Let’s go to the beach! North of Manitoba’s capital city, on the shores of beautiful Lake Winnipeg, lies the Icelandic resort town of Gimli. While most are familiar with the stories of the French, Anglo-Saxon and Slavic settlers of Manitoba, many often overlook the important waves of Icelandic immigration to the interlake region of Manitoba in the late 1800s. New Iceland, as it was called, was a republic with three town sites (with Gimli as its capital) and had its own fully functioning Icelandic government and system of laws before the borders of Manitoba expanded to their present-day size in 1881. Learn about this unique chapter in Canada’s history in Gimli at the Waterfront Centre’s series of multimedia exhibits called “The Story of New Iceland”. Then visit the Lake Winnipeg Visitor’s Centre for a presentation on the natural history of the lake and the fisheries industry. A 500-gallon aquarium filled with local fish species and a whitefish boat from the 1940s are just a couple of the interesting artefacts and exhibits you’ll find at the Visitor’s Centre.
After learning about the sea-faring people of this prairie province, enjoy a delicious lunch overlooking the harbour at Seagull’s Restaurant. Then, spend some free time strolling along the sandy beaches, taking in the murals on the seawall, relaxing in the sun or shopping in the unique boutiques and shops of Gimli, including H.P. Tergesen & Sons, a general store that has been owned and operated continuously by the Tergesen family since 1899.
On the return trip to Winnipeg, a brief stop will be made at Winnipeg Beach, a popular summer playground known for its famous boardwalk and beachfront. Have a delicious ice cream cone or another refreshing treat while strolling along the lakefront, basking in the prairie sun.
The return route to Winnipeg will take you down River Road, a scenic drive along the west bank of the Red River that is dappled with historical buildings (many of which have been designated Provincial Heritage Sites or National Historic Sites). Let your guide regale you with stories and facts about the historical relevance of the sites and the intimate lives of the residents of the manses along the way.
Be sure to pack a hat and sunscreen for this fun-in-the-sun excursion to Manitoba’s lakes and cottage country!