It’s literally the end of the trail for the walking path from Watrous to Manitou Beach. Phase 2 of the trail, named the Memory Trail, was the site of a ribbon cutting, officially heralding its completion. Community members, visitors and dignitaries gathered to mark the occasion at the trail’s end at the south entrance to Manitou Beach.
The first phase, sponsored by the Watrous Rotary Club connects the town of Watrous to the cemetery north of town, roughly halfway to the resort village of Manitou Beach. The second phase, across Highway 365, was completed entirely by Ron Ediger. Edgar says he had access to the equipment and wanted to see the trail completed. So, with the blessings of the Ministry of Highways, Ediger and volunteers set to work to see the project through.
“I have the facilities, the equipment, the product and the manpower to make it happen,” said Ediger, the owner of Melron Industries, who has operated an excavation and construction operation in Watrous since 1997. “So, I thought one day when my wife was still with me, we’ll get it done.”
At the end of the trail on the south side of Lakeview Avenue is a replica of the Arcade, also constructed by Ediger. The Arcade was the peak of the top of the historic dance pavilion once on the shore of Little Manitou Lake. The gazebo-like structure houses pictures harkening back to the beach’s heyday in the early 20th century. Ediger says the structure plays into the idea of the Memory Trail.
“A lot of folks remember the village of Manitou Beach over the years. They’d come here to swim at the Healing Waters. The Indigenous people from the Punnichy and eastern part of Saskatchewan through the town of Nokomis – they'd follow the railway. My mother, when they came to this country, their house was along the railway track and the people would stop for water all the time. She would ask, ‘where are you going,’ and they’d say, ‘to the healing waters of Lake Manitou.’”
The memory theme tied in with local MLA and Deputy Premier Donna Harpauer who participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“As many of you have heard in my memories of my childhood right here at the Beach and in Watrous, that was where we used to go Christmas Shopping and time spent at the beach. There are a lot of memories I have in this community.”
Highways Minister Jeremy Cockrill was also on hand with greetings.
“I really appreciate working with Ron and the whole group to make this a reality. Sometimes we’re a little sensitive as to what happens in our right-of-way because we’re focused on safety, but when we see communities step up and say we want to do something to benefit our communities, this is a great thing that we are proud to be a part of and support.”
The completed trail provides a safe conduit for pedestrians between the partnered communities – an opportunity for fitness and a connection with the stunning Saskatchewan environment.