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    I chose to do my Heritage Fair report on Watrous and Manitou Beach because I
have been there and thought it would be interesting to share something I know a
bit about.  Itís an exciting place to visit.  If you really want to enjoy your
experience you need to visit more than just the lake.  I went there in 2003 with
some friends and my friendís grandmother.  I thought the sights and the water
were great.  We also had a picnic in the park and toured some of the small shops
on Main Street.  Watrous is located approximately in the middle of Saskatchewan.


1. What makes everyone want to come?
2. What makes the water so special?
3. What is Watrous and Manitou Beach?
4. How did they discover it?


1.
Watrousí original dance hall opened in 1919.  At one time, Manitou Beach had
three dance halls operating seven days a week.  Danceland was built in 1928 by
Mr. and Mrs. Wellington White.  This dance hall has a 5 000 square foot dance
floor.  This floor is actually two floors with 6 Ė 10 inches of horse hair
between the layers.  There were no nails used to build this floor so the floor
is very flexible and very easy to dance on.  In the 1920ís they could have at
least 500 people come out to the dance hall.

Watrousí water is famous for its natural buoyancy, meaning you canít sink.  You
can float all day long, you can even read a book while laying on your back.  The
minerals in the water possess natural healing abilities.  The water has been
known to relieve pressure on the arthritic joints of the body.  It has also been
known to heal skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.  People also use the
water to relieve stress.  The minerals are absorbed through the skin very
quickly to provide relief.  In 1918, Mr. Wellington White built a pool in the
town of Watrous.  This pool held 253 000 gallons of salty lake water.  This pool
had a trapeze, rings hanging from the ceiling, diving boards and fountains with
spraying water.  The original pool was torn down in 1953.  In December of 1987,
Manitou Springs Mineral Spa opened to the public.  This is the largest indoor
pool in Canada.  The water for this spa is pumped from Little Manitou Lake.  The
water has to be cleaned and filtered before it fills the pool.

In 1956, the provincial government sold 100 acres of the Manitou Lake Provincial
Park for $1.  The Saskatchewan Society for Crippled Children purchased the land
and buildings.  This became known as Camp Easter Seal, a summer camp for the
handicapped.

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2.
One thing that makes the water so special is that you canít sink.  The water is
super safe because all you do is float or lay there.  The minerals that are
found naturally in these waters possess natural healing qualities.  The water
contains many minerals, some of which are Magnesium, which is known as an
allergy fighter, skin toner and moisture retainer.  Carbonate and Sulphate are
also found in the water.  Sulphate also helps clean and rehydrate the skin.
Potassium is a natural astringent.  The Sulphur in the water naturally eases
aching joints.  The Manitou Springs Mineral Spa has been compared to some of the
more famous European Spas.


3.
Manitou Beach is located three miles north of Watrous, Saskatchewan.  The resort
of Manitou Springs is approximately half way between the Alberta and Manitoba
borders.  In the 1920ís and 1930ís, Manitou Beach was very busy with visitors
who came to enjoy the mysterious healing qualities of the waters of Little
Manitou Lake.

Between 1903 and 1906 people began to homestead in Watrous.  By 1916, all
available homestead land was taken.  These settlers were required to build a
house and live there for at least six months a year for the next three years.
Watrous became a town in 1909 with a population of 659 people.

Rural party line telephone service was installed and helped the residents of
Watrous feel less lonely.  Some people like to listen in on other peopleís
conversations and party lines became known as ďa feast for the ear of gossipĒ.
By 1910, the switchboard operator had a bed beside the switchboard to provide
continuous service.  In 1912, long distance was available and by 1951, an
automatic telephone service was installed.

In 1908 the first newspaper, the Watrous Signal, was established.  This lasted
until 1914.  The Watrous Post came along from 1911 to 1916.  In 1933 the Watrous
Manitou was started and is still being published today.

The original Watrous Hospital was a rooming house operated by Drs. Hixon and
Stripe.  By 1948 a new hospital was opened and admitted its first patients.
This new hospital had 30 beds for approximately 7 500 people that lived in that
area.  Many renovations have taken place since it was first built, such as a new
nurses residence, a solarium, pediatric ward, maternity ward, new kitchen and a
laundry room.  The Nurses quite often worked 18 hour shifts.  During these
shifts they were required to wash diapers by hand and hang them outside to dry;
they were also required to keep the furnace boiler at a specific temperature.


- 3 -


The CBK radio station began operation on July 29, 1939.  This was the only radio
transmitter between Winnipeg and Vancouver.  The minerals in the soil allow the
radio transmitter to be heard from as far away as New Zealand and Australia.
The radio station moved to Winnipeg in 1948 and then to Regina a few years
later.

This resort had a lot to offer the people who came to visit.  There were dance
halls, mineral and bath houses, hotels, service stations, barber shops, movie
theater and many more services.  Today, Manitou Beach and resort is a year round
facility featuring top quality accommodation, camp grounds, a Golf Club and a
first class mineral spa.


4.
In the early 1800ís, the Indians discovered that the lake had healing powers.
By 1837, a small pox epidemic swept the country.  The Indians fled the plains to
Lake Manitou to try and get away from the disease.  A couple of young Indians
did get sick and were left for dead beside the lake.  The braves were so weak
but they managed to drink and bath in the water.  After a few days they had
recovered from their illness and were able to continue on their journey.  Since
then, Indians believed these waters had great healing powers.  The Indian
Medicine Men referred to it as ďManitouĒ because it means God to them.



Itís hard to believe that you can really float on water unless you experience
it.  In doing this report I found out so much more about what makes this water
so buoyant.  In the early days when the settlers first arrived in Watrous, they
didnít have fancy tools or detailed experiments to figure out what made the
water so special.  It was only by pure luck that the Indians used the water to
heal themselves.  Watrous, Saskatchewan is a great place to visit and I
recommend everyone take a look for themselves.
 
                      
                                                    http://watrousmanitou.com
http://watrousmanitou.com/history.htm
http://watrousmanitou.com/spa/htm
http://watrousmanitou.com/water.htm
http://watrous-sask.com/history2.htm
http://watrous-sask.com/area.htm
http://watrousmanitou.com/visitorguide.htm

 

    Watrous-Saskatchewan I chose this website because this site is very knowledgeable and has a lot of information on it too.
       Watrous and Manitou Beach  I used this site because when I first went into it, it seemed awesome and very knowledgeable.  And as I read on, it seemed really interesting.