The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Monday, June 17, 2019 – 7:00 p.m.
Friends, people of the North Atlantic and the northern prairies, members of the Jon Sigurdsson chapter of the IODE and the Icelandic Canadian Fron – it’s a pleasure to join you this evening in celebrating a community and a country close to all of our hearts.
I begin by acknowledging that the Anishinaabe and Metis people lived along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers long before this place became Winnipeg. And this city remains home to the largest Indigenous community in Canada.
Manitobans love to celebrate the things that connect our communities – the things we’ve built together, our shared stories and our appreciation of each other’s stories.
So it’s no wonder that Manitobans are inspired by the story of the Icelandic immigrants who arrived in an autumn storm in 1875 and went on to build the largest Icelandic community in Canada.
Manitobans celebrate the achievements of Icelandic Canadians – whether in sports – like the famous Winnipeg Falcons hockey team – in the arts, business, science, or in defending democracy – like the Man Called Intrepid, William Stephensson, whose statue is just across Broadway.
Manitoba’s Icelandic community nurtures a passion for history, heritage and culture. You can see that on the Icelandic signs people proudly display on their homes from south of Winnipeg Beach to north of Hecla.
You can see that in the support for Canada’s Icelandic newspaper, for Icelandic language study at the University of Manitoba or for Icelandic community organizations like today’s co-hosting groups.
That passion for Icelandic history and culture also inspires the great fondness so many Manitobans – even those who are Icelandic only in spirit – feel for our beautiful northern neighbor.
This powerful sense of connection and community does not arise by accident. It has taken generations of leadership by people in the Icelandic community who have envisioned, built and nurtured organizations and shared their passion for things Icelandic with others.
Today we are celebrating the great leader who used his voice to advocate for Icelandic independence.
Let’s all celebrate Jon Sigurdsson by using our voices to build strong, vibrant and healthy communities.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.