So you are in the middle of an across Canada road trip. (Why else would you be in Manitoba?) But instead of just spending a night in Winnipeg and moving on, why not spend a few days and day trip in this region. With Manitoba being in the centre of Canada, and quite far away from all the other major Canadian cities, you probably won’t be back in the area any time soon.
One easy day trip idea from Winnipeg is a trip to Gimli and Lake Winnipeg. On this day trip you will encounter giant Vikings, Icelandic food, beaches and the world’s 11th largest lake. So let’s get started….
Lake Winnipeg is the world’s 11th largest lake and is an important recreational and commercial fishing area. For a province that is thousands of kilometers from the ocean, this massive lake is a great stand in and the beaches are full during the summer months.
For fishing enthusiasts, you could probably spend several days on the lake, with walleye, whitefish and goldeye all common.
This beach is well loved by Manitobans and can get crowded with Winnipeggers looking to escape the city on summer weekends.
Many small towns have wonderful beaches, but we recommend stopping at Winnipeg Beach. This small town has a long stretch of beach and boardwalk area with plenty of areas to relax and take in the views.
Getting to Winnipeg Beach : Winnipeg Beach is just under a 1 hour drive from Winnipeg on Highway 8 north towards Gimli
Gimli is another great place to check out a Lake Winnipeg beach. With many, many kilometers of beach, it’s another good summer time city escape. But that’s not the main reason I am recommending a visit to Gimli.
Gimli is the home of Icelandic culture in Canada.
Gimli was originally settled by immigrants from Iceland and used to be known as New Iceland. The town has done a fantastic job of preserving it’s Icelandic heritage with most of the older generations still speaking Icelandic.
Every summer Gimili hosts an Icelandic festival and the small town can get insanely busy during this time. During quieter periods there is still plenty of interesting Icelandic things to keep you busy.
The first point of interest is of course the giant Viking statue. No small town is complete without a giant statue of some sort, and Gimli is no exception.
A good place to learn about Icelandic culture and the trials and tribulations of the first settlers to Gimli is the New Iceland Heritage Museum. It’s just a small museum but there is a lot of information and there is also a dress up station. Win.
In the same complex as the museum is your lunch stop. This traditional style tea house serves dozens and dozens of different interesting teas and filling meals. But the highlight of this lunch stop is the Icelandic sampler plate. This plate features several different traditional Icelandic mains and sweets and is a good introduction to the cuisine.
Getting to Gimli from Winnipeg Beach : Gimli is only a 15 minute drive from Winnipeg Beach along highway 9.
Getting back to Winnipeg from Gimli : Getting back to Winnipeg is simple, just follow the Number 8 highway. The return journey will take about 1 hour and 10 minutes.