A Monument in Manitoba A Monument in Manitoba


Author: Jonas Thor

(Translated by Daniel Teague)



Icelanders who emigrated to North America during the nineteenth centurey often did so under duress. Leaving behind hardhsip and bitterness, and facing adversity on a new continent, they drifted away from the land of their birth. Then, late in 1910, an opportunity arose to take part in a fundraising campaign to create a statue of Jon Sigurdson and raise it on the centenary of his birth, June 17, 1911.

Sigurdson was the man who had led Iceland in its struggle for independence, and though the monument was to stand in the island nation, Icelanders in North America took up the challenge with great enthusiasm. Led by a committee based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, they raised more than $2,000 Canadian dollars by May 1911, and in the process, renewed a passion for their homeland that has never flagged.

The funds flowing from North America so delighed the officiaals in Iceland that they commissioned a replica of the statue, and shipped it across the Atlantic.  On June 17, 1921, the monument was unveiled in front to the Manitoba Legislature Building.

This is the story of a monument to a great patriot and its role in uniting a people.