A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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Subject Profile: Sigursteinn Oddson and H.P. Tergesen

Sigursteinn Oddson and H.P. Tergesen

Sigursteinn Oddson and H.P. Tergesen were just kids when a devastating volcano erupted in their native Iceland. It caused brutal hardships and forced many to search for a new more promising home. In 1883, Sigursteinn immigrated to Canada. H.P. followed in 1887. They came to a place called "New Iceland," a self-governing reserve granted to Icelanders by the Government of Canada -- the centre of this area is now known as Gimli, Manitoba.

Both young men set out to start a new life. But one was more successful than the other. H.P. Tergesen opened his own store in 1899. It became the community's centre-point of Icelandic culture and tradition and continues today as the busiest store in Gimli, run by Tergesen's descendants.

Sigursteinn Oddson, however, was almost broken by the hardships of starting over. Clearing Manitoba swampland, he struggled with reluctant crops, land office bureaucrats and alcoholism. Hard work wasn't enough and in the end his family was splintered in pieces all across Canada.


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