OTTAWA â€“ Today, Peter Julian, MP (New Westminster â€“ Burnaby) reintroduced the Leif Erikson Day Act, Bill C-244, which designates October 9 as Leif Erikson day.
â€œLeif Erikson is a part of our heritage that defines us, and a part of the country we have built. Understanding our heritage is an important part of reflecting on the great privilege and responsibility we all share as Canadians,â€� said Julian.
Leif Erikson and his crew were the first Europeans to discover North America 1000 years ago, likely with the help of crystal calcite â€œsunstonesâ€� to assist their navigation. The ancient historical Norse settlement of Lâ€™Anse aux Meadows in present day Newfoundland and Labrador is a tribute to a Scandinavian presence that began in Canada five centuries before Columbus. Leif Eriksonâ€™s journey also marks the beginning of contact between the Inuit and Europeans who celebrate a long shared history in the Arctic.
â€œThe Leif Erikson Day Act is also intended to honour the efforts and very fine contribution of Canadians of Scandinavian descent. Canadian of Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish and Icelandic origins have helped shape Canadian society and culture,â€� said Julian.
Over one million Canadians reported to have Scandinavian ancestors in the 2006 population census and Julianâ€™s bill has received very strong support from Scandinavian organizations across Canada.
In 1964, the US Congress designated October 9 as Leif Erikson Day to mark the historical significance of Leif Eriksonâ€™s voyage and celebrate the important contribution of Americans of Scandinavian ancestry.
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