Icelandic Canadian

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Icelandic Canadian
íslenskur kanadísk
Bjarni Tryggvason.jpgTom Cochrane.jpgKd lang 2.jpg
Total population
94,205 (by ancestry, 2011 Census)[1]
0.3% of Canada's population
Regions with significant populations
 Manitoba 30,025
 British Columbia 22,600
 Alberta 17,075
 Ontario 13,130
Canadian English · Icelandic
Christianity (Predominantly Protestant)
Related ethnic groups
Icelandic Americans
Faroese Canadians, Norwegian Canadians
Greenlandic Canadians
Scandinavian Canadians
See Icelanders

Icelandic Canadians are Canadian citizens of Icelandic ancestry or Iceland-born people who reside in Canada.

Canada has the largest ethnic Icelandic population outside Iceland, with about 94,205 people of Icelandic descent as of the Canada 2011 Census.[1] Many Icelandic Canadians are descendants of people who fled an eruption of the Icelandic volcano Askja in 1875.[2]

The history between Icelanders and North America dates back approximately one thousand years. The very first Europeans to reach North America were Icelandic Norsemen, who made at least one major effort at settlement in what is today Newfoundland (L'Anse aux Meadows) around 1009 AD. Snorri Þorfinnsson, the son of Þorfinnr Karlsefni and his wife Guðríður, is the first European known to have been born in the New World.[3] In 1875, over 200 Icelanders immigrated to Manitoba establishing the New Iceland colony along the west shore of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, this is the first part of a large wave of immigrants who settled on the Canadian prairies.[4]

Notably, Icelandic Canadians do not typically follow traditional Icelandic naming customs, by which people do not have surnames but are instead distinguished by the use of a parent's given name as a patronymic; instead, Icelandic immigrants to Canada have largely adapted to North American customs by adopting a true surname.[5] Icelandic surnames in Canada most commonly represent the patronymic of the person's first ancestor to settle in Canada.[5]

Icelandic population in Canada[edit]

The provinces with the most reported Icelandic-Canadians in 2011 are:

Province or territory Icelandic Canadian Percent Icelandic Canadian
 Canada 94,205[1] 0.3%
 Manitoba 30,025 2.6%
 British Columbia 22,600 0.5%
 Alberta 17,075 0.5%
 Ontario 13,130 0.1%
 Saskatchewan 9,010 0.9%
 Quebec 835 0.01%
 Nova Scotia 620 0.07%
 New Brunswick 325 0.04%
 Yukon 200 0.6%
 Newfoundland and Labrador 155 0.03%
 Northwest Territories 120 0.3%
 Prince Edward Island 95 0.07%
 Nunavut 20 0.06%


Map illustrating the distribution of people of Icelandic ethnic origin or ancestry in North America
Gimli, Manitoba, pop. 5,797 is home to the largest concentration of Icelanders outside of Iceland.

Settlements in Canada which are notably Icelandic by foundation or ethnicity:

Notable Icelandic Canadians[edit]

See also[edit]



  • Boultbee, Paul G., "Icelandic-Canadian bibliography", Canadian Ethnic Studies. 29(3):82-94, 1997.

External links[edit]