4 Day Trips Near Hecla Island

By Lori Janeson

Nestled deep in the heart of Lake Winnipeg, Hecla Island has long been known as a tranquil holiday destination for couples and families alike. Peppered with nostalgia in the form of historic villages and almost untouched scenic trails, it’s not hard to while away entire days on Hecla Island.

However, if you really want to make the most of your holiday, you can’t head home without taking a day trip to one of Hecla Island’s neighbouring sightseeing spots.

1. Gimli

Gimli is a must see location for all the history fanatics out there. Boasting the second largest Icelandic population outside of Iceland, this lakeside village is still littered with traces of its Nordic heritage. Although there are plenty of sights to see all year round, the community really comes to life every August when it hosts the Icelandic Festival, a tradition in Gimli since 1932. This family orientated affair includes entertainment, food and a large helping of Viking culture.

2. Cement Cemetery

Another fascinating historical sight only hours away from Hecla Island is the Cement Cemetery. While not quite as mysterious as Stonehenge, no one seems entirely certain who constructed this cluster of cement spires. Rumour has it that they were placed in the by a company testing concrete. Locals, however, prefer to speculate that aliens may have placed the towering structures. Whatever their origin, the Cement Cemetery is worth a visit for both its puzzling past and its glorious scenery.

3. Little Limestone Lake

If you’re prepared to travel a little further afield, why not check out the world’s largest marl lake?  Due to calcium carbonate deposits in the water, the lake turns a stunning turquoise colour when temperatures are high. However, when the weather drops, these deposits dissolve, returning the water to perfect clear blue.


“Not only is the lake beautiful, but the area also boasts a huge variety of wildlife, including bears, moose and even lynx.” — Lori Janeson


Although the lake lacks a boat ramp, locals and tourists alike also enjoy kayaking and canoeing on the crystalline water.

4. Grassy Narrows Marsh

If you’d like to stay close to your accommodation but want to stretch your legs a little, pack your sunscreen and head out to Grassy Narrows Marsh. The marsh is sandwiched between Hecla Island and the mainland, and is a hub for wildlife, including nesting Canadian geese. Guides recommend visiting the marsh at dusk, as animals are most active then. If you’re a birdwatching enthusiastic, you’ll be pleased to know the marsh has a number of blinds. However, if you’d prefer to completely escape into nature, the marsh also includes tonnes of trails, from short walks to a huge 35km hike through the most untouched sections of Hecla Island.

Whether you chose to spend your holiday hiking, visiting historic landmarks or simply relaxing in your accommodation, the rich history and vibrant backdrops of Hecla Island will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.



Lori Janeson and her husband David are the owners of the Gull Harbour Marina on Hecla Island

3 Activities for Nature Lovers at Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park

By Lori Janeson

Located between the east and west shores of Lake Winnipeg, Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park has an almost overwhelming amount of activities to offer visitors, from bike rides to visits to historic townships.

For nature lovers, getaways are all about escaping the daily grind and enjoying everything nature has to offer. Boasting miles of almost untouched wilderness, this hidden gem is a place where you can do just that.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of three unmissable locations for nature lovers to check out at Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park.

1. Grassy Narrows Marsh

Located between Hecla Island and the mainland, the Grassy Narrows Marsh is a fiercely protected habitat for local wildlife, including nesting Canadian geese and other waterfowl.



“The marsh offers visitors a chance to observe the thriving wildlife unobtrusively, with blinds provided for birdwatching and a large network of trails to take you off the beaten track and let you experience nature at its purest.” — Lori Janeson


Hardy hikers can’t miss the approximately 16 km Black Wolf Trail, which guides walkers deep into the heart of the island, where they can expect to get a glimpse of wolves, deer, foxes and beavers, along with countless birds. It’s also a great work-out!

2. Wildlife Viewing Tower Trail

Nature enthusiasts who don’t fancy a strenuous hike can enjoy a tranquil and picturesque 30 minutes stroll along the edge of the Grassy Narrows Marsh to the Wildlife Viewing Tower at the southern end of Hecla Island. The viewing tower is the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of Hecla Island’s elusive moose population. For the greatest chance to see the wildlife in action, time your visit for dawn or dusk and don’t forget to bring a jacket and your camera!

