by Irene Butler
Day trips from Regina or from Saskatoon to Little Manitou Lake (located between these two Saskatchewan cities) afford a water experience not found elsewhere on the North American continent.
My husband Rick and I float about like astronauts in outer space in the pools of Manitou Springs Resort & Spa. Our ear-to-ear grins are brought on by the sheer frivolity of weightlessness. We cannot sink! The waters, piped in from Little Lake Manitou, have an astounding mineral content found only in a few other places in the world – Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and Israel’s Dead Sea.
We move between the pool sections in varying depths and ranging in temperatures from a pleasant 34˚C (93˚F) to toasty 39˚C (103˚F). My favourite maneuver is to sit as if in a lazy-boy chair and bob like a cork without moving a muscle. A lady lying flat on her back reading a newspaper is comical.
All this fun and good for you too! Oral history handed down by First Nation tribes claim that the waters healed the sick during a small pox scourge in 1837. Their medicine men believed the miraculous powers to be a gift from Manitou, the Great Spirit. Scientific studies reveal phenomenally high levels of magnesium, potassium and calcium, promoting skin health, anti-allergen properties and other salubrious benefits. The spa offers a full range of therapeutic remedies and aesthetic services utilizing the lake’s mineral salts.
Eons ago this lake was carved out by glaciers into a dish-shaped basin. Spring fed with no surface drainage other than evaporation over the millennia resulted in the heavy mineral content, giving the water its magical buoyancy and its light bronze hue.
During the 1920s and ’30s Manitou Beach was a happening place. Watrous, only minutes away, was a major stop on the Canadian National Railway line across the country, with special trains running from major prairie cities. During the summers passengers spilled out of the rail cars to waiting taxi shuttles to Manitou. Others came by car maxing out the available parking. As many as 125,000 vacationers enjoyed the lake and spa pools, intermixed with shopping, dining (and yes, brothels and bootleg whiskey).
Between dips in the pool we soak up the village atmosphere, stopping at neat coffee shops and eateries along the lakeshore. The strains of a live orchestra have us gliding like “So You Think You Can Dance” competitors around the 5,000 sq ft floor of Danceland. Playing a round at the Manitou Beach Golf Club or going to the Drive-In Theatre are handy to the resort.
We would love to be here during the fall migration to witness 50,000 Sandhill Cranes and 450,000 geese, plus many other bird species gather at the nearby Last Mountain Lake National Sanctuary. This awesome spectacle repeats itself in the spring.
Often called Canada’s Dead Sea, Little Lake Manitou, in the midst of wheat fields, grain elevators and under a canopy of endless prairie sky is an anomaly – and a wonderful one at that. Our resort stay leaves us rejuvenated and our mood as buoyant as the waters.
Manitou Springs Resort & Mineral Spa
102 Rooms/Convention Centre/Esthetic & European Spa Services
Toll-free: 1-800-667-7672 Phone: (306) 946-2233 Fax: (306) 946-2554
Box 610, Watrous, SK, Canada S0K 4T0
Mineral Properties of Lake Manitou Water in Grams/Gallon
Magnesium Sulphate 308.38
Magnesium Bicarbonate 63.42
Sodium Sulfate 50.92
Potassium Sulphate 116.62
Sodium Chloride 1405.60
Calcium Sulphate 104.96
Oxide of Iron & Aluminum 0.28
About the author:
Irene Butler is an award winning travel writer and author of “Trekking the Globe with Mostly Gentle Footsteps” now on Kindle. She and her photographer husband Rick explore the world for six months of every year. Find out where these Globaltrekkers have been!
Photo Credit: Rick Butler