Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gimli Manitoba, A Sea-Side Gem in the Prairies

75KM north of Winnipeg, located on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg, is the rural community of Gimli. Settled in 1875 by immigrants from Iceland, Gimli has retained its Icelandic heritage and traditions to the present. Today, it is still home to the largest concentration of people with Icelandic lineage outside of Iceland. The Icelandic tradition has brought an interesting flavour to this sea-side fishing town in the prairies, helping to make tourism an important industry in Gimli.
When Leah, (SF partner and daughter) was young, we had a summer cottage a few KMs north of Gimli. During our summers stay at the cottage, we spent many happy days wandering along these streets, savouring its delights. On a recent trip back to Winnipeg, we spent an afternoon in Gimli, where we took a nostalgic walk down Main Street.


H.P. Tergesen and Sons was built in 1899 as a General Store, and still has its original tin ceilings and hardwood floors. Now 4 generations later, it is still owned and operated by the same family, and attracts customers with its wide variety of quality products, including clothing, books, gifts, etc.. Throughout those summers at the cottage, we spent many rainy afternoons happily perusing the shelves and always walking away with at least one "must have" item.


A little further up the road was the "Central Bakery", it's shelves always full with the most delectable treats, such as vinaterta (6 layers of a thin shortbread-like cake separated with a prune spead) and Imperial cookies. Happy memories! Although Central Bakery has closed it's doors, a new cafe/bake shop has opened in town allowing for those stolen moments of pure delight.


A more recent addition to the town is the hotel/conference centre built on the beach. While enjoying the view of the water, the restaurant will serve up fresh crispy, light and delicious Lake Winnipeg pickerel with chips. Yum! And wouldn't you know it, to make for a perfect afternoon in Gimli, stepping out of the restaurant, Jocelyn's quilt shop just happens to be conveniently located along the hotels storefront. What more could this girl ask for?

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