A Little History...
The history of the Scandinavian Home Society dates back to 1923 when a group of 5 men, under the leadership of Oscar Johnson, the first local vice-counsel, decided to form a society as a support group for immigrants who spoke the Scandinavian language. In just over a month, with very little money, this group had rented premises at 218 Bay St. for a meeting room and activity centre, organized a library and increased the membership to 58 including 3 women. This organization would be called FORENINGEN SCANDINAVISKA HEMMET, in translation meaning SCANDINAVIAN HOME SOCIETY reflecting its purpose - a place where on could gather, socialize, read newspapers and books in their own language, and share their stories - a place akin to "home".
In 1924, a cafe was opened on January 27th at 121 Secord St. For the first 6 months the cafe was operated privately. As this satisfied neither the proprietor nor the Society, the membership decided on August 3rd to take over managing the cafe themselves - the situation which has existed continuously to the present time. The cafe remained at the Secord St. location for almost 2 years until a maintenance problem and rent increase forced them to move to 222 Bay St. just before Christmas.
The Society began looking for a permanent home in the spring of 1926 and purchased the property at 147 Algoma St. S. Construction of that building began almost immediately. It included a cafe and kitchen on the main floor, a large meeting room, library and office on the second floor and washrooms in the basement. In 1928, the Society had sufficient funds to brick the facade. In 1930, the last major change was made with an addition on the back wall, transforming the cafe into a restaurant.