Each July we set our sights on Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park. Wasagaming sits along the south shores of Clear Lake and is a short, 3-hour jaunt, from Winnipeg. If you have been before it is pretty safe to say the commute flies by as you can already taste the pizza from Mano’s, smell the pages of your next vintage find at Poor Michael’s Bookstore and hear the crackling fires at the Wasagaming Camp Ground.
This year we were fortunate enough to be extended an invitation to come up and do a few additional days of exploring thanks to Clear Lake Country, Discover Clear Lake and local business owners. From our time indulging and exploring we have compiled a fool proof list so you can get the most out of your vacation to Wasagaming this summer.
Our Favourite Morning Pick Me Up Spots
Poor Michael’s Emporium [Take a look]
Poor Michael’s Emporium opened its doors in Onanole in the summer of 1992 by founding owner Michael Holm (1963-1996). In 1996, Murray Evans and Lei Anne Sharratt, the current owners, bought the original building and since renovated it adding a cappuccino bar, art/gift shop and brick patio. The shop offers the prefect atmosphere to grab a coffee and conversation and a fun place to flip through some vintage vinyl, books and magazines. I anticipate that you will find yourself here more than once during your vacation.
Lakehouse Ice Cream Shop [Take a look]
I am not much of a coffee drinker but I do like to grab a morning beverage and getting some work out of the way. Lakehouse, aside from offering delicious Ice Cream treats, has a great menu of smoothie options. The Lake House Ice Cream Shop is not only delicious but they offer ample place to sit and take in the summer action in the heart of Wasagaming.
White House Bakery [Take a look]
Though the White House Bakery boasts a fantastic breakfast menu. The only two words you will need when ordering are – Cinnamon Bun.
Upper Cup [Take a look]
This year marks the first season that Ron and Sheri will occupy Clear Lake Gas and Bike Rentals. Ron and Sheri moved their Upper Cup Cafe into a one stop destination for the whole family. Not only can you fuel your boat but you can also grab a great cup of coffee, rent a bike and indulge in a delicious slice of pizza.
Wood’s General Store [Take a look]
I am not sure there are more friendly people than Barry and Dawna owners of Woods General Store in Onanole. When we had checked into our accommodations we had a gift basket waiting for us stocked with cinnamon buns and beverages. Barry and Dawna made their way from Saskatoon 5 years ago to take on a grocery store and now call Onanole home. Goes to show the power Clear Lake has on people. One step into Wood’s in the morning will reveal the aroma of freshly baked goods including a wide variety of breads, muffins, pies and cinnamon buns.
TR McKoys Italian Restaurant [Take a look]
We had a chance to indulge at TR McKoys during our trip. First and foremost the service as top notch. Unfortunately I failed to get the young ladies name but we were thoroughly impressed. We decided to sit out on the front patio so unfortunately can’t shed much light on aesthetics but if it is anything like the food you are in for a treat. I highly recommended the Fettuccine with Sea Scallops as well as the Calamari. I mean any restaurant that has a link to their Fantasy Football league on their website is going to sit well with me. Reservations during peak season are highly recommended (204) 848-2217.
Mano’s [Take a look]
Sheri and company make one mouth watering slice of pizza. This is probably because of their fresh, hand made dough made in house each day. Sheri sent us off with a few slices and I must say it will be one of my first stops when I get back out in July. Right now there is limited seating but I would recommend ordering a pizza or two and taking it down to the beach and posting up at a picnic table and watching the sun roll out.
Foxtail [Take a look]
With two locations, one located inside the park on Wasagaming Dr and the other just on the outskirts of the park in Onanole, the Foxtail is quickly becoming a favourite. This is much in part to their wood fired pizza and sourcing of local ingredients.
Wigwam Dining & Lounge [Take a look]
The Wigwam, now in its ninth decade, continues to serve up home-style food, as well as liquid libations. Above all, it remains a great meeting place for friends to grab a few pints. Leave Friday night free because you best believe karaoke is going down. The Wigwam boasts a large deck with ample shade and a view of the lake.
