Gimli is so much more than a dwarf warrior in Lord of the Rings. Billed as the second-oldest continuous cultural festival in North America, Manitoba’s largest lakshore community hosts its annual Icelandic Festival (or Islendingadagurinn), a celebration for, and by, the largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland. This translates into music, parades, competitions, re-enactments of famous Viking battles, rullupylsa, vinetarta, ponnukokur, and a locally invented Fris-Nok tournament. Revenge the Vikings. Invade Gimli.
Length of Trip : The festival takes place over a long weekend
Cost : Free!
Best time to go : End of July, beginning of August.
Wheelchair friendly : Yes
Family friendly : Yes
Where to eat : To mash-up two Scandinavian countries, prepare yourself for an Icelandic smorgasbord. Rullupylsa, skyr, ponnukokor, and no Viking can turn down a layered vinaterta. For more traditional fare, try the local pickerel at Mask restaurant, or Kris’ Fish & Chips.
Official Site : Icelandic Festival Website
Where to Stay : The Lakeview Hotel is central, and as you can surmise from its name, has views of the lake. You can also try the Land n Sea B&B, and the Misty Lake Lodge, and the appropriately named Viking Inn.
Getting There : Gimli is 100km north of Winnipeg, off provincial Highway 8. To get there from Winnipeg: Take McPhillips Street North past the Perimeter Highway. McPhillips becomes Highway 8. Drive about 75kms and turn right at Gimli Park Road.
Note from Robin : I once leg wrestled a rather large man from Gimli. He told me there is a technique to it, but all I realized is that rather large men have a rather large advantage when it comes to leg wrestling. Also, lets get rid of the horns already. No Viking ever wore horns. They make absolutely no sense when it comes to battle, since it provides a handy grip for your enemy to smite you with. Vikings were given horns by writers and artists eager to emphasize their overall meanness. The first depiction of a Viking with horns dates back all the way to the 1700’s. We were already done burning the witches by then.