Gimli, Manitoba

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Skyline of Gimli
Gimli is located in Manitoba
Coordinates: 50°38′01″N 96°59′24″W / 50.63361°N 96.99000°W / 50.63361; -96.99000Coordinates: 50°38′01″N 96°59′24″W / 50.63361°N 96.99000°W / 50.63361; -96.99000
Country Canada
Province Manitoba
Population (2016)
 • Total 2,246

Gimli is a community located in the Rural Municipality of Gimli and situated on the west side of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. Originally incorporated as a village on March 6, 1908, Gimli held town status between December 31, 1946 and January 1, 2003.[1]


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1981 1,688 —    
1986 1,681 −0.4%
1996 1,574 −6.4%
2001 1,657 +5.3%
2006 1,896 +14.4%
2011 1,916 +1.1%
Source: Statistics Canada

Gimli was settled first by Canadian Icelanders and later by Icelandic immigrants.[5] Part of a region of Manitoba known as New Iceland, Gimli has preserved Icelandic culture and language within Canada. It is home to the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.

The Canadian Pacific Railroad reached Gimli in 1906 and soon the town and surrounding region became a tourist and vacation destination for people from Winnipeg. By the 1930s the south shore area of Gimli began to see cottages replacing farmland. [6] With 68 km (42 mi) of shoreline on Lake Winnipeg, Gimli is a popular fishing destination in summer.

In 1983, the Gimli Industrial Park Airport became famous when an Air Canada Boeing 767 ran out of fuel over southern Manitoba and successfully glided to a landing at Gimli Motorsport Park. The aircraft in that incident became known as the Gimli Glider.


Gimli is an Icelandic variant form of Gimlé, place in Nordic mythology, where the survivors of Ragnarök are foretold to live. It is mentioned in the Prose Edda and Völuspá and described as the most beautiful place on Earth, more beautiful than the Sun. In Asgard, the realm of the gods, Gimli is the golden roofed building where righteous men go when they die.[7] The etymology of Gimli is maybe "the place protected from fire"[8] based on two Old Nordic elements : gimr "fire" and hlé "protected place".

Icelandic Festival[edit]

The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba has been celebrated since 1890 and has been held in Gimli since 1932.[9] Several thousand tourists come each year for three days during the August long weekend. Artworks from jewellery to paintings are displayed at the art museum as well along the pier wall that extends from downtown Gimli into the lake, and traditional Icelandic dishes are offered.

Gimli also holds a five-day summer film festival, during which films are shown on a screen in the lake to audiences on the beach.

Gimli with Lake Winnipeg in the foreground.


  1. ^ "Manitoba Municipalities: Gimli". The Manitoba Historical Society. October 23, 2013. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Statistics Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  3. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Statistics Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  4. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Statistics Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  5. ^ "An Experiment in Immigrant Colonization: Canada and the Icelandic Reserve, 1875-1897 by Ryan Christopher Eyford (map page 4)" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  6. ^ "History". South Beach Property Owners Association, Gimli, Manitoba. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  7. ^ Davidson, H. R. Ellis. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. England: Penguin Books. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-14-013627-2. 
  8. ^ Nordic Names : Gimlé[1]
  9. ^ "About The Festival". Icelandic Festival of Manitoba. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 

External links[edit]