Club House 204 [Take a look]
One of Wasgaming’s newest restaurants is Club House 204. Formerly Duff Steakhouse, Club House 204 sits perch atop the golf course overlooking the green on 9 and the east end of Clear Lake. The location doesn’t get much better and is probably one of the most scenic in Manitoba. I have yet to indulge but I have heard good things. The restaurant is open from 3:00 pm – 11:00 pm daily.
Resting Your Head
Mooswa Resort [Take a look]
The family owned Mooswa Resort has been a long time staple in the community. Owner Valerie Morrison took over the resort from her parents in 2000 and transformed it into an eclectic mix of luxury suites, rustic cabins and motel style units. We had the chance to stay in one of their 2 bedroom a-frame chalets for the first time and not only had phenomenal service but all the amenities one could possibly need; from a fully equipped kitchen, BBQ, firepit, pool access, WIFI and TV that we used to catch game 4.
Wasagaming Campground [Take a look]
Whether you have a tent or motorhome in tow or looking to pack light and stay in one of Wasagaming’s Campground’s Yurts or oTENTik’s the campground is often a family favourite. The camp ground is conveniently located within walking distance of town but secluded enough to feel like you are on a bit of an adventure.
Lakehouse Boutique Hotel [Take a look]
Lakehouse Boutique Hotel opened last summer after transforming McTavish’s Motel, a long standing staple of the Wasagaming community and summer experience. The extensive top to bottom interior and exterior renovation resulted in a beautiful new boutique accommodation with modern rustic appeal. With all new furniture, linens and decor the Lake House is sure to become a favourite. The Lake House offers 9 – 1 bedroom suites, 6 studio style rooms, as well as a 2 bedroom suite.
Arrowhead [Take a look]
If you enjoy the Lakehouse than you will probably enjoy their recent addition to the family, Arrowhead. Taking over the former New Chalet this past January the Stay Lake House crew will spend the next few years transforming the 33 room family resort into what is sure to be a great addition to Wasagaming Drive. It is open this year with some great new upgrades.
Geiler Corner [Take a look]
Geiler Corner offers luxury cabin style accommodations year round. Located on Ta Wa Pit Dr, Geiler Corner gives guests the options to stay in any of their three 3-bedroom cabins that come equipped with just about everything to ensure your stay is as convenient as possible. Pretty sure I even saw slower cooker, boardgames and in-cabin laundry. These cabin’s are perfect for the extend family and even offer guests a park pass for their duration of stay.
Honeycomb B&B [Take a look]
Homeycomb B&B is located just outside the park and 3 kms south of Onanole. The bed and breakfast occupy’s the former Clear Lake Lodge which was saved from being demolished and moved to it’s new location sitting on a hill overlooking 5 acres. It was fully renovated into an 11 bedroom bed and breakfast with private full bathrooms in each room. It is just a jaunt from Poplar Ridge Golf course and 30 minutes from Lake Audy.
Elkhorn Resort [Take a look]
Elkhorn Resort is located just outside town and has all the amenities to boot including a 9-hole, executive-style golf course, games room, dining (Buffalo Bar and 10 Steakhouse), pool (with waterslide), fitness room and Solstice Spa centre. The accommodations range from hotel style guest rooms to chalets.
I don’t want to ruin the excitement of adventure and discovery so if you want to discover Clear Lake on your own you may want to ignore the following. But if you are a planner…
Lake Audy Bison Enclosure
One of the gems of the park is Lake Audy Bison Enclosure. The drive is about 40 minutes from the park with a majority on well maintained gravel. Don’t let the gravel deter you – it is well worth the trip. It is free and can get you within feet of these impressive animals. Strongly recommend you stock up for some food or snacks. Not much out that way. If you are going to make the drive ensure you leave first thing in the morning or later in the day. In the heat of summer the herd will make their way to the shade and out of easy viewing. We got lucky on our trip.
