Posted on: June 7, 2017 | General News
The 50’s saw the birth of a new tourist destination in Manitoba. “Falcon Lake – Tomorrow’s Vacation Land” as I had once read in a newspaper clipping that I found in a family photo album.
In July 1953 my Grandparents Ingi and Del Bjornson, with their daughter Barbara in tow, were part of a new migration of excited adventure seekers that descended upon the shores of Falcon Lake to build their dream cottage. No power, no communication, no road access, and no other modern amenities that we enjoy today. What were these people thinking! That’s just the beginning. Building materials had to be transported across the lake by boat, land had to be cleared, and only then the dream of owning a cottage could finally take shape. And did I mention without the aid of power tools?
Let me introduce myself. My name is Blair Mineault. I’m a third generation cottager that is officially enjoying my 50th year at the family cabin on the south shores of Falcon Lake. Son of Barbara Mineault (Bjornson), and brother of the 4B’s (Blaine, Brian, Blair & Bruce). Oh, and let’s not forget to add our partners to the mix with our children of the fourth generation that range in ages from 5-22
Falcon Lake. What a place! The landscape has sure changed around here in my 50 years. Many cottages around the lake have changed hands, been torn down, upgraded, or replaced. A true sign of progression in these modern times. I would say the same goes for the local business landscape. Just take the shopping centre in town for example. At the age of 15 my mom worked at the Shop Easy (the grocery store at the time) which has since moved from one side of the mall to the other and currently resides as Falcon Meat and Grocery.
I remember when going to the townsite to visit the shopping mall was a family affair. We boys would make our first stop at the hardware store to check out the latest fishing tackle while grandfather meticulously sourced out plumbing parts. Mom would make a quick trip around the corner to the bank, and Grandma headed over for groceries at Foodland. The best part was the final stop to visit Mr. Hammond at the drugstore for Ice cream.
A time that I will always remember at the lake was the 80’s. My favorite saying back then was “Life’s A Beach”. That’s also what it said on a bright yellow license plate that adorned the front bumper of my little white Mazda truck. However, before I could drive I was earning money at my first job delivering The Winnipeg Tribune. That was just the beginning. As a I got older, I washed dishes at the El’nor Hotel, assisted boat renters at the Falcon Lake Marina, and cooked for hungry golfers at The Falcon Lake Golf Course Restaurant.
Winters were my absolute favorite time. If I wasn’t on the snowmobile trails with the locals, I was probably earning my weekend cash making beds at Tallpine Lodges, preparing breakfast at the West Hawk Inn, or setting up skis in the rental shop at the ski hill in Falcon.
Today my favorite saying is simply “I love Lake Life”. I thank the community of Falcon Lake for this. The hard work and commitment of this community have made this such a great place for all of us to visit, live and enjoy. I’ll never get tired of this place. I’m looking forward to many more great years of adventure and enjoyment.
Around the lake
Spring tends to spark excitement in many of us. It’s the time we switch the snow blower for a lawn mower, park the snowmobile for a fishing boat, and hang up the snowboard for a wakeboard. But wait! The spring thaw takes its time. The snow needs to melt, the temperatures need to rise, and the lake ice needs to slowly drift and melt away.
On Easter weekend the ice on Falcon was still working its way off the lake. Amira and Isabella Maidment and Colleen McConnell couldn’t wait for an entire lake thaw. These brave young girls from Blk 3 made the best of a warm spring day and entered the icy cold waters of Falcon for an early spring swim, or maybe it was a dip. Yikes! Either way, I Hope their parents paid them well. At least more than a quarter which was the payoff that my brothers and I received as kids for being the first ones in. We never made it in this early though. Well done girls!
Even after an early spring snowfall, boaters could be seen out on the lake before the start of May. When the warmer temperatures followed days after, it brought out folks early from the city to check on their cottages.
Where do you find excited anglers on opening day of fishing season? Standing shoulder to shoulder along the narrow shoreline across the causeway on the south shore of Falcon lake of course. The warm temperatures of the day brought out big numbers this year, as these anglers waited in anticipation for their first catch of the season.
The newer play structure at Falcon Beach was given a workout on May 5th by my young niece Breanna. Nice to see these types of upgrades to the beach area.
Finally, here we are. Trees are budding, the grass is growing, and the local critters have made their way out of hibernation. Summer is just about here. Yay! The population of Falcon Lake is back on the rise, and the local businesses are all open to greet visitors and members of the area and surrounding communities. Welcome back everyone!
Until next time. “Love lake life!” Get to know your neighbors, volunteer at a local event, and do something around the lake that you never tried before. Go horse back riding, fishing, learn to swim, golf, or head out for a hike or bike on the South Whiteshell Trail. Whatever your passion, whatever your age, go for it! Have Fun! and please support your local businesses.
South Whiteshell Summer Events Lineup
CWT Falcon Lake Walleye Masters cup (June 3)
Falcon Lake Smallmouth Masters Cup (June 24)
Canada Day Fireworks (July 1)
Canada 150 Ultramarathon (July 1-2)
Falcon Lake Fun Fest (July 7-8)
West Hawk Lake Meteor Fest (July 7/8/9)
Flea Market – Whiteshell Community Club (August 5)
Faloma Beach Marina Kids Fishing Derby (August 13)
Falcon Lake Show and Shine (August 19)
Southeast Whiteshell Fire Department Open House (August 19)
The Great Trail Event 2017 (August 26)
Swamp Donkey Adventure Race (September 16)
Many more events and activities please visit www.falconwesthawk.com for more details.
To donate to Canada Day Fireworks in Falcon Lake visit www.gofundme.com/falconcanadaday or stop by in person at The Laughing Loon in Falcon Lake.
Have something to share about Falcon Lake? Keep me posted on what’s happening in your block, neighborhood, community etc. Send me your stories, pictures, events etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org