Norse myths inspire new park surrounding Gimli's Viking statue

Viking Park includes three gardens with indigenous plants, grasses and flowers: the Troll Storm Garden, Elf Garden, and Breakwater Garden.

Opening of park coincides with start of Islendingadagurinn

Viking Park includes three gardens with indigenous plants, grasses and flowers. The park's official grand opening happens Saturday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Visitors to Gimli's famous Viking statue can walk among trolls and elves once a new park opens this weekend.

Viking Park includes three gardens with indigenous plants, grasses and flowers: the Troll Storm Garden, Elf Garden, and Breakwater Garden.

Each section includes different elements of Norse mythology, with troll faces carved into stones and tiny elf houses. In Norse legends, trolls turn to stone and elves are highly regarded, according to a news release from Islendingadagurinn.

The opening of the garden on Saturday coincides with the 128th anniversary of the Icelandic festival, which celebrates the contributions of Icelandic people and culture in Manitoba.

The opening of the garden on Saturday coincides with the 128th anniversary of the Icelandic festival. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

"We worked with the community every step of the way and are proud to have created an authentic and magical Icelandic experience that is unlike any other park in Canada," Grant Stefanson, co-chair of the Viking Park campaign, said in a news release.

Around 200,000 people visit the Viking statue in Gimli every year, said Kathi Thorarinson Neal, co-chair of the Viking Park campaign.

The campaign raised nearly $1 million for the park. People who contributed inscribed messages on stones that form paths through the park.

The Viking statue was first erected in 1967 to mark Canada's 100th anniversary.

Islendingadagurinn runs from Aug. 4 to 8.

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