Here’s another post, and some great old pictures, by our friend Leslie. Her last Canadian story for Roadstories was about Yorkton, Saskatchewan. This one takes place in Manitoba. Interesting Fact: According to Wikipedia, West Hawk is the deepest lake in Manitoba at 115 metres or 360 feet. – Glenn
West Hawk Lake was a beautiful spot, in fact I remember it as a beautiful experience overall. West Hawk is one of those very deep, clear Canadian Shield lakes with huge rocky shores and forests of rugged trees behind them. We drove east along the Trans-Canada highway to the town of West Hawk, located in Whiteshell Provincial Park. From the town we turned up a two-lane road beside the lake which eventually became a gravel road and finally went down a hill to McDougall’s Landing. In the summer a large number of boats were parked at the landing. We took our outboard motor in the car and attached it to the boat when we arrived. Then we took the boat along the rocky northern shore of the lake until we arrived at the dock at the back of the island where the cottage was located. The back of the island was basically a tall rock face with a set of wooden steps built down to the dock. We could boat and waterski off the dock. In his teens my brother was a very good swimmer, and he loved to dive off the top of the rock. The water at the bottom was deep enough that he could do that with no danger of hitting the bottom. Ours was one of several cottages located along the shore on the front of the island facing a wide, gorgeous view out across the lake. Here there was a rocky shore that sloped down and got deep only gradually. Non-swimmers and small children could wade in and enjoy the clear water, and we could scoop out pails of water to heat up on the wood stove to do the dishes. We could also wade in and clean up ourselves. But you had to keep an eye on the soap! There was also a fish hatchery in the vicinity, and one summer we took a trip over to have a look. A visiting friend who worked for a suburban newspaper took a picture as we departed on our last trip of the year one summer, and published it with a nostalgic header. However, the end of summer didn’t always stop us. One year we heard that when West Hawk froze over for the winter, logging trucks would drive across it to bring out lumber cut in the summer. Well, if logging trucks could do it, so could we. So we drove up one winter day, enjoyed a fire in the fireplace, and spent the afternoon pulling a toboggan across the ice behind the car. It was Manitoba in the winter after all. And you can’t just sit around inside, no matter how cold it is!
Editor’s note: The automobile in the above picture is a 1958 FORD.
Politically correct statement: It is dangerous to tow a toboggan behind a two-tone ’58 Ford on a frozen Canadian lake. Those cars had no seatbelts, and people smoked in them.