Parks Canada

Parks Canada

July 13, 2010 09:00 ET

Government of Canada Recognizes the National Historical Significance of Sigtryggur Jonasson

Icelandic Canadian recognized for his community leadership

RIVERTON, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - July 13, 2010) - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today recognized the national historic significance of Sigtryggur Jónasson, who was designated a national historic person for his contributions to the Icelandic community in Canada.

"I am extremely pleased that Sigtryggur Jónasson, an Icelandic Canadian, has been recognized as a person of national historic significance," said Minister Prentice. "His leadership in the establishment of the unique settlement of "New Iceland" and his commitment to the vitality of the Icelandic community and culture in Canada have enriched our country's history and heritage."

Sigtryggur Jónasson was instrumental in ensuring that the vast majority of the approximately 20,000 Icelanders who immigrated to North America between 1870 and 1914 settled in Canada, rather than the United States. He became the first elected leader of the self-administered Icelandic Reserve and helped ensure the economic and cultural survival of this new settlement.

"I am proud to welcome Sigtryggur Jónasson to Canada's family of national historic sites, people and events," declared Mr. James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake. "This designation will help to ensure that his important contributions to Canada and to the Icelandic community are appreciated and remembered by future generations."

"National recognition of Sigtryggur Jónasson and the pivotal role he played in the successful settlement of the Icelandic people in Manitoba is a very proud moment for the New Iceland Heritage Museum. Sigtryggur dedicated his life to the betterment of this new country he called home while ensuring that ties with Iceland remained strong. He exemplified the spirit of multiculturalism that our nation had embraced," said Norm Gudbjartson, President of the New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli, Manitoba.

Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada's history. Parks Canada manages a nation-wide network of national historic sites that make up the rich tapestry of Canada's cultural heritage and which offers visitors the opportunity for real and inspiring discoveries.

For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at www.parkscanada.gc.ca under Media Room.

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