Travel

Into the Viking heart of North America’s New Iceland

Episode 4

Come along deep into the viking hearts of New Icelanders — from Gimli, Manitoba to Mountain, North Dakota. Two towns divided by a border, but inextricably linked by their surprising and storied Icelandic roots. 

  • Published Apr 30, 2024
  • Updated May 02
A Viking monument in Gimli, Manitoba on the shores of Lake Winnipeg.
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Foam swords slice through the air amidst fun carnage while villagers eat ice cream on the shores of Lake Winnipeg — this is Gimli, Manitoba’s annual Icelandic Festival. Complete with Viking battle reenactments, sandcastle contests, golf tournaments and more, this annual festival has been around since 1890, the second-oldest continuous ethnic festival in North America. And thanks to award-winning producer and storyteller Robert Reid, we have front-row seats. 

Next, we head south to Gimli’s US sister community, Mountain, North Dakota, to learn more about these deep cross-border bonds. Through all this, acclaimed singer-songwriter Lindy gives us a lesson in the geography of music — how the culture and landscape of Canada’s New Iceland shaped him and his art.

First aired in 2020, we pulled this fan favourite from our Black Cabin Studio production archives for good reason. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Gimli’s Fjallkona (Maid of the Mountain celebrations), which takes place from Aug. 2 to 5, 2024. It’s a remarkable fêting of the wisdom and leadership of New Iceland’s female elders.

Special thanks to James Gray for our theme song music. 

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