Memorable Manitobans: Olafur Bjornson (1869-1937)
Born in Iceland on 28 December 1869, he came with his family to Manitoba at the age of 7 and settled on a farm at Sandy Bar on Lake Winnipeg. He was educated in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Winnipeg, graduating from the Winnipeg Collegiate in 1893. He raised money by teaching school for a time to put himself through medical school, graduating with an MD from the University of Manitoba in 1897, the first Icelander in Canada to graduate from medical school. He spent a year as house surgeon at the Winnipeg General Hospital then, in June 1898, he set up his own medical practice. In 1902, he did postgraduate work in Great Britain and Europe. He was appointed a lecturer at the Manitoba Medical College in 1907 and was a professor of obstetrics for many years.
On 1 June 1911, he married Sigurdur Brandson, sister of his friend Brandur Jonson Brandson, and they had three children: Ernest Jon Bjornson (1912-1913), Margaret Ann Bjornson, and Edith Bjornson (?-?). The family lived at 764 Victor Street, Winnipeg. He was a member of the IOOF and the COF.
He died at Winnipeg on 3 October 1937 and was buried in the Brookside Cemetery. A biographical file on him is held at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine Archives.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Dr. O. Bjornson, prominent city physician, dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 October 1927.
“Deaths and funerals,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 October 1937, page 5.
“Margaret Ann Bjornson and Alan H. Adamson wed at colorful home ceremony,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 1941, page 15.
Obituary [Margaret Ann Elton], Independent, 7 June 1995.
We thank Christian Cassidy for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 August 2019