Jón Sigurðsson
Chapter IODE

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Taken from the Icelandic Appeal website, circa 2000.
Jón Sigurðsson Chapter IODE

Iceland’s Day of Independence, June 17, is commemorated by the Chapter each year with a special wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of Jón Sigurðsson on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg. The Regent of the Chapter conducts a public ceremony where invited guests, representing the various branches of government and Icelandic organizations, are in attendance. After a short programme, the Fjallkona, chosen each year by the Icelandic Festival Committee, addresses the group, and then lays a wreath at the foot of the statue of Jón Sigurðsson.

On three occasions, the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter has been invited to conduct a wreath laying ceremony when the President of Iceland visited Manitoba; namely, in August 1989 when President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir visited; 1997, when President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson and his wife Guðrún Katrín Þorbergsdóttir visited; and in August 2000, President Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson was on an official visit to Manitoba. Both Presidents have laid wreaths at the Jón Sigurðsson monument.

The Jón Sigurðsson Chapter awards academic scholarships each year, which now total approximately $5000.00 annually. Several of the Scholarship funds administered by the Chapter have been established in memory of former members with capital funds initially provided by families and friends and augmented with Chapter funds.

In 1989, the Chapter’s Memorial Fund, initiated in 1953, was used to purchase a grand piano which was presented to the Betel Home Foundation and placed in Betelstadur in Winnipeg. The piano bears a plaque to identify the gift from the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter: “To honour the memory of the Icelandic Pioneers and those Icelanders who lost their lives in the armed forces during World War I and World War II”.


Jón Sigurðsson Chapter IODE in 1992
The Jón Sigurðsson Chapter IODE in 1992

In August 2000, a grand piano was presented to the Betel Heritage Foundation and placed in the Johnson Hall, Betel Waterfront Centre, Gimli with a plaque attached: “To honour the memory of the Icelandic pioneers and men and women of Icelandic descent who served in the Armed forces during WWI and WWII”. The Jón Sigurðsson Chapter has furnished the area where the piano is located and also has a curio cabinet containing an Icelandic Heritage Doll dressed in authentic national dress that was made by Johanna Wilson. The cabinet and doll are identified as a gift of the Veteran’s Book Committee of the Jón Sigurðsson Chapter IODE, Dora Sigurdson, Johanna Wilson, and Dee Dee Westdal”. The Jón Sigurðsson Chapter will occupy office space on the first floor of the Betel Waterfront Centre where they will house their records, archives, and memorabilia.

The Jón Sigurðsson Chapter IODE supported the establishment of the Chair of Icelandic Language and Literature, University of Manitoba, and has also supported the subsequent campaign for funds. A gift to the VIP Millennium Campaign in June 2000 for the Icelandic Collection of the Elizabeth Dafoe Library, will provide a BISON computer terminal for use in the new facility.