Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan: A Bit of a Cinderella Story

“The drinking water. The minerals make it denser than the Useless Sea and that is the draw card. If it was new water we would be just like any other puddle-leaping lake on the prairies,” smiles Eric Upshall, the just lately re-elected mayor of Manitou Village. He puffs up a little bit, “And now we have bragging rights.”

The waters of Manitou – which usually means ‘god’ in the Cree language – have lengthy been recognised for their therapeutic powers. Devoid of a lifeguard in sight, it is literally extremely hard to sink. The waters are rumoured to have treated everything from smallpox to pimples to liver troubles. And it is the only lake in Canada exactly where you can go through a reserve whilst you float around. If you will not shower when you arrive out of the lake, the salt will dry and your skin will glance as even though you’d been evenly dusted with flour, prepared for frying.

Some Heritage

Manitou Beach hit the highlight in the 1920s and 30s. It had every thing the then vacationing general public dreamed of and it co-stared with destinations like Banff and Jasper. At the peak of its career it counted a few dancehalls, two indoor pools, stores, motels, ice-product parlours, and a Y.W.C.A. And to harmony that pristine photos, bootleggers and brothels.

By the 1980s, however, the curtains were closing and the beach front rivalled the geriatric stepmother: even now breathing, but closing in on the loss of life rattle. A ‘cabin at the beach’ meant hauling in a granary, chopping in a handful of more home windows and slapping jointly an outhouse in the bush. The gravel pit – the place the teenagers clustered to drink beer – was the most well-known place at the beach.

What infrastructure? The pothole littered streets had been an obstacle class structures have been in various phases of rot. Nobody was at any time on the pebble stone seashore. It was a wind-swept stage. And you could listen to the final-breath coughing coming from the wings. The 3 hideous sisters – no spending plan, apathy and decay – had prime billing. The buzzards were being circling, ready for the last curtain simply call.

Then, in October 1987, the Chalet Pool burned down.

And the Manitou Springs Vacation resort and Mineral Spa – which alternated in between playing the roles of the fairy godmother and the pumpkin more than the many years – designed an entrance.

Designed on the cinders of the outdated pool it took a great deal of wand-waving for the Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa to evolve into a yr-round complex. The job begun with a collaborative group effort and hard work – if you failed to obtain shares you were not allowed on espresso row – and a authorities grant. For the initial few years the dividends were being free of charge swim vouchers, which most of the community shareholders did not hassle to redeem. Dale Hayter – a neighborhood business operator who owned a key block of shares – purchased and privatized the procedure in 1998 and set it up as a spouse and children-run business.

Although it has had its stage entrances, exits and solid calls about the decades, ‘the spa’ – as the locals refer to it – is holding its have. The salt – keep in mind it is denser than the Useless Sea – is corrosive and helps make for demanding repairs. Think of what the salt on the highways does to cars and trucks and multiply it by 25 to work out the rust factor.

20-5 years on, the Manitou Springs Vacation resort and Mineral Spa celebrated its anniversary in Might 2012. Morphed into the whole-time fairy godmother, it now employs 50 people. The resort intricate has 102 rooms. The sophisticated also properties a pool-aspect café, a present store, and a massage support. And the look at of the lake from Sam’s Steak House tends to make it a preferred dining place.

The Village Does Cinderella

Like the Cinderella rags to a ball gown, the granaries disappeared in a puff of smoke. And in their locations are not cabins, but houses, some of which are large ample to have a ballroom. The golden slipper was that in 2005 the village handed a law stipulating that all houses experienced to be hooked up to managing h2o and sewer. Although some of the residents pulled an unsightly sisters act and tried to squish their strategies into the shoe, the Cinderella variable persevered. Jogging h2o spelled the death knoll of the honey-wagon business enterprise, but it upped the appeal and assets benefit of the beach. In 2005 a reverse osmosis drinking water treatment plant turned operational. Like the pumpkin to stagecoach transformation, the village went upmarket.

Cinderella turned out to the lady-future-door and Manitou Beach has a somewhat “healthful” air about it. Predictable even. So what sort of persons go there? The two main classes are households and seniors. It is the type of put you can consider your terrific aunt Sue for a holiday and know there is not going to be any surprises. In point, it is so squeaky thoroughly clean that you have to do the job at locating significantly problems to get into. No bootleggers, no brothels. Pashing it up in the backseat of a motor vehicle although viewing a film at the push-in theatre is about as risqué as it receives.

Mike’s Beach Bar – with regular volleyball video games out back again on Thursday night – just would not minimize it as a decide on-up place. Danceland – which promises to be ‘world famous’ since of the coils of horsehair under the hardwood flooring – appeals to persons who want to polka or sq. dance. People slinky, bodies-rubbing-jointly tango types will have to go somewhere else. And, really, does it get significantly extra ‘respectable’ than leaving dollars in the honour dollars box if you do a spherical at Murray’s Disc Golfing?

With so lots of tiny Canadian sites disappearing from the map it is refreshing to know that some can, in simple fact, have a bit of beauty surgery and resume their position on the stage. And the Cinderella transformation of Manitou Seashore potential customers the pack.