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Drive north through the Interlake to find Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, a peaceful and picturesque isle of gently crashing waves and rustling reeds. This quiet Lake Winnipeg settlement has a vibrant Icelandic history just waiting to be uncovered.
Looking for a quiet getaway this summer in Manitoba? Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park is the ideal destination for beach lovers and history buffs alike. From a historical village and an iconic lighthouse to beautiful rocky shores and scenic hiking trails, Hecla has all the makings of a perfect summer vacation.
Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park can be as exciting or as relaxing as you prefer. Choose between campgrounds, bed and breakfasts or modern hotels; where you can dine, enjoy a round of golf or spend the day at the spa.
Birders and wildlife enthusiastic should keep their eyes out for large flocks of pelicans, soaring eagles, gently swimming loons, white-tailed deer and more.
Start your journey in Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park with a stroll along the Hecla Village Trail. This scenic walk will take you past the old shorefront properties on Lake Winnipeg, where informational plaques depict the community’s rich Icelandic past.
Learn the history and take in relics of days gone by as you walk past historic buildings and monuments (like the fish station, the church and the old community centre), along with the Hecla Island General Store – where you can pick up liquor, firewood, fishing licenses and more.
While viewing the settlement, it’s also important to acknowledge the first peoples who lived on Big Island (now known as Hecla Island) long before settlers arrived. For a complete list of Manitoba's Treaty Areas, click here. Or, on your way to the island, stop into Gimli’s New Iceland Heritage Museum to learn about John Ramsay – an Indigenous man who played an important role in the days of the first Icelandic settlement on Hecla Island.
With a number of trails available, hiking is a must during your visit to Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. Start with a short 30-minute hike to the lighthouse peninsula, where you’ll find the iconic heritage lighthouse that was built in 1898, and the second, taller lighthouse built in 1926.
The West Quarry Trail is another popular option. This easy, 10 km hike is accessible from the campground and continues along a wide gravel path and a shaded forest. Get views of the marsh and end at an abandoned quarry and fishing hut.
Located off Grindstone Road, Black’s Point Interpretive Loop has recently been expanded with an additional loop (rounding out the entire trail to 4.2 km). The trail is easy and flat, with interpretive signage along the way.
A sunny summer’s day calls for time spent on the water. Head to one of the Island’s two designated beaches – Sunset Beach (pet-friendly) or Gull Harbour Beach, and set up for a day in the sand. Note that there are a number of other pebbled shores on the Island that you can also swim from – but always be cautious and practice water safety.
For even more fun on the water, head to the nearby Gull Harbour Marina for a variety of rentals. Rent kayaks and jetskis, or book a spot on the scheduled charter cruise known as the Lil Viking – where you can take in the views of Lake Winnipeg while enjoying food and cold beverages.
Manitoba’s only long course race began in 2015 and has been evolving every year since. Taking place annually in July, the course challenges racers with swimming, cycling and running -- set against the backdrop of the Island’s beautiful vistas.
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