Islendingadaguirinn OR The Gimli Icelandic Festival

Islendingadaguirinn sounds rather otherworldly, but in fact is very much of this world, or should I say, of the Interlake in Manitoba. I like to show off what Winnipeg and Manitoba have to offer, like Lower Fort Garry and Ballet in the Park– although we may not have the drama of the mountains or the ocean, we are beautiful in our own calm way and we know how to enjoy our time together! (Especially when the weather doesn’t call for eighteen layers of clothing…) Islendingadaguirinn is an annual tradition for us here in Manitoba, and this August long weekend marked the 126th anniversary of the festival. Time to channel your inner Viking!


For anyone who isn’t entirely familiar with rural Manitoba, we have a large lake here- Lake Winnipeg. Covering over 24,000km (or almost 9,500 miles for my American readers), the lake is home to countless communities and has been for well over a century. The reason that Gimli is such a busy and well-known town for it’s relatively tiny size (5,000 people in the winter, 10,000 in the summer) is because it is the largest settlement of Icelanders outside of Iceland itself. Icelandic immigrants settled here in 1875, and the town was incorporated shortly after the turn of the century.

Icelandic Festival 2017

Icelandic Festival 2017

Icelandic Festival Gimli Viking Village Vikingar

Islendingadaguirinn celebrates Vikings, Iceland, and everything that Gimli has come from! Because our cottage is nearby, I’ve gone every year since I can remember. The highlight is certainly the Viking village- reenactors from all over North America gather to live in a small camp near the harbour for the August long weekend, and give all of us a glimpse into what life would have been like for Vikings back in the day. It’s completely free to see, and they even have battle demonstrations that happen throughout the weekend! It’s a pretty popular festival that often sees the President of Iceland visit, as well as the Icelandic ambassador to Canada. We even had Jonathan Rhys Davies, aka Gimli from LOTR, make an appearance one year!

Icelandic Festival 2017

Icelandic Festival 2017

Icelandic Festival Gimli Viking Village woodworking

Icelandic Festival Gimli Viking Village 5

Icelandic Festival 2017

Icelandic Festival 2017

Icelandic Festival 2017

Icelandic Festival Gimli Viking Village Fabric

We took the dogs to see everything, and they were the most popular people there. (Yes, they are people.) I would say that probably ninety percent or more of the reenactors made their way to the doggos to give pets and love. Turns out that several of the Vikings have huskies and sled dogs of their own, and seeing Loki, Thor, and Thorn was a nice way to remember their dogs at home for the weekend! All three are sucks for belly rubs and scratches at the base of their tail, and they were not disappointed…

Icelandic Festival Gimli Viking Village woodworking

Thor Husky Icelandic Festival Viking Village

Icelandic Festival Gimli Viking Village Husky Pets

Icelandic Festival Gimli Viking Village Husky Love

After the Vikings had their fill of three huskies stealing all of the attention we took the dogs quickly down the sea wall in Gimli and then to Winnipeg Beach to get some time in the water. Thor, who is part Lab, would have NO part of it all, refusing to put so much as a toe into the water. However, Loki had an awesome time as usual and took the opportunity to drink more lake water than his body should be able to hold. Thorn and Loki played together a bit, but Thorn mostly stood in the water looking at us all. It’s funny how much some dogs love the water and other dogs hate it. Still, a wonderful day out for the dogs!

Thorn Husky Gimli Seawall Lake Winnipeg

Thor Husky Gimli Seawall Lake Winnipeg

Loki Husky Swimming Winnipeg Beach

Loki Thorn Lake Winnipeg Swimming Husky

Two Viking puppers, just living that Viking life!

Thor Husky Viking

Loki Husky Viking

What is your favourite local festival to attend? 

Until tomorrow,
The Historian!

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9 thoughts on “Islendingadaguirinn OR The Gimli Icelandic Festival

  1. Susie August 10, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    I never knew there was such a concentration of Icelanders up in Canada! That is interesting and cultural events are always fun.


    • anhistorianabouttown August 12, 2017 / 9:31 am

      It is super random haha! It’s cool to have something like that so close to us- normally the prairies aren’t known for being terribly international but we do have our cool moments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. josypheen August 10, 2017 / 2:05 pm

    Those doggos are LOVELY! 😀

    This looks like a fantastic event. I wonder if they act more Icelandic than people in Iceland? I mean it often seems that way when you have a large group of people who live away from their ancestral lands.


    • anhistorianabouttown August 12, 2017 / 9:28 am

      Hahaha, these doggos are mooches for pets and belly rubs!! I think that the culture in Gimli has kind of morphed into half Icelandic, half Ukrainian/German (that’s the other folks around here), but the food and clothing and stuff is always Icelandic for events like this!! I think for the festival and for Christmas and stuff, they very well might be more Icelandic…. I want to go to Iceland so badly, and testing that theory is on my list now!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • josypheen August 12, 2017 / 11:12 am

        Oooh if you go i@ll look up the GPS coordinates for the amaaaazing natural hot spring we found in Iceland! 😀


  3. Ashley August 11, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    What a fun day.
    Yay Viking dogs!!
    Also I am now stalking your blog. I love it so far!


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