Canada’s “Dead Sea” Is Alive With Legend

The natural healing waters of the Dead Sea have long been known to cure what ails people and has attracted visitors to its mineral-laden, therapeutic water. In fact, it was one of the world’s first health resorts. Much less well-known, but with a healing touch of its own, is Little Manitou Lake, landlocked between Saskatoon and Regina on the Canadian Prairies. Little Manitou is unlike any other lake in North America. Carved out by glaciers, the lake’s bed has springs that release magnesium, potassium, silica, iron oxide, calcium and sulfate into the water, providing the highest mineral content of any North American lake. There's so much salt in the water that swimmers can float without effort and there's almost zero possibility of drowning. The legend of the healing waters of Little Manitou Lake goes back to the original Indigenous inhabitants of the area in the pre-reserve days when smallpox almost wiped out large tribes of the Cree nation. One of the fever-crazed men crawled to the shore of the lake, drank the water and bathed in it. Still too weak to make his way back to the others, he lay there overnight, waking the next morning free of fever. He gathered his sick companions and took them to the lake’s waters and they, too, were healed. The lake’s healing ways have been attracting people to the area ever since.