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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Big Point Icelandic Settlers (Municipality of WestLake-Gladstone)

Icelandic settlement began in this district in 1894 when four families from Churchbridge, Saskatchewan settled on Lake Manitoba’s shores. Drought and poor water had forced them to search for a new home. They were joined by other Icelandic families who found the haylands and fisheries of Big Point provided economic activities similar to their native Iceland. A log school was built in 1898 and a community hall in 1903. An Icelandic library was organized in 1898, the same year the first annual July picnic was held. In these early years, most travel was by boat. In 1908, the railway reached Langruth, creating a market centre of the area. At its peak, the settlement included forty families who worked hard to carve a new life out of a stoney marshland. The population began to dwindle in the 1920s. Small farms have been replaced by larger cattle-raising enterprises. Descendants of the pioneer families still reside in Big Point district, in what is now the Municipality of WestLake-Gladstone.

A commemorative monument was unveiled at the site on 2 July 1994.

Big Point Icelandic Settlers Monument

Big Point Icelandic Settlers Monument (September 2010)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.38760, W98.59150
denoted by symbol on the map above


Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques and Manitoba Community Commemorative Plaques, Fiscal Year 1994-1995, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Citizenship, page 31.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 31 January 2021

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