Gimli: The Evolution of a Community
The community of Gimli began with an idea for a colony of Icelanders within Canada which would allow them full citizenship and unhindered rights to preserve their language and culture. The Canadian Government granted Icelandic immigrants land on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg from the northern boundary of the province of Manitoba extending thirty-six miles to the Icelandic River and inland extending about ten miles. They named the region New Iceland.
The first non-native settlers arrived in the Gimli area on October 21, 1875. This group of about 235 Icelanders formed the beginnings of the present community. Immigration was almost exclusively from Iceland for the next 22 years. In 1895 a trickle of immigrants from the Ukraine settled in the area and by 1897 the area was opened up to any immigrant wishing to settle in the area. Immigrants from Iceland and Ukraine continued to arrive and others from Poland and to a lesser extent Germany and Hungary dominated the new immigration but other Canadians and new immigrants arrived as well.
Gimli has undergone significant changes in its governing structure from its beginnings to present day. These changes have shaped the development of the community in many ways.
In 1947 Gimli was incorporated into a Town. The town and R.M. continued to grow and the as commercial and residential development grew within the R.M. the needs of the two municipalities once again converged. As the R.M. of Gimli urbanized, the needs of the town people and R.M. people became the same making two governments redundant.
In 1997 a document was compiled entitled "Towards a Community of Gimli" and based on the recommendations in this publication, the town and R. M. began the process of amalgation.
On December 22, 2002 a resolution was passed to dissolve the town of Gimli as a legal entity. A portion of the resolution reads as follows: "WHEREAS Gimli's appeal attracted new industries and many thousands of new residents to the area, primarily settling in the adjacent and now urbanizing Rural Municipality of Gimli andWHEREAS as a result the Town provided services for many area citizens that did not reside within its boundaries and Whereas while the concept of amalgamation of theTown and R.M. of Gimli began to be discussed at the Council tables as early as 1980, The Town Council, in 1997, urged the Council of the Rural Municipality to consider an amalgamation with the simple statement that the one community of Gimli should be governed by one government andthat the long term needs of all residents would be best served if the two governments combined and WHEREAS an agreement to merge the two Gimlis was reached in the spring of 2002 and approved by the Province of Manitoba late that summer,THEREFORE, with great respect to all Councils who have served before us, we, as the last Council of the Town of Gimli, RESOLVE that the Town of Gimli be dissolved as a legal entity and live on forever as "Gimli" a place of peace."The resolution was carried with four votes "for" and one "against".
*Source - Virtual Museums of Canada - Community Memories