Creator(s): New Iceland Heritage Museum
The first Icelandic Festival, Íslendingadagurinn, held in Winnipeg in 1890, was a one day event and consisted of a traditional program with speakers, poetry and musical entertainment and a dance. In 1932 a decision was made to hold the Icelandic Festival in Gimli, Manitoba where it has since been held annually.
The Icelandic Festival Today
Today, the festival includes all of the original components but has expanded to include activities far beyond what the original organizers would ever have imagined. It now draws as many as 50,000 visitors over a four day period, and is not only attended by people of Icelandic decent but by others seeking to learn more about a fascinating culture in a beautiful resort town.
The Icelandic Festival represents, in part, a success story that belongs not only to the earliest Icelandic settlers, but to all Canadians, because being able to proudly celebrate our ethnic origins is one of the great privileges we enjoy in our nation.