Historic Sites of Manitoba: Jon Bjarnason Academy (652 Home Street, Winnipeg)
In 1913, a private Icelandic school was established by cleric Jon Bjarnason and located in a rented building at 720 Beverley Street. On his death the following year, it was renamed in his honour. In 1923, the school moved to a two-storey building at 652 Home Street, measuring 45 feet by 68 feet, that was newly built by contractor Asmundur Petur Johannson at a cost of about $20,000.
The school operated at this location until the end of the 1939-1940 school year when it closed permanently. The building was later used as a communal residence. Details about school operations are contained in an MEd thesis written in 1960 by former teacher Roy Herbert Ruth.
The other teachers at the Jon Bjarnason Academy were Baldur Jonsson (1913-1914), Jonas Jonasson (1913-1914), Hjortur Jonas Leo (1875-1931) (1914-1915, 1917-1919, 1922-1926), J. G. Johannson (1914-1916), Miss S. E. Johannesson (1915-1916), Miss Margaret Paulson (1916-1917), Olafur T. Anderson (1916-1917), Miss Thorstina Jackson (1917-1919), Elin Salome Halldorson (1919-1936), Asta Austmann (1919-1920), Miss May Anderson (1920-1922), E. Thorlakson (1922-1923), Rev. R. O. Sigmond (1924-1925), H. W. M. Eastvold (1925-1926), Miss Gudlaug Geir (1925-1926), Miss V. Bleakley (1926-1929), J. O. Bildfell (1926-1928), V. G. Clark (1927), Theodore Sigurdson (1928-1930), Agnar Rae Magnusson (1929-1940), Miss Beatrice Gislason (1932-1935), Roy Herbert Ruth (1934-1936), Tryggvi Julius Oleson (1936-1938), Miss Elva Eyford (1936-1939), Mrs. Matthildur Frederickson (1938-1940), Miss J. Belton (1939-1940).
Photos & Coordinates
City of Winnipeg Building Permit 1516/1923, City of Winnipeg Archives.
A History of Education of the Icelanders in Manitoba by Roy Herbert Ruth, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, 1960.
We thank Nathan Kramer and Janis Magnusson for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 15 April 2023