The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Monday, August 5, 2019 – 2:00 p.m.
Friends, Manitobans, voyagers on a journey through culture and history – it’s a pleasure to join you for the 130th Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.
We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.
I acknowledge that the Anishinaabe and Metis people lived here long before this place became known as Gimli or the Manitoba Interlake. And this region remains home to a large and vibrant Indigenous community.
As the festival program says, we have come here today to ‘take a Viking voyage’ and to celebrate the story of a resilient community with deep roots on the shores of Lake Winnipeg and a close emotional connection to Canada’s North Atlantic neighbour.
Of course we’re here because there’s just no better place to be on a summer weekend than Gimli.
Manitobans enjoy visiting Gimli for its beaches and for the ever-changing view of our inland sea.
But they love Gimli for a thousand and one other reasons – for the festivals, the history, the smoked fish, the artists and performers, for that special feeling you get walking the beach or strolling the streets.
We love Gimli because of the kind of community that has been built here. It’s a community that was established through extreme hardship and exhausting labour. It’s a community that was nourished on love and passion.
So it is not surprising that one of the oldest festivals in this entire province was established right here.
It’s not surprising that love and passion continue to animate this festival.
Gimli and this festival are what they are today because of the commitment of countless volunteers, donors and community leaders who provide ideas, financial support and energy to make things happen here.
Starting not long after tomorrow, those volunteers, philanthropists and leaders will start using that energy, that support and those ideas to make this festival one of the highlights of Manitoba’s 150th anniversary year.
To all who make this possible, thank you for giving Manitobans one more great thing to celebrate.