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Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery

Highway 9 and PR 231, Gimli, Manitoba, R0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/06/27

Contextual view, from the west, of the Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery, Gimli, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2007
Contextual View
Detail view of a gravemarker in the Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery, Gimli, 2007; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2007
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Other Name(s)

Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery
Gimli Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery
Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery - 1875
Cimetière des colons islandais - 1875
Cimetière des colons islandais de Gimli

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/01/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery is a tree-sheltered burial site marked with a granite monument and two headstones and located near some residential and commercial properties alongside a main road in Gimli. The municipal designation applies to the small parcel of land.

Heritage Value

The Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery, a tidy landscaped site with few physical symbols of its purpose, is the first Icelandic cemetery established in Manitoba and the oldest Icelandic public cemetery in Canada. Opened in 1875 on a tract of land that was granted by the Government of Canada and initially called the Republic of New Iceland, the cemetery is an important link to the Icelandic pioneers who settled along the western shore of Lake Winnipeg. It also is significant as a burial and memorial site for victims of the 1876-77 smallpox epidemic, a great tragedy that decimated settlers and Aboriginal peoples in the Interlake region. The well-kept cemetery is a poignant historical landmark that recognizes the struggles of early Icelandic immigrants in the Gimli area.

Source: Rural Municipality of Gimli By-law No. 07-0028, June 27, 2007

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the site character of the Icelandic Pioneer Cemetery include:
- its location just south of the intersection of two provincial roads in Gimli on relatively flat and grassed grounds, with a shelter belt of evergreen and deciduous trees and a clump of mature trees within
- the fence and gateway bearing the cemetery's name

Key elements that define the cemetery's heritage character and memorial function include:
- the burials, including their east-west orientation
- the few headstones with engravings
- the large granite monument on a concrete base commemorating the victims of the 1876-77 smallpox epidemic
- the public access




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1875/01/01 to 1875/12/31

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration
Peopling the Land
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Gimli 62-2nd Avenue Box 1246 Gimli MB R0C 1B0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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