Manitoba Historical Society
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David Gislason

Farmer, municipal official, community activist.

Born at Geysir on 22 December 1941, he took over the family farm in 1963 and grew grains, oilseeds, and forage seeds. He pioneered the use of leafcutter bees for the pollination of alfalfa in Manitoba and was an early adopter of zero tillage practices. He was a founding member of the Manitoba Leafcutter Bee Association, Manitoba Forage Seed Association, and Canadian Alfalfa Seed Council.

On 4 August 1962, he married Gladys Ethelwyn Fisher (1942-2012) and they had two daughters. On 12 September 2015, he married Judith Richardson. He was Reeve for the Rural Municipality of Bifrost (1986-1995). He chaired the Manitoba Farm Products Marketing Council and the Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative (2001-2008). Interested in Icelandic culture, he was chair of the Esjan Chapter of the Icelandic League of North America. Along with Neil Bardal, he was responsible for the establishment of the Iceland Consulate in Winnipeg and was considered the poet laureate of Icelandic Canadians.

In recognition of his exemplary community service, he was inducted into the Order of Manitoba (2008) and Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame (2009), and he received a Knight’s Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon (2000) and a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).


Obituary [Gladys Ethelwyn Gislason], Winnipeg Free Press, 18 August 2012.

David Gislason, Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame.

We thank Bryan Bjerring for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 January 2022

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