Our History

The History of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg

The First Icelandic Unitarian Church

Freethinkers among the Lutheran Icelanders who immigrated to Manitoba after the 1865 eruption of Mount Hecla founded our church in 1891. Its first minister was Bjorn Pétursson, energetically assisted by Jennie Elizabeth McCain, the Unitarian missionary in St. Paul, Minnesota. They married, and she succeeded him as minister in Winnipeg after his death.

Read more: Our Church History

A Brief History of Our Stained Glass Windows

by Donald A. Bailey Sunday, 6 October 1996, of the First Unitarian Universalist Church - Abridged

The Artist: Fridrik Sveinsson/Fred Swanson (1864-1942)

A house painter and sign painter by profession, Fridrik Sveinsson had been born in Iceland in 1864, but he moved to Canada as a child and then to Winnipeg in 1882. Although his brother attained the rare distinction for an Icelander of becoming a Roman Catholic bishop, Fridrik Sveinsson became a charter member of the First Icelandic Unitarian Church, founded in Winnipeg in February 1891.

Read more: Our Historic Stained-Glass Windows

History of 603 Wellington Crescent

The old house was built during 1912-14 by H.W. Hutchinson, the local managing Director of the John Deere Plough Company. Its architects were Ross and Macfarlane, a Montreal firm which also designed the Hotel Fort Gary. The ornate fireplace in the living room and mahogany wood staircase in the central hallway are its most distinguishing features. In the late 1920s, 603 Wellington Crescent was sold to W.P Riley and then again in 1955 to Joseph Harris of Canada Packers. It is located on two lots fronting on the Assiniboine River adjacent to the Maryland Bridge.

Read more: History of 603 Wellington Crescent