Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What a Watrousity

If you grew up in Saskatchewan you’re pretty likely to have been to Watrous at some point in your life – the home of Manitou Springs Hotel and Spa. This spa is a fixture in the province, located on the shore of a salt lake in the middle of nowhere. It consists of a series of indoor pools pumped full of heated lake water. The water is very high in salt content and therefore buoyant, so one can float around effortlessly on the surface much like in the Dead Sea. Manitou’s water contains minerals that is said to have special health-giving properties.

Like so many things in Saskatchewan, the unfortunate part is in the execution. Instead of this spa being a world class resort offering a luxury getaway, it is a run-down and shabby dump that has to be seen to be believed.

The hotel’s promotional picture:

Here's what it really looks like:

As you can see, the “healing waters” are the colour of urine. Worse, the pools are never cleaned so they have a coating of black muck on them, so much that one cannot see the bottom or sides of the pool. To top it all off, seniors seem to love to flock to the spa, so much that on any given day, you will find hoards of old people in swimsuits floating around motionless on their backs. It's actually a lot like that bathtub scene from the movie The Shining.

Saskatchewan's Dead Sea

I went to Watrous in my younger years and my experiences there were not exactly like those one might get on a vacation, say, at Disneyland. I distinctly remember recoiling at the sight of the yellow water and the flotillas of senior-submarines creepily bobbing around like motionless cadavers. When I mustered the courage to actually go into the pool, I got a burning feeling all over my body from the water. It was truly gross.

Why am I mentioning all this now? This month, Saskatchewan health officials closed the facility down, citing health risks. Apparently the pool’s filtering system has not been functioning properly for years and management has repeatedly failed to fix the problem. Now visitors of the hotel are stuck in a town with nothing else to do. Perhaps even worse, seniors across the province have nowhere to do the deadman float. Don't worry though, no-one will complain. This is Saskatchewan, after all.

Now that Manitou spa is closed, as is the former garbage dump turned ski hill known as Blackstrap, where will vacationing Saskatchewaners go?

1 comment:

GoatSmell said...

Ah, thank GOD they shut that horrible piss-hole down. I hadn't thought of that place for years until reading this blog. I can still smell it..erf...

But, really, Saskabushians are fast running out of things to do there -- even Bingo is a rarity. Poor flatlanders.