Local History

Manitou and District Regional Park is located along the shores of the unique and famous Little Manitou Lake, which is highly saline and deeply set in an old glacial spillway. The Cree word “manitou” means “great spirit”, and medicine men brought sick people to the lake to be healed, made visits to procure water, and held sacred ceremonies. Patients were treated either by drinking the water or by using it in sweat lodges. Folklore tells that the waters healed even those who suffered from small pox. The homesteaders also respected the healing powers of the lake and would take mineral water to their homes in barrels. From 1910 into the 1940s, Manitou Beach thrived as a boomtown resort. The Winnipeg-based Manitou Mineral Water Company bottled and shipped its waters all over North America. Hotels, bathhouses, spas and pools sprung up, along with sanitoriums and health clinics. Dance halls were also popular, including the famous Danceland. In 1931, Manitou was known as Little Manitou Provincial Park; it became a regional park in 1962. Historical sites include the natural fieldstone chalet and buildings erected by the provincial government in the 1930s and originally used as a commercial tourist hotel. The chalet was changed to Camp Easter Seal in the 1950s. Other interesting heritage sites include the Old Stone Pumphouse east of the village of Manitou Beach, Village Inn, and the brine shrimp factory, established in 1962.


The Village supplies essential services but the park does have campgrounds particularly suited to the recreation vehicle, an outstanding golf course, and a wonderful beach area. The Village also offers many other recreational activities such as mini golf, weekly farmer’s and flea markets, and the world-famous Manitou Springs Mineral Spa. One of the last remaining drive-in theatres in the province is adjacent to the campgrounds. The Danceland dance hall has a wooden floor cushioned with coils of horsehair. Walking in the area will provide sightings of the many shore birds that inhabit the area, and the National Wildlife Area of Last Mountain Lake is only a half-hour away where the family can partake in the only public-access bird banding station in the province.


With over 200 sites, the campground is well suited for large motor homes and trailers. Most of the sites are electrified. There are 29 seasonal sites. Contact the office for information about these sites. The sites have gravel parking pads and with grass beside. There is a trailer dump station and each site has a picnic table and fire-ring. There are two camp kitchens available, which must be booked in advance. There are four modern shower/washroom facilities, which are free to registered campers. Firewood is available for sale. We ask that campers refrain from bringing outside wood into the Park. Water service is reverse osmosis municipal water.