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Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument

Arborg, Manitoba, R0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/03/08

Primary elevations, from the southeast, of the Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument, Arborg area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
Primary Elevations
Detail of the main plaque on the Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument, Arborg area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2006
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Other Name(s)

Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument
Arnheidarstadir (Eagle Heath Stead)
Lande d'aigles en islandais

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument is a stone cairn that sits prominently on a small grassed plot a short distance north of Highway 68 near Arborg. The municipal designation applies to the monument and the 525-metre-square parcel of land on which it stands.

Heritage Value

The Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument honours the Icelandic-Canadian author, poet and teacher (1866-1945) who emigrated from Iceland to Canada with his parents when he was nine years old and later settled in the Arborg area. Bjarnason's writing and publishing efforts had a substantial impact on Icelandic culture in Canada, providing inspiration and comfort to Icelandic settlers as they struggled to establish themselves. Bjarnason was awarded the Cross of the Falcon by the Government of Iceland for his contributions. The monument, which is a dramatic presence in the flat landscape around Arborg, marks the site of the former Bjarnason homestead, called `Arnheidarstadir' (Icelandic for Eagle Heath Stead). Commissioned by the Icelandic National League in 1989 and designed by Arborg artist Nelson Gerrard, the monument also honours other pioneers who settled in the surrounding farming area, known as the Geysir District (named for a famous geyser in southern Iceland), in the mid-1880s.

Source: Rural Municipality of Bifrost By-law No. 2-89, March 8, 1989

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument site include:
- its location near Arborg on the former Bjarnason homestead
- the prominent placement of the monument near the centre of the site, with public access and gaining prominence through the flatness of the landscape

Key elements that define the monument's sculptural and commemorative character include:
- the dramatic form produced by the main triangular shape, steeply pitched and about two metres high at the apex, supported by a shorter triangular element along the vertical face of the taller triangle
- the construction of the monument using rough-faced limestone set in courses
- the placement on the major (south) face of a commemorative plaque honouring Johann Magnus Bjarnason (topped with the image of an eagle) and beneath the plaque the name of the Bjarnason homestead, Arnheidarstadir, set in large capital letters
- the placement on the minor (north) face of a commemorative plaque in tribute to the pioneers of the Geysir District, including family names and a homestead map




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1866/01/01 to 1945/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Commemorative Monument


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Nelson Gerrard



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Bifrost Box 70 329 River Road Arborg MB R0C 0A0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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