Across the street from the hotel was an old looking store that captivated us on entry.
There were genuine hardwood floors and an old fashioned cash register (beside the computer terminal) and a stock of contemporary clothing.
The history of the store is summed up on a Manitoba Heritage site:
This General Store was constructed in 1898 by Hans Pjetur
Tergesen and opened for business on January 1, 1899. It has
been owned and operated by three generations of his
descendants. It is the oldest operating general store in Manitoba
and an excellent example of a rural community store. The
vernacular-style building is a rectangular wooden structure with
a flat roof. A wooden parapet with a bracketed cornice gives the
building a more imposing appearance. The interior possesses
most of its original furnishings.
As I looked around I saw that a second part of the store was a bookstore.
I told Sharon I would see her in awhile and headed for the books.
There was a nice selection of fiction and non-fiction but what stood out were the large selections of Manitoba books and Icelandic literature.
A large number of Icelanders settled in Gimli and area on the edge of Lake Winnipeg. Their descendants make up the largest group of Icelanders outside Iceland. While the town currently has about 2,000 full time residents there are a large number of summer visitors to the beautiful area.
It was a pleasant surprise to see shelves of Icelandic crime fiction that had been translated into English. I would never have dreamed of encountering one of the largest collections of Icelandic crime fiction in Canada in a general store in rural Manitoba.
In fact Lorna Tergersen in an article published in the Interlake Enterprise last year stated:
I believe our store has the largest collection of Icelandic and
Scandinavian books in North America,” says Lorna who was a
book representative for several Canadian publishers in the 1980s
before she devoted herself to Tergesens in the early 1990s.
“Local authors are also popular and one of the latest best sellers
is ‘Vikings on a Prairie Ocean’ by Glenn Sigurdson, a
prominent Canadian lawyer who grew up in a Lake Winnipeg
She went on to say their book sales are back up after a drop off about 3 years earlier because of e-books.
I could not leave without buying a book though I restrained myself from more.
Torn between the Manitoba section and the Icelandic section I opted for a Manitoba book, A Candle to Light ths Sun, set in the 1930's that I had not heard of before going to Tergersen's. There is a special story about the author that I will add as a post after I read and review the book later this year.
I wish I had more shopping surprises like Tergersen's. Sharon would say it is because I go buying rather than shopping and do not go into enough new stores to find surprises.