A Trip to Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan, July 1931

 Updated March 3, 2023

In July 1931 a group of young people from the small farming community of Woodnorth, Manitoba, took a holiday at the Resort at Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan, about 75 miles (120 kilometres) away. The Resort and Lake belong to the White Bear Band Reservation in southeastern Saskatchewan. The Lake is now known as White Bear Lake.

In this 2011 road map Carlyle Lake is known as White Bear Lake. It is just north of the town of Carlyle and at the southeast corner of the Moose Mountain Provincial Park in southern Saskatchewan. It is not far from the Manitoba border and about eighty kilometres from the state of North Dakota. [This map is a detail from the Province of Saskatchewan Official Road Map 2011/2012.)

Today, knowing of the economic hardships faced by these young people throughout the 1930s, followed by the six long years of the Second World War, it is good to see them enjoying themselves in the summer of 1931.

This trip was a special event recorded in a number of photographs taken by my mother Sarah Cameron (1910-1992) and her friends. Mum loved her newly acquired Brownie “box camera” and used it for many years to record events and people in her life. She also bought several souvenir postcards of Carlyle Lake which are included below. Sarah was twenty years old, working in Woodnorth as a clerk in the grocery store and post office. Her brother Ian Cameron (1912-1998) was eighteen, working on the family farm. Others in the group were a similar age, in their late teens or early twenties. One of the young women, Kay Moore, taught at Woodnorth School.


Post card of the Hotel, Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan. Card purchased in July 1931. There were also cabins which seems to be where the group of friends stayed.
This is the back of the post card above of  the Hotel, Carlyle Lake. It is marked “Made in Canada”. The date “1931” is hand written at the top right. Even if the date was not indicated, the “Azo stamp box “with small squares in the four corners indicates that it is from the time period 1925-1940.
Post card of Carlyle Lake, bought in July 1931.
Post card of Hotel Beach, Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan. Card bought in July 1931. Note the children’s slide on the right of the photo, among the trees.


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At Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan, July 1931. The names of all the members of the group were not recorded but the young boy in the front row, far left, is Len Cameron (1917-1997). Fourth from the right is Kay Moore, then Tom Matthewson (1909-1989), Sarah Cameron (1910-1992) and at far right, her brother Ian Cameron (1912-1998), all of Woodnorth, Manitoba.


“WE-WE-NO-NA Lodge”, Carlyle Lake Resort, July 1931.  This must be the cabin, or one of them, where members of the Woodnorth group stayed.


Another shot of “WE-WE-NO-NA Lodge”


In front of WE-WE-NO-NA  Lodge, Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan, July 1931. In the back row on the left is Tom Matthewson (1909-1989), Ian Cameron (1912-1998) in the centre and on the far right Les Shoemaker (1914-1992). Front row left is Sarah Cameron (1910-1992) [later Mrs Wilfred Forsyth] and on the right, Les’s sister Della Shoemaker (1912-2000) [later Mrs Ian Cameron]. The two women are holding their box cameras.
Postcard of Crescent Beach, Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan. Card bought in July 1931.


Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan, 1931. Top left is Kay Moore, then my mother Sarah Cameron (1910-1992), second from left, standing on the bench, with their group of friends at the beach. The girls are all wearing “beach pyjamas”, flowing wide-legged pants, a very popular and fashionable item at the time. Women in those days did not wear pants very often but they were considered suitable for leisure times at the beach or seaside. The tower in the water, at right, appears on the souvenir plate pictured below.


Souvenir plate from Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan. This plate which I inherited from my mother must have been purchased on the trip that she and her friends made to the Lake in July 1931. The scene is very similar to the ones in her photos and postcards. The tower in the water, on the right of the picture on the plate, looks to be the same one that is in the photo above of the six girls on the beach (four standing on a bench, two seated on the ground). It would be interesting to know more about the plate, for how long it was produced and sold at the Lake and who took the original photo. It seems to be a good quality souvenir, produced by Wedgewood & Co, England. (see photo below of the back of the plate.) Dimensions: 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches or 21.5 cm by 21.5 cm.


The back of the souvenir plate from Carlyle, Lake, Saskatchewan (purchased in July 1931) stamped “Wedgwood & Co,  England”. Dimensions: 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches or 21.5 cm by 21.5 cm.


Some of the group ready to go in for a swim. The women all seem to have the same style of suit. Of the men, (left to right) Ian Cameron, Les Shoemaker and Tom Matthewson, only Tom is dressed for swimming. (Photo, supplied courtesy of Keith and Brenda Cameron, was taken by Keith’s mother, Della Shoemaker)


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A snapshot of the tower at Carlyle Lake. (photo courtesy of Keith and Brenda Cameron. Taken by Keith’s mother Della Shoemaker.)


Sandy Beach, Carlyle Lake. Post card purchased in July 1931.
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The road into Sandy Beach, Carlyle Lake.
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This is the back of the above post card of the road into Sandy Beach.


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Carlyle Lake (Saskatchewan) Resort tennis court, July 1931. My mother Sarah Cameron (1910-1992) on the left and her friend Kay Moore. Kay Moore taught at Woodnorth School from 1931-1933.  These short, loose, sleeveless dresses are such a contrast to the floor-length dresses with corsets that would have been worn by the girls’ mothers only twenty years earlier.


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Carlyle Lake (Saskatchewan) resort, July 1931. My mother Sarah Cameron (1910-1992) in her beach pyjamas, with friend Kay Moore.


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Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan, July 1931. Tom Matthewson (1909-1989), standing at centre back, and Ian Cameron (1912-1998) at back right.
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Carlyle Lake Saskatchewan, July 1931. Two of the young women from the Woodnorth group in their beach pyjamas in front of the cabins.


Carlyle Lake resort, Saskatchewan, July 1931. Cabins in the background. Sarah Cameron (1910-1992) second from right.


Postcard of Sport Day, Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan. Card purchased July 1931. Car buffs may be able to identify some of the vehicles lined up behind the spectators for the baseball game.


Heart Mountain near Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan, post card purchased in July 1931.
The back of the card above – Heart Mountain near Carlyle Lake.