History of Pelican Yacht Club
The first sailboats appeared on Pelican Lake around the turn of the century. It is no surprise therefore to find that the Pelican Yacht Club history is closely tied to another landmark on Pelican Lake; the Manitoba Sanatorium; or it is locally referred to, as simply the San. The San was established in 1910 and it was coincident that the people associated with it, also associated with the lake, and it was a natural progression to sailing.
It comes as no surprise therefore that the first commodore of PYC was coincidently the Medical Superintendent of the San. Dr. A. L. (Al) Paine’s writings are our window to the history of sailing on Pelican Lake. In an article printed in The Messenger, (Feb 1948) Dr. Paine writes eloquently of his life at the San and his introduction to sailing. Therein he writes that between 1928 and 1948…“very few craft have plied its waters, a period during which the writer has come to know and love its solitude through many ramblings over its surface.”
Although he admits that there were resort seekers prior to the development of the San in 1910, he also states … “that the great majority of resort seekers abandoned the lake for new and more northern bodies of water.”
Other history of the period tells similar stories of Lake Clemente near Brandon, and an exodus in the 30’s to Riding Mountain Park and Clear Lake, so presumably Dr. Paine’s resort seekers were also travelling to these new destinations.
Dr. Paine writes of Dr. Stewart as “among these nature lovers and during his twenty seven years at the Sanatorium was a constant student of lake and marsh life. In the early days he was an enthusiastic sailor and his boat was a familiar sight on these waters and offered a welcome and necessary release from the incessant burdens of his calling. Early sailing days however came to an end around 1920 when three patients and an employee were drowned when they took off, unknown, in a row boat with an improvised sail.