This was mainly due to the efforts of Sigtryggur Jonasson, an earlier Icelandic migrant, who wrote a pamphlet on behalf of the Canadian government entitled Nyja Island I Kanada (â€˜New Iceland In Canadaâ€™) and went back to Iceland to convince Icelanders to join him across the ocean.
Jonasson was part of an expedition to the north of Manitoba to find a suitable location for the colony. New Iceland had to be isolated, have good soil for farming and be close to a lake, for fishing. The only drawback of the eventual site, 18 miles upstream from the Icelandic River: an abundance of grasshoppers. For his efforts, Jonasson is remembered as the â€˜Father of New Icelandâ€™.
The very first Icelandic town in New Iceland was named Gimli, Icelandic for â€˜Paradiseâ€™ [ed.: and Tolkien for dwarf]. Conditions were far from idyllic, however: low on resources, many colonists didnâ€™t survive the first, harsh winter.
Twelve years later, Manitoba officially annexed the entire new nation, and the area, now home to Ukrainian immigrants and indigenous peoples as well as those of Icelandic descent, became the Gimli Municipality.