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Memorable Manitobans: Walter Nordal (1861-1954)

Pioneer, merchant, community activist.

Born in Iceland on 15 July 1861, he came to Canada in 1887 and settled in Selkirk after staying in Icelandic River (now Riverton) for eight months. Active in the Selkirk business community, he built the town’s first store on the south side of Manitoba Avenue on Main Street. He operated this business for 13 years before selling it in 1918. He also worked as a cook on various boats plying Lake Winnipeg for 15 years.

One of the founders of the town’s Icelandic church (in May 1889), he served as a member on the Board of Trustees of the Selkirk Lutheran Church for 30 years and was president of the Lutheran congregation. He was also a member of the Icelandic National League and a charter member of the local International Order of Good Templars lodge.

He married his first wife, Sigurbjorg Bjornsdottur, in Iceland (1882). He later married Gudfridur Gudmunsdottir (1923) and after she died in 1936, he wedded Eleen Kjartansdottir (1942). He had six children, Steinnun, Bjorn, August, Jonas, Mrs. Valdine Condie, and Mrs. Gudrun Helgason.

He died 28 March 1954 and was buried in the Lutheran Cemetery at Mapleton.


“Icelandic pioneer has 90th birthday,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 August 1948. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical scrapbook B10, page 30]

“Funeral service held for Selkirk church worker,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 March 1954, page 44.

This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 21 June 2010

Memorable Manitobans

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This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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