About 45 minutes north of Winnipeg, along Lake Winnipeg, sits the fishing community of Gimli. It’s the Largest Icelandic Community outside of Iceland and its been that way for decades. And what’s one of the things Icelanders are famous for… Vikings!
To celebrate their history and long colourful heritage, they put on an annual Icelandic Festival, held durning the first long weekend in Aug.
Note, its a very popular event that takes place in Manitoba. Come early to find a parking spot because it turns into a circus with all the people.
Viking Village – Dressed in traditional authentic viking regalia, these vikings are here 24 hours a day for the duration of the festival. They work, feast, play, get married, sleep and even go into battle right here.
Learn more about Gimli’s Icelandic Festival – icelandicfestival.com
Along Hwy 8, near Morden’s Meadow’s, is the Arnes Farmer’s Market
All kinds of products were being sold here. Everything from Antiques to modern day products to fruits & veggies, to home cook baking (Delicious baking!), Books, and so much more!
There was a busker, who was quite good and very animated with facial expressions.
Dragonfly – 5ft x 5ft and about 2ft off the ground – this was impressive!
Speaking with a husband & wife team (names completely elude me…ugh!) about their carvings, its quite a great production they do together. First, they salvage old wood poles that are ready to be destroyed. However, he take the already aged and full of character poles and gets to work on creating artistic pieces. Once he finishes the sculpture, his wife does the finishing touches of sanding & varnishing, a real team effort.
Let me introduce you to by buddy, Mike Ranta & his faithful companion Spitzii. These two characters are today’s modern day voyageurs. Along for the adventure is the expedition’s photojournalist, David Jackson, who in his own right is definitely an adventurer.
So here’s what’s happened, Mike has not only canoed Canada from coast to coast, he’s done it twice! As a result of these great paddles, he’s the world record holder of having done it solo and having completing the trip in a single season.
So what’s he doing in Lake Winnipeg near Gimli? He’s in the middle of canoeing Canada for a Third time! Along for the adventure is David, who has joined Mike & Spitzii from the beginning of this adventure.
Back on April 1st 2017, they began their journey in Bella Bella BC and headed east through the rockies. I can’t give away any of their stories, because let’s face it, its theirs to tell at the end of the adventure. I will say, they had to endure solitude, relentless elements, nature, wildlife, food & water shortage, and other adventures within their adventure.
Live location updates – Mike is carrying a beacon which tracks his every movement. Go to his website and locate this whereabouts on his map and if you get an opportunity….go meet the the three companions while they paddle Canada! I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t pass up on a good cold beer either.
You can read about Mike’s & Spitzii’s previous journey through his website and be sure to check out his book. Oh, and check out the baby moose he saved in during his last adventure – video here: Baby Moose Rescue
Along the TransCanada Hwy, east of Winnipeg, there is a place called Geppetto’s (as in Pinocchio’s Geppetto).
Originally, Geppetto’s was all about Wood products for Home & Garden. It’s s place to get lawn and garden furniture that John (aka: Geppetto) was making out of this workshop.
Over the years, along with his wife Sandy, they added a small snack shop and miniature golf course.
It’s been almost 25 years, but unfortunately for their customer’s, Geppetto and his wife are selling the business with hopes that someone will continue with Geppetto’s, as they head into a new chapter of their life…. retirement.
Bunnock or “Game of Bones” has been compared to bowling and curling, and is believed to have been created by Russian Soldiers to pass the time while stationed in Serbia during the 19th Century.
Two teams stand on opposite ends of the field and take turns trying to knock down each other’s row of bones. This is done by throwing more bones at the standing bones, and must be done in a specific order.
During the 20th Century, Russian & German immigrants who settled in Saskatchewan had introduced Bunnock to the community, where it became very popular in Macklin SK. This is where the annual World Bunnock Championships are held.
I happen to really like Camrose, so it was unfortunate that I couldn’t stay longer. However, I did go for a walk, captured a few images, and later visited with a good friend.
Why do I like Camrose? It has to do with the people.
See, I had lived near Camrose a few years ago and when I left, it was the people I missed the most. The people I met in Camrose were super friendly as well as having a strong sense of community and work ethic that I really appreciated.
Edson AB – Visitor Centre – Galloway Station Museum
Shari, the manager, gave me a tour of their museum, which was filled with a lot interesting history. However, the part I really enjoyed was the back-stories of the historical items.
If you ever get the opportunity to get an actual tour (one on one) of any museum, the tour guides are a wealth of information that goes beyond what you read about on their information signs throughout the museum.
In this particular case, Shari shared with me some of the actual funny & interesting stories about the items in their museum, which included who the previous owners of the relics belong to, giving the items much more depth.
There were 4 particular items that caught my attention (there were more, but here are my top 4)…
#1 – 138 year old Printing Press that weighs well over 800lbs. Build in 1878, this Peerless Printing Press is… get a load of this, its still in operation! The museum prints coasters and other in-house materials, as well as giving demo’s to schools. Very cool!
The printing press was used to make these coasters, which tell a story of Edson’s “Jack the Frog” (1870 – 1956).
#2 – Old Movie Projector – One of the locals (back in the days) was a “director, actor, and film producer” who brought a little entertainment to this Coal & Lumber community.
#3 – Telegraph Key – You’d have to be quite proficient in Morse Code to use this.
#4 – “Speeder” – A one person, human powered railway vehicle. (This thing got me thinking…. Wouldn’t it be cool to travel and see Canada like no one else has on this thing!? Cool! If anyone has a few contacts, I’d consider doing it!)
There was some other really neat relics but you’ll have to make a point of stopping in during your Canadian Travels and check them out for yourself. It’s worth it.
Shari and the Edson Rotory Club invited me stay for their BBQ lunch and share a few of my travel stories, including and explaining a Manitoba Social.
They were a great group of people and I hope I get the opportunity to meet with them again.
What is a Manitoba Social?
For those outside of Manitoba, a Social has been around for decades! Its a Party that’s put on by the best friends and family members of the Bride and Groom. Essentially, a large hall of a community centre (or similar) is rented out for a dance. People buy tickets to come out, drink, socialize, door prizes, and dance the night away.
At the end of the night, the profits from the Social are given to the Bride & Groom, which is a gift to help them get started in their life’s journey. Socials are hugely popular throughout the winter season and everyone is welcome to come out and enjoy!
As you enter Coombs BC, there is no doubt of what you just saw. The Old Country Market is famous for their Goats on the Roof, which is located right on the edge of the road, 2326 Alberni Hwy. You can’t miss it!
The market consists of gift shops, restaurants, garden supplies, a farmer’s market, along with buskers! This is a nice little area to explore and enjoy!
Gotta love it when kids are brave enough to play in public.
Great musical talent by this two young kids, way to go!
I had to pass this information onto you because I thought it was a brilliant idea…
There’s a guy in the USA who has been living out of the van for the past few years. He’s gone and purchased a Gym Membership from 2 of the biggest national fitness chains who have gyms in almost all major cities.
He’s found that he needed two memberships from the 2 separate gyms because each establishment doesn’t always have their gym in the city he is visiting. But he always able to find one or the other, not only allowing him to have a hot shower whenever he wants, but he gets full use the gym, track, swimming pools, sauna and other benefits…. while traveling!
He’s worked out his “costs of living” and according to him, both memberships have more than paid for themselves in benefits in just a little over 3 months.