Why Ice Fest now?

by Gudrun Girgis

The monument “In the Presence of a Soul”, commemorates the first large group of emigrants to Canada from Iceland in 1874. Over 350 Icelanders settled in Kinmount, Ontario with great hopes in their hearts only to face hardship and a tragic loss of 26 children. In the spring of 1875, these unfortunate people lost their work, had to leave the area and their children behind in un-marked graves around the railroad area. The raising of the monument marked a late closure to this tragic event and Ice Fest is a continuum of a variety of work towards our goal, to keep alive the memory of our people and the sacrifices they endured at their arrival to this country.

Icelandic-Canadians and the Kinmount community share a history beginning in 1874. In 2000 with the installation of a sculpture dedicated to pioneers who formed Canada’s first large Icelandic settlement, the ICCT recognized this shared history. Ice Fest will enable us to continue our relationship with this community, which has warmly supported our work in recovering our past. We hope that this festival will become an annual event as part of Kinmount’s Moonlight Mania.

Another reason for hosting Ice Fest, is our desire to link the Ontario Kinmount Icelandic experience with other settlements of Icelanders throughout North-America and to enhance the Icelandic presence in the Canadian landscape.

Almost two years ago, the idea for Ice Fest was presented to the ICCT Executive and received their enthusiastic endorsement. Fran Moscall, Diane Austin, Holly Garrett and myself to the planning for ice Fest and true to form, the members of the ICCT and the people of Kinmount continue to gracefully share their talents and experience as need arises.

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