Manitoba Municipal Heritage Site No. 21

Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument
SW 21-22-3E,
Arborg area

Johann Magnus Bjarnason Monument
Designation Date: March 8, 1989
Designation Authority: Bifrost (R.M.)
Present Owner: Bifrost-Riverton (R.M.)

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.