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Gimli Dance Pavillion

Gimli Park, Gimli, Manitoba, R0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/08/12

View of the promenade inside the Gimli Dance Pavilion, Gimli, 2004; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Interior View
View through the park gates to the Gimli Dance Pavilion, Gimli, 2004; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Park Gates and Pavilion
View of the main, south, elevation of the Gimli Dance Pavilion, Gimli, 2004; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
South Elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1911/01/01 to 1911/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/09/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Gimli Dance Pavilion sits within the picturesque setting of Gimli Park, surrounded by open expanses of grassed terrain and stands of mature trees near the western shore of Lake Winnipeg. The functional, one-storey wood-frame structure, constructed in 1911, is surrounded by a well-maintained older residential neighbourhood north of the town's business centre and west of the beach. The municipal designation applies to the pavilion, the adjoining banquet and service facilities and the park.

Heritage Value

The Gimli Dance Pavilion is the older of only two extant facilities of its type still operating in Manitoba and the only remaining dance hall of three built in the Interlake district. Designed by Olafur Thornsteinson, a talented craftsman, musician and early pioneer in New Iceland, the pavilion remains largely intact with its original materials and design features. Although diminutive in size and appearance compared to later facilities, it represents the popularity of dancing as a recreational activity after the turn of the twentieth century. The pavilion also holds significance as a social and cultural venue for the Icelandic community, hosting many events, including the yearly Icelandic Festival of Manitoba.

Source: Town of Gimli By-law No. 97-09, August 12, 1997

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Gimli Dance Pavilion site include:
- the pavilion's location in Gimli Park amongst a larger collection of structures, including the outdoor stage, recreational buildings and picnic shelters, all set within flat, grassed expanses mixed with stands of mature trees

Key elements that define the pavilion's utilitarian external heritage character include:
- its low-to-the-ground rectangular form with a low hipped roof and basic on-grade concrete foundation
- the exterior walls of unfinished horizontal wood planking punctuated by a series of horizontal wooden shutters, located on the upper portion of the walls, covered with sturdy wire mesh on the exterior, and with hinges along the top edges to allow them to swing open upwards
- the simple sets of double wooden doors located at the southeast, southwest and northeast corners

Key elements that define the pavilion's function as a recreational facility include:
- the formal rectangular plan composed of two sections, the large rectangular dance floor and the enclosed promenade surrounding it on all sides
- the roof structure composed of exposed raised-chord trusses spanning the central gable to permit the large open unobstructed expanses of the interior, with basic eaves spanning the promenade
- the dance floor partially enclosed by unfinished wood-frame walls in each corner and otherwise delineated by stretches of open-support chamfer columns and brackets, with the lower portion of the walls filled in with sturdy wire mesh
- the small stage in the northwest corner of the dance floor
- the durable finishes and details, including the maple dance floor, the decorative V-joint corners of the promenade floor, the prominent brackets supporting the promenade roof, etc.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type


Park Fixture


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Gimli 62 2nd Street Gimli MB

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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