• September to November 2015 +

    Ongoing until April 2017 Washington, DC: Exhibit – Primordial Landscapes: Iceland Revealed. National History Museum, 1st Floor, Special Exhibits Hall (near Read More
  • Arts - Film - Music +

    Film 9 to 13 September Reykjavík, Iceland: The Reykjavík International Literary Festival has been held since 1985 and is one Read More
  • Cully Wilson joins hockey hall +

       http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/other/cully-wilson-joins-hockey-hall-299654551.html  Read More
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Toast to Iceland – 126th Íslendingadagurinn

  Author: Dr. Keith Sigmundson, Victoria, BC

It is indeed an honour to be asked to give the toast to Iceland this year. Having attended close to 70 consecutive annual Icelandic festivals, I have listened to several Toasts to Iceland. Most celebrate the individuals of New Iceland, who have distinguished themselves particularly in the field of arts, literature, and the humanities. They often conclude with a tribute to our heritage and our common ancestry. I would like at this time to focus on Iceland and its people in the 21st century.
Having established the first representative democracy in the 900s, we continue to trace the development of its democracy and social standing in today’s contemporary world. It is said that, under the rule of the Danish monarchs in the middle ages, Icelanders were amongst the poorest people in Europe. They were forbidden to sell or trade without the consent of the Danish monarch, who sold the rights mostly to other Europeans. During the 1850s with volcanic eruptions poverty prevailed, leading to the largest mass exodus from Iceland over the next 50 years. There were only 70,000 persons in Iceland, with 15,000 emigrating, largely to the newly established colony identified as New Iceland. By 2006, Canada had over 88,000 descendants from Iceland and the United States of America over 40,000.


Edmonton Heritage Festival celebrates 40 years

Photo courtesy of Gloria Krenbrenk Author: Gloria Krenbrenk, Edmonton, AB

The weekend of August 1st to 3rd, 2015 marked 40 years of Scandinavian participation in Edmonton’s huge multicultural festival, which took place in William Hawrelak Park in the city’s river valley. From its beginning with 11 cultural organizations on one day in 1976, the festival has grown to three days featuring 62 pavilions and showcasing 85 cultures and over 500 ethnic food choices, as well as music, dance, crafts and cultural displays.
The non-profit Edmonton Heritage Festival Association presents the festival in an atmosphere of tolerance to promote public awareness, understanding, and appreciation for cultural diversity. The crowds in attendance are of every shape, size, age, colour, religion, ethnicity and fashion. We are all in the park together having a great time taking in what everyone else has to offer.


Icelandic Canadians in World War I

  Author: Joe Martin, Toronto, ON

A personal pilgrimage to an exhibit at the National Museum of Iceland

This story began for me in August last year, or maybe it was the summer of 1889, or maybe even the fall of 1917. It is a story about Icelandic Canadians in World War I.
Last August, my wife, older son Jon, and his son Erik, visited Ypres in Belgium. The Ypres Salient is the largest burial ground in the world. And in Ypres there is a memorial to the 6,000 soldiers who died and whose bodies were never found during the battle of Passchendaele. The memorial is called the Menin Gate and every night, except Christmas, at 8:00 p.m. there is a ceremony to recognize those that fell.


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