As population and immigration increased in the Pembina region,
lack of good farmland led to high prices. Along with poor markets
for farm produce, debt burdened many in the district. With
droughts and prairie fires, resettlement became inevitable. A man
named Sigurdur Bjornson was among the men selected to make
preparations for the group. After seeking land in British
Columbia, Bjornson met a fellow Icelander who had homesteaded near
the Red Deer River. Bjornson traveled to the area and saw that it
had water, hay lands, wood supplies and fish stocks, favourable
for those waiting in Pembina County.
Arriving at Calgary via Winnipeg by train in June 1888, the group
of eleven families and four single men faced rain and swollen
rivers before they found homesteads on the banks of the Medicine
River. More families followed, including that of Stephan
The soils of the area were not ideal for cultivation. Growing
wheat was difficult with early frosts and poor transportation,
with the nearest rail point at Innisfail, 15 miles to the east.
The raising of sheep, as had been important in Iceland, provided
staples through the herd's meat, fat and wool.
The emergence of a cash-based economy came with the opening of a
federal government supported creamery in 1899. The creamery was
incorporated as the Tindastoll Butter and Cheese Manufacturing
Association, run by an appointed manager and the producer members.
The name 'Tindastoll'-also carried by the community's first post
office-, comes from the Icelandic words tinda, a ridge of
mountains and stoll, a chair, reflecting the mountain view from
the settlement. In 1899 the settlement was renamed for C.P.
Marker, the government dairy commissioner for the region
responsible for the establishment of the creamery.
Canadian immigration policy greatly affected the settlement in the
first years of the 20th century. Adjacent districts were opened to
new settlers. Although more settlers of Icelandic ancestry
arrived, other newcomers quickly outnumbered the established
community. As well, the building of roads and bridges increased
contact with others. Markerville prospered through this era as it
became a commercial centre for the newly accessible districts to
the west. At the same time, the use of Icelandic as the language
of the community was less desirable as non-Icelanders joined the