Little Manitou Lake….Canada’s Dead Sea
I wanted this summer to be about getting to know Saskatchewan, Canada a little better so what better place to go in order to have that adventure than to go float in Canada’s own Dead Sea…or better known as Little Manitou Lake. The lake is about 22km (14 miles) long and 1.6km (1 mile) wide and is said to be 10 times as salty as the sea. Little Manitou Lake is located 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 nice leisurely drive that took us through small rural towns and past golden wheat fields.
Little Manitou Lake is believed to have healing powers. Stories exist about First Nations people bringing family afflicted with smallpox to the lake. Then once they drank and bathed in the waters they were cured. It was also said to have healing power for other afflictions. 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, shops including tourist and antique shops. We didn’t know what to expect, we found it quaint and it took us by surprise.
Little Manitou Lake is a saltwater lake that is fed by underground springs, and has a mineral content high in saline making it almost half as dense as the Dead Sea which makes you very buoyant and makes it very easy to float.
When we arrived, 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 back half expecting the water to catch them. After sinking a bit and swallowing some water they jumped back out of the water laughing 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 giving me the thumbs up; a sign of approval.
Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa
They enjoyed floating and playing in the water for a few hours. We could have stayed there all day, but the hunger pangs pulled us from the relaxing buoyancy of the water. We went off to check into our hotel, the Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa. The hotel is in need of updating, but we were there for the spa. We had a quick snack then went down to try out the pool.
Kids in tow, we wandered through the hotel, taking a wrong turn which lead us to the beautiful patio. We walked along the patio and saw through the windows that the pool was on the other side. Finding the back door, we walked through the pool area, found the change rooms, showered and made our way into the murky mineral water. Initially the kids weren’t too crazy about the spa, they wanted to go back to the lake. I could understand why, we were definitely the youngest people there.
We slowly moved around the pool sections that varied in temperature from 34 degrees Celsius (93F) to 39 degree Celsius (103F). We found it best to keep moving between sections, so we didn’t overheat. Try as we may to just stand or sit, we couldn’t help but just float. The water warms you to your inner core. It doesn’t take long before you find yourself exhaling all life’s stresses with a smile slowly creeping across your face. The pools warmth and relaxing floating makes it difficult to think about any of life’s stresses.
After soaking in the pool for about an hour we were shriveled prunes and the kids were ready to leave. Back to our room for showers and we were 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 going to the drive in theatre and wanted the kids to experience that too. The drive-in shows second run movies, but that was OK. 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. Everybody, especially the three of us, was excited to be at the drive-in.
Dead Sea of Israel, you are still on our bucket list.
Final note: Despite the famed healing powers of the lake water, I am a little skeptical, all three of us were sick with ear and throat infections following our trip and we had to take antibiotics. If you go, would love to hear about your experience with the healing waters.