Long a favourite destination for ownership of a summer retreat, a vacation or just a drive for the day at the beach or a dinner on the lakefront, Gimli is known for its distinct personality.
Gimli is Icelandic and Ukrainian heritage, Gimli is fishing, commercial and recreational, Gimli is car racing, summer and winter, both gliding and the sight of parachutes gently dropping through the blue skies on calm days. Gimli is multi-dimensional in what it offers for visitors and residents and while it still replicates the stereotypical small town that is quiet at night, the listings of what to do through a 12 month period are numerous.
Host to the popular annual Icelandic Festival now in its 128th year, the second largest Film Festival in Canada, a popular Winter Ice Festival and even an annual Elvis Fest headlined by a home town Elvis, there always seems to be something entertaining coming just around the corner.
For 34 years tourists and aviation enthusiasts have come to the town site for another reason, to seek out a destination to see the story of the famous Gimli Glider landing. Let us acknowledge right here that yes, the two words sit so well on the lips that when it was first uttered it stuck…..Gimli Glider, and seldom does the town get mentioned where this phrase is not invoked.
Yes, the landing did put Gimli on the map….we hear it all the time, but had the long runway not been available the story could have been tragic and with an entirely different outcome with the loss of life both in the air and possibly on the ground. Gimli has a very significant aviation heritage and in the coming years this will be our focus to bring it to light. We will acknowledge the Royal Canadian Air Force Base that was an economic contributor to the town’s growth. We will speak of the aviation Companies such as Saunder’s Aircraft Corporation that in itself has a unique history. Today the town remains the base for the colourful fleet of Manitoba Air Services “water bombers” used to fight forest fires.
The water bomber pilots delight the visitors several times throughout the summer with their training flights over the large lake to ‘pick up’ water and then dump it in a massive plume, right in front of the centre of the harbor.
Our focus is on opening our doors this summer, partly to salute the 150th Anniversary of Canada, but mostly to finally fill the desire to say to our visitors, “yes, the Exhibit about the amazing landing is right in the waterfront area.” “Enjoy your time browsing and reading thru the material and memorabilia, looking at what we retrieved from the plane retired to the Mojave Desert after 25 years of flying passengers through the skies.”
“We finally have a full Exhibit about the world famous Gimli Glider back where it belongs for all to visit and enjoy.”
Gimli Glider Exhibit Committee