“It’s the extreme interest in meeting the people and getting together,” Christiansen said. “It’s to keep the family in touch.”