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The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba
New Iceland Heritage Museum
Gimli , Manitoba

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   The Icelandic Festival of
Manitoba
   On July 19, 1888 the need
for a gathering of Icelandic
immigrants to Canada and the
U.S. was mentioned in an
Icelandic ethnic newspaper
Heimskringla. Eggert
Johannsson, the editor at the
time states “Icelandic

immigrants are now scattered
throughout western Canada and
Dakota. An annual event
would serve as a means to
unite them. Icelandic
heritage is in great danger
on this continent and if we
make no effort to preserve
it, we might as well cease
from calling ourselves

Icelandic.”
   The first Icelandic
Festival, Íslendingadagurinn,
held in Winnipeg in 1890, was
a one day event and consisted
of a traditional program with
speakers, poetry and musical
entertainment and a dance.
In 1932 a decision was made
to hold the Icelandic

Festival in Gimli, Manitoba
where it has since been held
annually.
   Today, the festival
includes all of the original
components but has expanded
to include activities far
beyond what the original
organizers would ever have
imagined. There is now a

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