On a bright Saturday afternoon, July 14, with the waves of Canim Lake lapping gently at the shore, many friends of Peter Kristensen gathered at his home from far and wide to remember him.
Peter passed away last fall at the age of 87.
The event was organized by Peter’s longtime friend Gordon Kellett, and timed for the arrival of Peter’s niece Ingelise Rasmussen from Denmark.
Ingelise talked about her uncle who she described as a “mythical figure” to his family back home because of the many exploits the young adventurer wrote about.
Peter left Denmark in 1950. He worked his way across Canada, finally settling in the Cariboo at Canim Lake in 1954. With a few breaks, this would become his home for the rest of his life.
His first job was with the Kellett family, enlarging the cabins of their Shangri-la Resort in the southwestern corner of the lake. That was the beginning of a deep friendship that would last the next half century.
He was also a noted builder, completing several homes along the lake and the central part of the current Canim Lake Store.
Other friends told stories about him, describing a friendly man of gentle character and consummate good humour, who delighted in the presence of birds and animals around him.
Margo Wagner described the time he realized he could no longer safely drive his car, and a search was made for an electric scooter for his daily rounds down the South Canim Road to the store and Marion Kellett’s home. He was taken to view a shiny candy-apple red machine, but exclaimed when he saw it, “That’s not the kind I want; I want one of the big yellow ones like yours,” meaning Margo’s ATV.
That wasn’t to be. He spent the last three years of his life happily sharing the road with the logging trucks that carefully watched for his red scooter. He was 84 years old.
Art Dumaresq recalled Peter’s statue of The Little Mermaid made famous by Hans Christian Anderson. It stood on the lawn of his home overlooking the lake. Art saw the red lace bra that Peter installed at the urging of Marion’s sister, and commented that perhaps she would be cold next winter. Peter replied he would make her a jacket. At Christmas, she sported a Santa Claus hat. The well-known mermaid now sits as a gift from Ingelise at the home of Owen and Val Sallenback, still looking over the lake.
Peter Kristensen was a man who added much to the lives of those around him.