An Underwater Ghost Town

The area around Lake Minnewanka in Alberta has been settled continuously for at least 13,000 years. One of those settlements was Minnewanka Landing, which thrived in the summer with tourists and campers. There were hotels, restaurants, tour guides, and boating. But it's all gone now. Well, the people are all gone. The town itself survives at the bottom of Lake Minnewanka. Dams were built there three times: in 1895, 1912, and 1941. It was the 1941 dam that finally flooded Minnewanka Landing.

Today the reservoir hides a secret that many people will never get the chance to experience—unless they're scuba divers, that is. Thanks to Lake Minnewanka’s glacier-fed, ice-cold waters, many structures of the former resort town still remain intact, including house and hotel foundations, wharves, an oven, a chimney, a cellar, bridge pilings and sidewalks. (A full list of sites is available here.) Even the footings from the town’s original dam, built by the federal government in 1895, along with the footings from the dam built in 1912, remain visible.

Even if you're not a scuba diver, you can take a tour of Minnewanka Landing in a video at Smithsonian.


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I took my scuba course in Minnewanka, and dove down to the old dam. It's really cool to see a dam completely submerged. I also did my night dive there, with a full moon over the mountains. It was pretty awesome.

We also used to have a Yacht Club there, and held the Mile High Regatta every year. I think the last one was around 1998 or so. I sailed in it most years as a kid.
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