Approximately 100 donors will be recognized with pathway stones that form the new Breakwater Pathway in Viking Park. The pathway, which runs along the old breakwater east of the Viking statue, will travel from the park toward First Avenue. It will be open in mid-to-late-July in time for the 129th Islendingadagurinn.
Meanwhile, consultations with future partners and stakeholders continue. In order to break ground on the next phase, partners in the harbor area must work together to create a shared vision and plan for the park, and kick-start fundraising efforts. The Festival must raise another $300,000 in order to trigger matching funds from the Federal and Provincial governments. The $600,000 was made available last year through the Small Communities Fund that supports priority public infrastructure projects in communities with fewer than 100,000 residents across Canada.
“Viking Park weathered the winter well and the elves are busy cleaning up their houses. Most of the perennials, shrubs and trees are in full bloom,” Grant Stefanson, Festival President and Viking Park Campaign Co-Chair jokes. “Some plants needed to be replaced in June, but we’re sure the park will continue to be enjoyed by residents and tourists alike this summer.”
“We are so pleased to have created a unique space that embodies the spirit of Gimli so well,” says Kathi Thorarinson-Neal, Campaign Co-Chair. We’re thrilled to see visitation to park on the rise and that it is fulfilling its objective to make Gimli a destination location in the Interlake.”
Stefanson and Thorarinson-Neal say they hope the future phase will celebrate other aspects of Gimli’s proud history, such as its roots in commercial fishing, boating and sailing. They also hope to celebrate key developments such as the creation of the Loni and South Beach areas.
In 2014, Islendingadagurinn commemorated 125 years of celebrating Icelandic history, culture, and its contribution to life in Manitoba. In honour of this milestone anniversary, the Festival worked with the RM of Gimli, Betel Home Foundation and the community create a park around the famous Gimli Viking statue.
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