A haven for settlers who founded New Iceland on the shore of Lake Winnipeg in 1875, Gimli - Norse for home of the gods - is still a welcoming harbour. Take a swim, build a sandcastle or stroll on the beach and mural-covered seawall to savour the view of an inland ocean that stretches to the horizon. Browse in the resort town's art galleries, dine on fresh lake pickerel at one of the homey cafés or at the Lakeview Resort dining room overlooking the beach and harbour, or rent a cottage and enjoy own catch of the day. Unleash your inner Viking at Islendingadagurinn, an annual Icelandic summer festival that marks its 125th year in 2014, and peruse family histories preserved in the Book of Life at the Icelandic Heritage Museum, where you can enjoy a traditional prune torte called vinatarta. Pose for a selfie with the Viking statue at Harbour Park, known locally as Bill's Hill, and don't even think about passing by H.P. Tergesen and Sons general store without peeking in. Opened in 1899, the emporium is an eclectic repository of curios, unique gifts, funky fashions and accessories, including fierce Viking helmets of all sizes. Cross-country skiing and ice-fishing are popular in winter, and groomed snowmobile trails are dotted with warm-up shelters equipped with wood stoves and firewood. Movie buffs invade the town every summer, when a screen is set up on the water for beachfront viewing during the Gimli Film Festival. And Gimli is an ideal staging area for scenic drives or bicycle rides to the small towns, beaches, unique eateries and artists' studios that proliferate on the west side of the lake. Watch for pelicans, bald eagles, ducks and purple martins, which have their own downtown apartment tower.
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