It’s been a long, hard week and it is finally Saturday! It is time to kick-off your work-shoes and get outside to enjoy the warm, sunny, Canadian summer. If you’re looking for a relaxing activity to do this weekend, and even want to break a world-record while you’re taking-it-easy, then Little Manitou Lake’s ‘Big Float’ could be the perfect place for you to be!
As a unique way of celebrating the 100th anniversary of its popular mineral lake, the Resort Village of Manitou Beach is hosting ‘The Big Float,’ an attempt to set a world record for the number of people floating in Little Manitou Lake at the same time. The unusual salt and mineral content in the lake means that swimmers are able to lay back and float, with zero effort whatsoever.
In fact, the ‘floating’ is so effortless, it is common for people floating on the lake to be seen reading books as they bob-along. The Little Manitou Lake, located about 95 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon, is sometimes known as the ‘Canadian Dead Sea,’ due to its striking similarities to the famous lake by Jordan.
Initially, Watrous-Manitou Beach Tourism had contacted the Guinness World Records, to see if they would officiate the event. However, The Big Float was rejected as a candidate for an official world record. Despite this minor setback, the community is going ahead with the float, with the intention of making their own ‘world record’.
The group will set a local record regardless, as Watrous-Manitou Beach Tourism says they’ve never actually taken an official count of the number of people floating on the lake at one time.
While breaking an existing lake-floating record would be fun, and creating a new record will be equally exciting, organizers say the main purpose of the event is for people to relax and have fun.
By early Saturday morning, more than 3,000 people had expressed interest in attending the event on the official ‘Big Float’ Facebook page, but organizers say they are unsure how many people will actually show up.
Brendan Manz, community development officer for Watrous-Manitou Beach Tourism, is feeling positive about the expected number of ‘floaters’ at the event, saying that they’re planning to host around 3,000 people. Although he added, “It could be a lot more, it could be less.”
The event will begin at 11 AM and participants will have to register with their names and hometowns to be officially counted in the float. A starting buzzer will sound at 2 PM to signify the official beginning of the float, and all participants will grab their swim-shorts and floaties and get into the lake.
Fortunately, Little Manitou Lake is 13 miles long, and half a mile wide, so there won’t be any problems with making room for the floaters. The event is also completely family-friendly and is safe for confident swimmers and those less comfortable being in the water. Particular areas have been designated for children and shallow water swimmers, while confident floaters can go out further from shore.
"We're inviting people if they have life vests or personal floatation devices or anything else they want to bring, they're more than welcome to bring that as well," said Manz.
“Maybe some of the other lakes in the province want to challenge it or other communities want to challenge it, and that would be great as well,” Manz said.