Café Snaps

The largest population of Icelandic people outside Iceland can be found in the Interlake, the area of the province with Lake Winnipeg to the East and Lake Manitoba to the west.

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The largest population of Icelandic people outside Iceland can be found in the Interlake, the area of the province with Lake Winnipeg to the East and Lake Manitoba to the west.

Here, they found refuge from erupting volcanoes and hardship in Iceland in the 1870s. It’s still a place of refuge today. While lava and skydarkening clouds of ash may not be the driving force to get you there, beaches, friendly people and fun events will draw you to the Interlake.

Interlake attractions

Hecla Island is named for the Icelandic volcano that set so many on their journey to New Iceland. The island is the largest in Lake Winnipeg and home to Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park. Hecla Village heritage site is open throughout the summer for visitors to explore.

Golfers can take on Hecla Golf Course, one of the province’s best.

In the 1920s, Winnipeg Beach was the “Coney Island of the North” – the spirit lives on today with free entertainment every Saturday evening now until early September. For a line up, visit www.winnipegbeach.ca.

Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site is the oldest intact stone fur trading post in North America, where costumed interpreters share stories of what it was like to live at the fort in the mid-1800s.

Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre is a yearround ecotourism destination, with a full slate of activities from guided nature walks through the marsh to paddling a Voyageur canoe. www.oakhammockmarsh.ca

The Prairie Dog Central Railway is a vintage train with wooden coaches from the 1901-1913 time frame. Riding the rails is an experience with the themed journeys, including taking part in a murder-mystery dinner or a great train robbery. www.pdcrailway.com

Learn more about attractions, accommodations (including camping) at Interlake Tourism, www.interlaketourism.com. The Interlake Tourism Association’s Official Guide, available at Travel Manitoba Visitor Centres, also offers a wealth of information about the region.

Fresh tastes

You’re sure to find pickerel (walleye) on the menu in the Interlake, but you’ll also discover a number of multicultural meals reflecting the people of the region. Try Integrity Foods, north of Riverton on a family farm, for its fresh bread made using ancient grains such as spelt and kamut, baked in a wood-fired brick oven. On pizza nights, Fridays and Saturdays in June through September, you can enjoy the farm setting, even picking the vegetables to top your pizza. www.integrityfoods.ca In Selkirk, dessert fans will get their fix at Barney Gargles, where you’ll typically find 10 types of pies, cakes and cheesecakes on offer at 185 Main Street. In Teulon, Blue Skies Pastry delivers the goods from Janet, a former pastry chef at Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Hotel.

Gimli’s Seagulls Restaurant in the Lakeview Resort offers views of the beach and Gimli Pier from their waterfront patio, while Cathie and Fokke Hoekstra, also former Winnipeggers and previous owners of the Fork & Cork Fondue Bistro will teach you how to make great meals in the lakeside setting of the Sandy Hook Cooking School. www.sandyhookcookingclasses.ca

Eye for art

While the Wave Studio tours (held in June and September) are one way to peek into the studios of Interlake artists, you can see many of the artists’ creations throughout the year at the Interlake’s many galleries and shops. There’s the Fishfly Gallery at Winnipeg Beach, for pottery, jewellery and handcrafted scarves, and Gimli’s Mermaid’s Kiss Gallery, where owner Linda Vermeulen uses Italian glass for her lampwork jewellery. The Ponemah Arts Centre is the place to see Betty Jackson’s fabric art, located at 300 Railway Street next to the old Dunnottar Station Museum in Ponemah. Meanwhile, the works at the Gimli Art Club’s Sea Wall Gallery continue to stand up to the elements. www.gimliartclub.com

Gail Asper speaks to Free Press reporter, Geoff Kirbyson, at the News Cafe, about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights currently under construction at The Forks in Winnipeg, on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. (HADAS PARUSH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Phil Hossack / Winnipeg Free Press In this file photo, overflow participants watch a political debate from the patio at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe.
Winnipeg Free Press Chipman speaks at News Caf�. Geoff Kirbyson interviews Mark Chipman at the Winnipeg Free Press News Caf�. January 16, 2012 BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Winnipeg Free Press Chipman speaks at News Caf�. Geoff Kirbyson interviews Mark Chipman at the Winnipeg Free Press News Caf�. January 16, 2012 BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press Files Winnipeg Free Press News Café
Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism discusses recent changes to the immigration system at the Free Press News Caf� Monday. Dan Lett reporting. (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press April 16 2012
Canadian soccer Olympian and bronze medalist Desiree Scott visits Free Press News Caf� Friday. Geoff Kirbyson story.(WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press Aug. 17 2012
Actors in the movie The Divide from left Abbey Thickson, Michael Biehn and Jennifer Blanc interviewed by reporter Randall King at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe Thursday. (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press Jan. 19 2012
Crowd on hand as Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism discusses recent changes to the immigration system at the Free Press News Caf� Monday. Dan Lett reporting. (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press April 16 2012
Mike Moore, President of the Manitoba Home Builders Association, Mark Chipman of True North Sports and Entertainment, and Arni Thorsteinson, at the launch for Back in the Bigs, at the News Cafe, October 5th, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press archives The Winnipeg Free Press News Café will host Bob Wiseman and Jess Reimer Thursday.
Winnipeg Free Press Singer Flo performed songs from her new album Pieces of Me at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe on Thursday. 120524 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - Trevor Hagan / Winnipeg Free Press
Melissa Tait Snowblink, from Toronto, performed at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe on Thursday. They're in town performing at Folk Fest on Friday at 2:30 p.m on the Snowberry stage. 120605 - Tuesday, June 05, 2012 - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press
Mark Chipman, Chairman, True North and Governor, Winnipeg Jets, sits down for an interview with Hustler and Lawless during a live broadcast on TSN 1290 from the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe, Thursday, June 28, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
Vanessa Macrea at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe for Fringe Festival Promo Guide, Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN)
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