Clear Lake Golf Course [Take a look]
The Clear Lake Golf Course is situated right in Riding Mountain National Park over looking the East end of Clear Lake. The course was built in two stages commencing in 1928. Renowned architect Stanley Thompson designed the front nine while the back nine was designed and built by Vic Creed with supervision from Park Superintendent Mr. Smart.The complete course was open for play in the spring of 1934. When the course first opened green fees were fifty cents and an annual membership for you and the misses was $5.00 per couple. Green fees for 18 will run you around $59 (walking) $79 (cart) but it is well worth it. The course remains one of the most unique and beautiful courses in the province. It is in incredible shape this season.
Also a short drive from the park (5 minutes) is Poplar Ridge as well as Minnedosa Golf Course which is a great spot to get the whole family out. A short 20 minute drive from the park the links style course offers a great deal for tee times on Monday this season. Every Monday you can tee off for $12 starting June 13th to September 19th.
Clear Lake Tennis Courts [Take a look]
For the sport enthusiast, six courts await you at the Clear Lake Tennis Courts. These feature an excellent, up-to-date playing surface. During the summer lessons are available for all levels. The courts are located just steps away from the marina and beach offering all sorts of options for the family including miniature golf.
Clear Lake Marina [Take a look]
Wasagaming’s main pier, stretching out from the beach, has provided Riding Mountain National Park’s visitors with many memories since its construction in 1934. It is the Marina’s home, a popular walking route, and the subject of many photographs. In 2002, a large section of the original pier was reconstructed as the present day bridge. Crossing this bridge will lead you to the docks and marina offices where you can rent motor powered pontoon and bow riders or self propelled non-motorized boats like kayaks, pedal boats and paddleboards. If you hope to get behind the wheel don’t forget to bring your Pleasure Craft Operator Card.
The marina is also home to The Martese which offers afternoon, dinner and sunset cruises on Clear Lake.
Park Theatre [Take a look]
The Park Theatre is the largest log cabin theatre in North America. The Park Theatre, like many other log structures of the time period was funded by the Governmental Emergency Relief Fund. This fund helped to generate work during the depression. The theatre features different current Hollywood showing each weekend for a mere $10/adult and $7 for child/senior.
Prairie Supply Co. [Take a look]
Originally started in Dauphin, Manitoba Prairie Supply Co. opened a really great shop located next door to Lakehouse. Prairie Supply Co. offers a unique blend of clothing, stemming from the roots of skate, snow and street culture. Prairie Supply Co. offers a vast selection of everything from footwear to headwear and everything in between.
Moon Lake Trading Co. [Take a look]
Looking to add some decor to the home or cottage? Moon Lake Trading Co. has you covered from rustic signage, candles and other decorative pieces. The shop also has a great deck with ample seating to sit and catch your breath.
Clear Lake Trading Post [Take a look]
Not only can you stock up on food for the week you can check out their Deep Bay Clothing shop which carries clothing, swimwear and active wear for the whole family. For 2016 they added Adidas, Cobian and New Balance. So pop in, grab something from their fresh bakery and do a little shopping before hitting the beach across the street.
The Chocolate Fox [Take a look]
The Chocolate Fox saw a recent expansion so not only is it the best place to get your Clear Lake souvenirs, mouth watering chocolates, popcorn and made in house gelati’s but it has grown to have even more footwear and clothing than ever before. Pop in and let Garth and Glenys get you set up with some Cookies and Cream Gelati and a new pair of Birkenstocks.
This is just a small sampling of some of the great shops in and around town. Make sure you wander Buffalo Drive and Ta-Wa-Pit Drive for even more clothing and home good boutiques.
Not only is Wasagaming and Riding Mountain National park home to beautiful boreal forests, crystal clear waters and the brightest star casts skies in the province but it is also home to a great cast of small business owners who are responsible for ensuring your summer vacation is packed full of stories and memories. Thanks for the great hospitality.