History greets you at every turn. Use the guide to see our Heritage Moments.
The early history of Waskesiu includes the development of three bungalow cabins rentals: Waskesiu Bungalow Cabins (known as Manville’s or Baker’s over the years), Hillcrest Lodge and Cabins, and Kapasiwin Bungalows. Countless families over the history of Waskesiu have spent their summer vacations in these rental cabins enjoying a lakeside holiday in the boreal forest of Prince Albert National Park. Three generations of a family often holiday together and coordinate their bookings with extended family members.
Before checking out after a stay, a reservation is made for the next year. Loyal customers have returned to the cabin rentals for years in succession. The quiet location of the Kapasiwin Bungalows on the shore of Waskesiu Lake and the north edge of the townsite is particularly beautiful. This grassy bank has hosted weddings, anniversaries, reunions, and gatherings of all types. The main road around the north shore of Lake Waskesiu used to pass between the lake and Kapasiwin Bungalows but since its relocation behind the cabins, the road has become a quiet trail used daily by joggers, walkers, and cyclists.
Betty Wendelbourg, owner of Kapasiwin with her son Brynn from 1983 to 2015, recounts this nugget of Kapasiwin history about the first owners, John and Della Mitchell.
“J.E. Mitchell surrendered his Prince Albert Business to the Government of Canada during the Second World War as a contribution to the war effort (was requested to surrender by the GOC). Amongst other war time efforts, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was supported in Prince Albert. The plan’s mandate was to train Allied aircrews for the Second World War, including pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, wireless operators, air gunners, and flight engineers. When the war ended, it is understood that J.E. Mitchell was asked by the Government how he might be compensated for his contribution to the war effort. Mr. Mitchell requested a plot of land, within the relatively new Prince Albert National Park, upon which to establish a bungalow camp. The request was granted....”
Parks Canada records confirm that, “The development of another bungalow camp known as Kapasiwin Bungalows was undertaken by J.E. Mitchell of Prince Albert in 1948. Located about two miles north of the business section of Waskesiu Townsite … on the Heart Lakes road, the site commanded a fine view of Waskesiu Lake. By 1949, Mitchell had erected 20 cabins and qualified for a long term licence….Later, he added 15 more cabins and a manager’s residence to the development. On the death of the licensee in 1972, the leasehold title and operation of the camp was taken over by his widow, Della L. Mitchell.”
Because of a tragedy on Waskesiu Lake in 1927, there were four graves located on the bank here before Kapasiwin was built. You can learn more about this tragedy, the graves, the memorial tree, and the commemorative sign at the Museum website.
Who hasn’t forgotten something when they’ve checked out of a hotel? What stories those misplaced items might tell.
“I remember an amusing incident concerning one of our better known guests. Hocky [sic] fans, would know Dave King, who used to vacation at Kapasiwin with his family. Once when I was cleaning their cabin after they had left, I found a pair of his socks which had been forgotten. I was delighted, I had a pair of Dave King’s socks! I put them in the laundry room for safe keeping and at the end of the day, I went to collect my prize, and they were nowhere to be found. After asking the girls if they had seen them, Betty Wendelborg, our boss, said she had thrown them into the garbage! They sure had a good laugh on me!
Told by Linda Davenport in Waskesiu Memories, Volume III, edited by Dorell Taylor
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