Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto


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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto

It was the spring of 1959 when our club was born. The idea to form a group to entertain Icelanders when visiting Toronto came out of a conversation among friends (Rikki Bailey, her daughter Billy, Alda Palson, and Ásta Palson Lunney), at the home of Rósa Hermannsson Vernon, during a visit from Steina and Kobbi Kristjanson of Winnipeg. After deciding that the idea was favourable, the group decided to meet again, this time at Alda Palson’s home. Twelve ladies attended the second meeting; by the third meeting, this time held at Erla (Palmason) Macaulay’s home, there were thirty-five ladies in attendance. It was then clear that a hall would have to be rented, and males invited to join the group.

When Erla mentioned the fledgling organization to Sigga Elvin, a young woman from Iceland, everyone was invited to join Sigga’s group of ladies from Iceland, who were at that time planning a get-together. This gathering took place at Fanney Peacock’s home, and was where the first executive was selected and the name coined; it was also decided that meetings were to be held in English.

First Executive
President: Fanney Peacock
Vice-President: Rósa Hermannsson Vernon
Secretary: Erla Macaulay
Treasurer: Laufey McMillan
Social Convener: Sigga Elvin
Auditors: Joan Ross & Dora MacFarquhar

Members were recruited via the phone book, and to raise money for the clubs, raffles, tombolas, handicraft fairs, dances, film and slide presentations, musical offerings, and speeches on Icelandic culture and heritage were held.

Current Executive
President: Ellen (Sigurdson) Gilmore
Vice-President: Darla McKay
Secretary: Barbara Doherty
Past President: Gail Einarsson-McCleery
Treasurer: Evelyn Trites


Annual Events

For 25 years, the Club’s annual picnic was held at the farm of Erla and Cam Macaulay near Erin, Ontario on the Sunday nearest to June 17th (Icelandic Independence Day). In 1981, a choir from Skagafjörður, Iceland sang for us. In 1987, the Reykjavik Band entertained us. In 1995, we started rotating the venue, and for four years it was a fall pot-luck—twice held at Lynda and Gunnar Helgason’s Gimli Farm near Colborne, where everyone enjoyed visiting with the Icelandic horses. In 1997, Thorsteinn and Hildegarde Helf invited us to a Viking-themed pot luck at their place near Shelburne, and in 1998 we went to the Kinmount fall fair, where we took part in the parade as well as other fair activities. In 1999, we went back to holding our picnic in conjunction with Iceland Independence Day, and we were invited back to Gimli Farm once again.

In December 1978 we initiated a Christmas dance which included a bar and buffet, but after two years it was discontinued due to poor attendance. In 1994, the Christmas event was reinstated, featuring Icelandic Christmas carols and demonstrations of food preparations and crafts. Since then it has evolved into an afternoon affair with more emphasis on the children. Traditional dancing and singing around the Christmas tree, the telling of the Jolisveinner story, and a visit from Santa Claus have all become part of this event.

In our first year, we decided to hold a Þorrablót (Icelandic Food Night) in February, treating our friends and relatives to delicious Icelandic foods, prepared by club members. We also served Canadian foods for those who preferred them. This became the highlight of our year, with sell-out crowds many years. In more recent years, we have added a silent auction; one of the features has been a hand-made blanket box made and donated by Ben Einarson of Bracebridge.