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Memorable Manitobans: Sveinn Thorvaldson (1872-1949)

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Sveinn Thorvaldson
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Merchant, municipal official, MLA (1914-1915).

Born in Iceland, he came to Canada in 1887 eventually settling at Riverton in 1897. A pioneer merchant, he was a member of the firm Sigurdson and Thorvaldson Company Limited, general merchants and shippers at Riverton, Arborg, and Hnausa from 1907.

He served as a Councillor of the Rural Municipality of Gimli from 1903 to 1905, Reeve of the RM of Gimli from 1905 to 1906, and Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Bifrost from 1908 to 1914, 1922 to 1926, and 1929 to 1930. He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature for Gimli in the 1914 general election but was defeated in 1915. In December 1934, he was made a member of the civil list of the Order of the British Empire. He became a member of the Order of the Falcon, which was conferred upon him by the Icelandic government in the spring of 1938.

On 13 April 1896, he married Margret Solmundson (1877-1919) at Winnipeg. They had 14 children: Anna Halldora Thorvaldson (1897-1994, wife of Hlodver Arnason), M. Albert Thorvaldson (1898-1901), Sveinthor Thorvaldson (1899-1946), Gunnar Solmunder Thorvaldson, Thorvaldur Runiberg Thorvaldson (1903-1978), Thorbjorg Ruby Thorvaldson (1905-1970, wife of ? Couch), Thoridur Urania “Thora” Thorvaldson (1906-1994, wife of H. B. Sigurgeirson), Gudrun Beatrice Emily Thorvaldson (1908-1980, wife of ? Murphy), Helga Maria Thorvaldson (1911-1995, wife of ? Magnusson and ? Kennedy), Gudridur Mabel Thorvaldson (1912-2001, wife of ? McGowan and W. A. LeGrange), Thordis Olof Myrtle Thorvaldson (1913-1992, wife of C. S. Samis), Skapti Olafur Thorvaldson (1915-1985), and Olina Elizabeth Thorvaldson (1916-2004, wife of J. Martin Best).

After the death of his wife during the 1919 flu pandemic, he married Kristen Olson (?-?) on 30 March 1921. They had five children: Stefan Fridrik Thorvaldson (1921-1989), Kristin Laura Thorvaldson (1923-2018, wife of S. Thorkelson), Thorbergur Thorvaldson (1925-1991), Sveinfridur Margaret Irene Thorvaldson (1929-2019, wife of J. Wright), and Sigridur Violet Thorvaldson (1931-2016, wife of J. Gagnon).

He died at Winnipeg on 14 July 1949 and was buried in the Riverton Cemetery.


Birth, marriage and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1901 and 1911 Canada censes, Automated Genealogy.

“Four Winnipeg citizens are among western Canadians recognized by King George in New Year's honors,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1935, page 1.

“Former Legislature member, Sveinn Thorvaldon, 77, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 July 1949. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10, page 118]

Obituary [T. Ruby Couch], Winnipeg Free Press, 21 December 1970, page 34.

Obituary [Anna Halldora Arnason], Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 1994, page 41.

We thank Donna Thorvaldson for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 19 October 2020

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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