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Icelandic, Settlement

Icelandic Settlement: The original Icelandic settlers in Alberta did not arrive directly from Iceland, but from the United States. The move to Alberta was actually the third pioneering attempt by these people, after having originally settled in Wisconsin or Manitoba, before moving to North Dakota. But as the settlement population continued to grow, and farming conditions worsened, the settlers were willing to listen as scout Sigurdur J. Bjornson described the land in the park belt area of what was to become the province of Alberta. Not only was the soil favourable for farming, he asserted, but there was plenty of fish and water available, as well as food for livestock. The journey was long and difficult, but finally, on 27 June, 1888, the pioneers loaded their luggage and wagons across the flooded Red Deer River. In 1889, more families arrived in from North Dakota. The community at Markerville, near Red Deer, was to survive and thrive because of the distinctive spirit in which the Icelandic people met the challenges of the Canadian west.

For more information on the early settlers of Alberta, visit Alberta: Home, Home on the Plains.

Icelandic float in parade

Icelandic float in parade

Aerial view of Markerville

Aerial view of Markerville