365 Canadian Sights | Day 312: Gimli Viking

Trust a Viking
| Image from Flickr/Alan Levine via CC BY 2.0 |

Gimli, Manitoba, has a recognizable name for a few reasons.

One is the fact it shares the name with a major character from Lord of the Rings. But if Fantasy isn’t your thing, maybe you recall the Gimli Glider incident, when an out-of-fuel jet landed at Gimli’s raceway. Or maybe you’re a whiskey fan, and you know that the town of 6,500 is where Crown Royal starts off.

However, we’re touching on its heritage here, as a settlement of Icelandic folk. And that heritage is evident around town, culminating, in a way, with the Gimli Viking, a 15 ft. statue.

The area was settled by hundreds of Icelandic people around 1875. Naming the town after a place in Norse mythology, there’s a strong Viking vibe here. That’s why in 1967, as part of Canada’s centennial celebrations, the giant warrior was built.

That makes it over 50 years old, older than most of Canada’s ‘big landmarks.’ The area it stands was actually touched up a few years ago to keep it looking nice.

Now, Gimli isn’t a big town. This statue is just off the main drag (a little to the south) standing above the shore of Lake Winnipeg. If you’re staying in the town, you could probably walk or bike to it from a good chunk of the city’s downtown. Odds are you’ll have to drive, though, since that’s how you get to Gimli. It’s over an hour’s drive from Winnipeg.

The top thing to do in Gimli according to TripAdvisor, the Viking super popular in the town. It’s not an official historic site, but the Manitoba Historical Society is a fan of the statue. To make it a little nicer, the Viking went under a makeover of sorts, recently, and the park around it was upgraded; more on that here.

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