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MHS Centennial Business: H. P. Tergesen Store (Gimli)

Hans Pjetur Tergesen was born in Iceland in 1863 and came to Canada in 1887. He learned tinsmithing and from 1893 to 1898 he and a partner, Magnus Goodman, ran a successful tinsmithing business in Winnipeg. Hans later moved to Gimli arriving there on 1 January 1899. In that year he opened a hardware store. Hans made metal utensils, which he supplied, to Ukrainian settlers. He and his wife lived above the store until 1902. After living in a couple of homes they built a large home on Fourth Avenue for themselves and their six children plus foster children. Showing faith in the future of the community, Hans had a windmill to generate electricity for the home - 22 years before hydropower reached Gimli.

The store expanded to three times its original size as the business grew. During the depression the store gave credit in trade for products people could sell - from eggs to cordwood. The store was often a meeting place to discuss politics and local news. Hans became a well-known community and church leader and mayor of Gimli.

The eldest child, Anna, served as bookkeeper for the business and, coincidentally, ran the Wawanesa Insurance business in Gimli. Sven Johann was the third child. He and his wife had two sons, one of whom was Terence (Terry), and architect who purchased the family business in 1987. He and his wife Lorna have five children. Two of them (Soren and Stephan) ran the business. After Soren died in 1991, Stefan took over the store and has made many changes and restorations. The building became a heritage site in 1996. The business still operates under the name H. P. Tergesen and Sons.

An MHS Centennial Business Award was presented to the firm by Sam Loschiavo in January 2000.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: H. P. Tergesen General Store (Gimli)

Page revised: 15 May 2011

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