An Icelandic legacy in the heart of Canada

An Icelandic legacy in the heart of Canada

Almost 1,000 years after Leif Erikson first stepped foot at L'Anse Aux Meadows, Icelanders returned to North America. Today, their traditions live on in a Canadian prairie town.

Gimli, a tiny town of just more than 2,000, is the heart of ‘New Iceland’ in Canada, a region that boasts the most Icelanders outside of Iceland. Located about an hour north of Winnipeg, the town was founded by Icelandic immigrants in the late 19th Century.

In 1874, about 350 Icelanders arrived in Kinmount, Ontario, with hopes of working on the railroad. There were not enough jobs to go around, so after two years, many voted to travel to the north of Manitoba, where they heard the fishing was good and the land was free.