Government of Canada honours national historic significance of the Winnipeg Falcons
April 26, 2022 Winnipeg, Manitoba Parks Canada Agency
National historic designations reflect the rich and varied heritage of our country and provide an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about our diverse history.
Today, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Member of Parliament for St. Boniface – St. Vital and Minister of Northern Affairs, recognized the national historic significance of the Winnipeg Falcons Hockey Club. A special ceremony was held in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame at the Sport Manitoba Centre to unveil a commemorative plaque. The announcement was made on behalf of the honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.
Through incredible determination and talent, the Winnipeg Falcons rose up from their Icelandic-Canadian roots in Winnipeg’s West End to win Canada’s senior amateur championship, known as the Allan Cup, in 1920. Following this achievement, the team went on to represent Canada at the 1920 Antwerp, Belgium Olympics – and on April 26th that same year, the Winnipeg Falcons defeated Sweden in the final to become the first-ever Olympic gold medalists in ice hockey.
Named after Iceland’s national bird, the Falcons were formed in 1909 with the merging of two Icelandic-Canadian teams. The team’s early years were spent playing in an intermediate league - and despite tying for first place in their inaugural season and applying for inclusion in the city senior league, they weren’t accepted until their strong showing in the 1914/1915 Allan Cup playoffs.
By this time, the First World War was raging in Europe and the entire Falcons lineup enlisted – where six players saw active duty and two were killed. Despite losing two of their beloved players and coping with the aftermath of war, the determination, pride and strength of the team continued to shine - eventually taking them to their triumphant Olympic victory. This inspirational win provided Canadians with the opportunity to unite and celebrate as a nation. Upon their return to Canada, the Falcons were welcomed back to their hometown of Winnipeg with a grand parade and celebration in the streets, as well as accolades in parliament and from media.
The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant people, places, and events that shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians and youth connect with their past. The commemoration process is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,200 designations have been made.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, it is an honour to recognize the national historic significance of the Winnipeg Falcons Hockey Club. A team made up of almost entirely of new Icelandic-Canadians, the Falcons displayed heart, skill and determination, as they rose from their community roots in Winnipeg to become the first Olympic gold hockey medalists at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. With two of the Winnipeg Falcons lost to the war before their historic Olympic triumph, it was an emotional and poignant victory, not only for the team, but for all Canadians.”
The Honourable Daniel Vandal,
Member of Parliament for St. Boniface – St. Vital and Minister of Northern Affairs
The Winnipeg Falcons’ triumphant story was memorialized in 2015 as the subject of a 60-second short film produced by Historica Canada, known as a Canadian Heritage Minute.
The Olympics held in Antwerp, Belgium were summer games, as the first Winter Olympics were not held until 1924. Because of this, the hockey competition in Antwerp had to be held early to take advantage of natural ice.
Established in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on the historic importance of persons, places and events that have shaped Canada’s history.
National historic designations illustrate our country's defining moments. Each of these designations tells its unique story, contributes to the greater story of Canada and helps us better understand our country and our identity.
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Manitoba Field Unit
Parks Canada Agency
Parks Canada Agency
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