Soggy June a wet blanket for cottagers, business owners in Gimli

During the summer months, the beach in Gimli, Man., is usually packed with people swimming, sailing or enjoying a weekend getaway, but this season’s rainy weather has left some cottage and business owners feeling blue. 

In spite of the rain on Wednesday afternoon, some people in the Interlake town, on the west side of Lake Winnipeg, zipped up their rain jackets and chose to take a stroll along the beach.

That included Rob Trachtenberg, who is vacationing in Gimli at a family-owned cottage. 

“We’re trying to make the best of the weather,” he said.

“It’s been unsatisfactory to say the least, waiting for the sunshine.”

A man speaks into a microphone wearing a blue shirt and baseball cap.
Rob Trachtenberg, who is staying at a family-owned cottage in Gimli, described the weather as ‘unsatisfactory.’ (CBC)

Trachtenberg said his family has been going for walks and doing some activities around the cottage, but things like cutting the rapidly growing grass, keeping their pet’s dirty paws from tracking mud indoors and swatting away mosquitos have made some moments unenjoyable. 

According to data from Environment Canada data, Gimli had 110.3 millimetres of rain in June — a jump of nearly 50 per cent over the 10-year average of 75.61 millimetres.

On Wednesday, one family sat on the beach under an umbrella listening to music, as a nearby playground and volleyball court sat empty. 

Most summers, “Gimli doesn’t look like this,” said John Panting, who was out collecting rocks with his wife along the shore.

“Normally it’s packed with people canoeing, sailing and in the water,” he said. His family usually comes up to the cottage during the week to avoid big crowds.

“It’ll affect revenue for people who make money off the beach, because the summer is a big time to get away from our cold winters.”

A closeup of the sailboats in Gimli's harbour.
Sailboats remain near the shoreline in Gimli as people seemed to be trying to stay out of the rain on Wednesday afternoon. (CBC)

While the number of memberships at the Gimli Yacht Club hasn’t decreased since last summer, sailing instructor Samuel Reutcky said there have been fewer sailboats leaving the harbour this year.

“There’s definitely been a decrease in boat traffic around the harbour, just because no one wants to go out with all this rain. It’s just been pretty bad, and everyone is just trying to stay home and stay dry.”

Reutcky teaches a week-long sailing camp to children and adults, but he hasn’t been able to provide as many lessons to students as he usually would because of the rain. 

Interlake Brewing Company, a family-run microbrewery that’s opened its brick-and-mortar location for its first full summer, is in a similar situation. 

A restaurant patio is soaked in water after a rainstorm.
Restaurant server and supervisor Dee Dee Miyai at Interlake Brewing Co. in Gimli said they’ve had to cancel shifts when the patio closes due to the rainy weather. (CBC)

Tables and chairs on the patio were soaked with water as puddles sprinkled the patio. 

“With the rain, we’re cancelling shifts daily,” restaurant server and supervisor Dee Dee Miyai said. 

“We’re constantly watching the weather, and it’s been a really rainy season.”

Miyai said the restaurant is at full capacity when it’s hot outside, especially when there’s live music, guest chefs or trivia night on the patio, but the rainy weather has made business a bit more challenging. 

Claire Gillis, who has lived in Gimli for 25 years, had two words to sum up her summer so far.

“It’s wet.”

While the area has had a few rainy summers in the past, Gillis said this one seems a little “weird,” since it started out well, but has been hit by a wave of rainy days lately.

A woman wearing a navy raincoat speaks into a microphone near a beach.
Gimli resident Claire Gillis says she hopes the weather improves, but ‘I am from the Maritimes, so the wet doesn’t bother me.’ (CBC)

Even so, she thinks people with cottages in the area have been visiting “rain or shine” so they can make the most of their summer and be a part of what’s happening in the community. 

“It’s a little sad for tourism, maybe, and that sort of thing,” she said. “But I am from the Maritimes, so the wet doesn’t bother me.”

Manitoba beach town trying not to let soggy start to summer dampen their spirits

1 hour ago

Duration 2:23

CBC’s Zubina Ahmed visits Gimli, Man., where visitors, residents and businesses have struggled through an unusually wet start to the summer season.