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Winnipeg during our immigration Part 1: 1875

 

Author: W.D. Valgardson, Victoria, BC

 

Having been brought up in Gimli and having returned there every summer since I left for work and an education in Winnipeg, I’ve been imbued with Gimli and New Iceland history. The desperate first year of 1875, in which more than one-third of the settlers in New Iceland died. The facts, the myths, are, of course, all about us. It was our ancestor’s tragedy, our pain, our loss. Speeches, essays, even books, have mostly repeated the same anecdotes: the arrival in Winnipeg, the travel down the river on barges, the being towed onto Lake Winnipeg then being cut loose because of foul weather starting. The landing at Willow Point and the desperate need to get shelters built. The early winter. What I’ve found missing is context.  . . .

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