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Little Manitou Lake: A Short Glimpse of its History

Located in a glacier-scooped valley near Watrous, Saskatchewan, Little Manitou Lake is also known as Manitou Beach. The lake is fed by underground springs and has a healing reputation for being formed by ebbing glaciers from the Ice Age.

Little Manitou Lake or Manitou Beach, as other locals call it, is located in a glacier-scooped valley of Watrous, Saskatchewan. It is a saltwater lake formed by ebbing glaciers dated back from the recent Ice Age and is fed by underground springs said to have healing properties.

The beach started to fascinate travelers at the beginning of the 20th century. A report from 2019 stated that the tourist attraction has 150,000 visitors every year as locals and tourists are enchanted by this lake’s natural wonder. Despite its similarity to the famous Carlsbad Czech spa, more and more people are both interested and captivated by visiting this town and this gem of a place.

The Little Manitou Lake’s Water Properties

Little Manitou Lake’s saline waters are five times higher than the ocean, so buoyant it is almost impossible to sink. Minerals such as magnesium, sodium, and potassium salts are present which makes the water appear a metallic bronze. Locals and visitors from other continents bathe and stop by for its healing properties, though is no research data backing this claim.

They mentioned that it cured skin problems, arthritis, and joint pains. Its natural oils were extracted and made lotions, mud masks, and hair tonic and distributed in stores across Canada.

Other Infrastructures Built During That Time

While Little Manitou Lake’s recognition has brought the town a larger number of visitors annually, this paved the way for other commercial facilities to spring up and take advantage of this favorable circumstance.

Chalet Swimming Pool

The facility opened somewhat in 1929 or 30 and was the largest indoor pool of its kind in North America. Operated for a year without a roof, the admission during that time was 25 cents and you can enjoy a whole day of relaxation as you take a dip in its refreshing waters.

Unfortunately, the pool was destroyed by fire in October 1983. It reopened in 1987 and was then called Manitou Springs Mineral Spa then, later on, built a 60-room hotel building to better accommodate guests who wish to stay for a night of two. This successful renovation was made public in September 1991.

White’s Pool

Opened in 1922, the pool was initially a company that was supposed to install a water supply system but due to lack of financial resources, Mr. Wellington White was left with water pipes which were eventually used to get water from the lake.

Some of the amenities include diving boards and other water equipment used by the public. Demand was so high you had to wait in line just to get inside of the facility. In 1953, the White’s Pool was demolished.

Quick History of Little Manitou Lake

The discovery of the lake can be traced to 1837 when Dan Kennedy, an Assiniboine on the Montmartre Reserve shared this legend. When an Indian tribe was fleeing from the smallpox epidemic, two of their people caught it and became ill; they decided to take a rest when they saw the lake. Morning came and they had to leave these two men behind. To cool their fever, they dragged themselves to the edge of the lake to take a bath and drink the saltwater.

After two days of drinking and bathing the water, it cured their sickness and was fortunate to catch up with their tribe. It was later than claimed that the waters have great therapeutic properties and treated with great respect from Indigenous tribes the Great Lakes of the east to the Rocky Mountains of the west. Medicine men regarded the lake as “Manitou” which means “Lake of Good Spirit”.

Years went on and it retained its name which is still addressed today as Little Manitou Lake.

When’s the Perfect Time to Visit?

To fully enjoy the lake, summer (June to August) would be perfect if you plan to take a dip in the waters. This is where visitors usually flood the place as there are also some other tourist spots to go to other than the lake.

Winter would be an unlikely time to visit the lake but cottages are available for short-term stay for guests who wish to stay and chill while relishing the cold breeze.

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