When we started our travel bucket list, Aurora wanted to float in the Dead Sea of Israel. We spent 13 months travelling the globe, but never made it to Israel to float in the Dead Sea.
Little Manitou Lake
I wanted this summer to be about getting to know Saskatchewan a little better, so what better place to go to in order to have that adventure than go float in Canada’s own Dead Sea… or better known as Little Manitou Lake. The lake is 22km long and 1.6km wide and is about 10 times as salty as the ocean. Little Manitou Lake is about 5km from the town of Watrous, Saskatchewan; which is about 110km southeast of Saskatoon and about 175 km northwest of Regina.
It was a pleasant drive that took us through small rural towns, past farms, golden wheat fields and many grain elevators.
Little Manitou Lake is believed to have healing powers. First Nation people tell stories of families afflicted with smallpox being taken to the lake, then once they drank and bathed in the water they were cured. The lake is also said to have healing power for other afflictions and skin conditions. As stories and news of the lake’s healing powers spread, so did the development surrounding the lake.
Little Manitou Lake is now a tourist resort, with beachfront eateries, bars and shops including tourist and antique shops. We didn’t know what to expect, we found it quaint and we were pleasantly surprised.
Little Manitou Lake is a saltwater lake fed by underground springs. Its high mineral content especially saline, makes it almost half as dense as the Dead Sea. The water is very buoyant which makes floating in it very easy.
On our arrival we drove around the resort, stopped to look in a few shops and then headed to the beach. The kids were anxious to try floating in the lake. They ran full speed into the water and fell backwards, half expecting the water to catch them. After sinking and swallowing some water, they jumped back up and tried again, slower and more relaxed. Back up they came, on top of the water, just floating effortlessly, as if something was holding them up. Aurora quickly turned to me and gave me the thumbs up; a sign of approval.
Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa
They thoroughly enjoyed floating and playing in the lake, for a few hours. We could have stayed all day, but the kids’ hunger pangs pulled them out of the buoyant water and they begged to eat, so we checked into our hotel, the Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa. The hotel needed updating…but we were there for the spa. After a quick snack we went down to try out the pool spa.
Kids in tow, we wandered through the hotel, took a wrong turn and discovered the beautiful patio. As we walked along the patio we saw through the windows that the spa was on the other side. We found a back door, walked through the pool area to the change rooms, showered and returned back into the spa’s murky mineral water. Initially the kids weren’t too crazy about the pool, they wanted to go back to the lake. I understand why, we were definitely the youngest people there.
We slowly moved around in the pool sections which varied from 34 degrees Celsius (93F) to 39 degrees Celsius (103F). We found it best to keep moving between the pool sections, so we didn’t overheat. Try as we may to stand or sit, we couldn’t help but float. The water warms you to your inner core. Before long you find yourself exhaling all life’s stresses with a smile slowly creeping across your face. The atmosphere, the warmth of the water and the relaxing floating makes it difficult to think about any stress.
After soaking in the pool for an hour, we were shriveled prunes and the kids were ready to leave. Back to our room for showers, then off to find supper.
Watrous Drive-In Theatre
Our evening was spent at the Watrous Drive-In Theatre, another first for the kids. The town of Watrous has one of the last drive in theatres in Saskatchewan and the kids have never been to one. I have great memories of drive in theatres and wanted the kids to experience that too. The movies were second run, but that was OK, it was great just to experience the drive-in. Admission was $20/car.
There were about 25 packed vehicles sprinkled throughout the field. Smiling people were running back and forth from the canteen, dropping popcorn as they ran. It was a beautiful summer night, everyone especially the three of us, were excited to be there. Tired as we were, we watched to the end, and it was well worth the little bit of lost sleep. I hope the kids remember this evening with fond memories, it may be the only Drive-In they ever attend, one of our generations disappearing pastimes.
Dead Sea of Israel, you are still on our bucket list.
Final observation: Despite the famed healing powers of the lake water, I am a little skeptical. Almost immediately after our trip, all three of us were sick with ear/throat infections and needed antibiotics. Have you been to Little Manitou Lake and experienced the healing powers?