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Manitou Beach

Resort village, pop 212, located 5 km N of Watrous on Hwy 365. The resort developed early in the 20th century when settlers discovered the mineral waters of Little Manitou Lake, long known to the region’s indigenous population. The resort village was incorporated in 1919, and excursion trains brought vacationers and health-seekers from across the prairies to the lake and the spas that developed. Danceland, built in 1928, became famous for its 5,000-square-foot maple dance floor, cushioned by a thick layer of horse hair. In the 1930s, as a relief project, the provincial government began the development of a provincial park at the lake and constructed the fieldstone buildings which were later taken over by the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, becoming Camp Easter Seal. The wheelchair-accessible resort now provides summer vacation opportunities for special children. Manitou Beach declined during the Depression and subsequent years, but entered a period of substantial growth in the 1980s and 1990s due to a renewed interest in the putative healing powers of its mineral waters. With a multi-million dollar investment infusion, Manitou Beach has again become a major centre for spa tourism.

David McLennan

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