3. Sunset Beach

Is it really a holiday if you don’t spend some time soaking up the sun? When you’ve had your fill of bird-watching and hiking, why not head to Sunset Beach to relax and wind down? The chances are good to watch a flock of ravens learning to fly, a few dozen pelicans out for lunch or to see sailboats gliding along the lake.  As the name suggests, visit the beach in the early evening to be treated to a truly spectacular sunset. While families will love the exciting trek along the limestone shores, sunset beach is a must-see for couples. For an unforgettable evening, pack a picnic and a blanket and watch the sun go down against this stunning, untouched backdrop.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of city life. Next time you need to escape and embrace the simpler things, make the trip to Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park and enjoy reconnecting with nature while you recharge your batteries.



Lori Janeson and her husband David are the owners of the Gull Harbour Marina on Hecla Island

Hecla Island: 3 Reasons It’s the Perfect Vacation for the Whole Family

By Lori Janeson

If you’re a parent, you know that taking a family vacation can be a precious time of bonding and making the memories of a lifetime. You also know that keeping children interested and engaged can be a challenge.

If you’re looking for a destination that hits all the right spots both for yourself and the children, you can’t do better than Hecla Island and the Interlake region. The children will be so busy they won’t have time to say “I’m bored.”

A Vacation at Hecla is Affordable

If you’re on a budget, and most families are, money matters. A vacation to Hecla Island and the Lake Winnipeg region is an affordable destination that packs a whole lot of attractions and activities that rival more expensive locations. Enjoy a variety of free and budget-friendly activities from walking the beaches to visiting historical sites without worrying about spending too much.

So Many Beaches, Too Little Time

It might seem like there’s not enough time to get everything in, but choosing one or two beaches to visit gives you much-needed relaxation time and children the fun they look for.


“Sunset Beach and Gull Harbour give families ample opportunities to swim after a day of hiking, kayaking, fishing or biking.” — Lori Janeson


Swimming is best left for late summer vacations, but even when the water’s cold, the beautiful surroundings provide plenty of fun.

Patricia Beach Provincial Park is another great family beach with picnic areas, scenic walks and swimming. Shifting sand dunes, deciduous forest and a marsh/lagoon area gives children a lot to explore.

Nature Galore!

There’s nothing like hiking one of the region’s enchanting parks or trails to tire the children out. Seriously though, getting back to nature after living, working and going to school in the city is vital for the well-being of the entire family. The Interlake region is full of parks, wilderness areas hiking trails and historical sites ideal for recharging the spirit.

Hecla Island is part of the Hecla-Grindstone Provincial Park. Enjoy self-guided tours of Hecla Village, the restored early-20th century Icelandic fishing village, visit Grassy Narrows Marsh to see wildlife, maybe even a moose and experience the Lighthouse Trail near Gull Harbour.

A visit to FortWhyte Alive provides a unique and compelling connection to nature and sustainable living. The 640-acre protected green space is a haven to wildlife and is particularly dramatic in September because of fall bird migration.

What began as a war of the railroads in the 1880s is now a wildlife and environmental education area. Open year-round, FortWhyte Alive has more than seven kilometres of hiking trails where people can hike or snowshoe through breathtaking forests and meadows.

One of FortWhyte’s unique attractions is a 70-acre bison prairie where bison roam free. Bison viewing safaris are available throughout the summer months. Other family activities include nature walks, wildlife viewing, a family treehouse, canoeing and year-round fishing.

FortWhyte also has Manitoba’s largest indoor aquarium, a gift shop, museum and plenty of environmental and historical exhibits.

A family vacation to Hecla Island and the Interlake region is sure to provide more than just a getaway but also builds those precious memories you and your family will always remember.


Lori Janeson and her husband David are the owners of the Gull Harbour Marina on Hecla Island