An Underwater Ghost-town
One of the most beautiful attractions in Banff National Park is unarguably Lake Minnewanka. However most visitors are not aware of what’s hiding underneath the breathtaking lake. A secret lies behind it’s surface: underwater ghost town.
Once upon a time, in the mid 1800’s, there was a village named Minnewanka Landing, exactly where the lake is located today. It was a popular resort town that attracted many tourists. The village sat on a smaller version of what is the lake today. Travellers would take boat trips and indulge in the restaurants, cottages and hotels on the town.
So what ever happened? Well, in 1895, things started to change. A dam was built in order to improve the shoreline of the lake on Devil’s Creek. Another dam was also built in Devils Canyon in 1912 by the Calgary Power Company, with the purpose of water storage.
The second dam raised the water level by an entire 12 feet, flooding the Devils Creek. The Calgary Power Company had to increase their hydroelectric power during the second world war, and a third dam was built. This third dam is the one that raised the water to a shocking 98 feet, and resulted in the entire town becoming submerged.
According to a Parks Canada archeologist, everyone was power hungry during World War II, and Lake Minnewanka was seen as an easy solution.
The underwater ghost town is now located 60 feet under the lake’s surface. The icy waters have well preserved the town and Scuba divers can see actual cottages with windows in intact, and pieces of the old hotels.
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