Gimli, Manitoba -Between 1870 and 1915 about one quarter of the population of Iceland left their homeland because of very difficult economic and environmental conditions, including the 1875 eruption of Mount Askia (the eruption was so huge ash blew all the way to Norway and Sweden!)
Icelandic settlers arrived in the 1870’s and established New Iceland in this scenic port town. It was a self-administering ‘Icelandic reserve’ with its own government, directly responsible to Ottawa. Today Gimili (it was named for the home of the Norse Gods) and the small towns surrounding it are known as the cultural heartland for the largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland (there are about 26,000 in Manitoba.)
You can learn more at tThe New Iceland Heritage Museum, which is located on the main floor of Gimli’s Waterfront Centre.
Each year the region draws both summer cottagers and about 100,000 tourists. The lake is the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world. The spirit of Iceland is celebrated mid-summer with the Icelandic Festival, which attracts about 30,000 people. Gimli also has a popular and unique annual summer film festival, which features ‘beach seating’ with a huge off-shore movie screen. Over 80 features, documentaries and shorts are presented.
Gimli is located on the short of Lake Winnipeg, 80 km north of the city of Winnipeg.
New Iceland Heritage Museum, 94 1st Ave Manitoba Canada