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TWIN LAKES BEACH, MANITOBA

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Twin Lakes Beach, also known locally by many as simply “Twin Beaches,” is a beach / community located in the Canadian province of Manitoba, on Lake Manitoba. Twin Lakes Beach is located in the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent, near the urban community of St. Laurent.

Situated on a natural isthmus, dividing Lake Francis and Lake Manitoba, Twin Lakes Beach was formed by the natural process of sand accumulating between the two bodies of water over a period of years when it was transferred from the bank of one lake to the bank of another lake by wind and water. The sand then continues to build up, eventually forming a sand dune. Plants are able to strive on this natural dune, because after a storm occurs on the lake, the water levels increase, washing dead seaweed, as well as other organic matter, onto the sand, and after many years of decomposition, the compost turns to soil, acting as a fertilizer for local plant life. As a result, grass, plants, and wildlife are now native to the area. The water, however, continuously laps the shore, due to moving air and currents, leaving a section of the dune eroded where sand remains, forming a beach.

Lake Francis is a relatively small lake, with a high percentage of water area being marsh and wetlands. Lake Manitoba, however, is Manitoba’s third largest lake. This body of water can be described as a long, wide, but shallow freshwater lake, which does not support a wetland ecosystem, but yet is home to many species of fish and waterfowl which dwell in the area. Lake Manitoba boasts a high number of cottage dwellings and sandy beaches, mainly occupied in the summer months. The area around Twin Lakes Beach & St. Laurent is composed of reasonably fertile land, suitable for crops; the land that is not as fertile is used for pastures, grasslands, or land to be surveyed into future private properties. There are also an abundance of trees and forests around the area.

The earliest records of civilization (of course long after Aboriginal peoples inhabited Manitoba, prior to dated history) around the Twin Lakes Beach and St. Laurent area began in the early 19th century, when the McKay family, of Metis descent, were one of the first families to settle in St. Laurent, on the shores of Lake Manitoba. The family found all the resources that they found important to them – fishing, hunting, and agriculture. The community grew, attracting new immigrants to the province who were looking for an affordable, resourceful way of life.

Many people began to purchase lakefront properties in the area at present day Twin Lakes Beach, whether it be a summer retreat or a permanent dwelling.

The desire to purchase a beachfront property has drastically increased even in the past decade, spiking the interests of many Manitoban citizens, and attracting them to the province’s beautiful beaches and lakes. Cottage living has become popular amongst people who are retiring, wanting to enjoy outdoor leisure, or people wanting to enjoy the peaceful, yet exciting aspect of the beach or the lake, escaping the everyday buzz of urban living.

Twin Lakes Beach is one of the cleanest and well preserved beaches in the province, not recognized by many people of Manitoba. Some cottage owners from Winnipeg, and parts of the Interlake are familiar with the beach, however. The beach is located approximately one hour north of Winnipeg on Provincial Hwy 6, just a few kilometers off the highway.
The beach is actually located inside two rural municipalities (Rural Municipality of Woodlands and Rural Municipality of St. Laurent), making it difficult to understand the different by-laws issued within the lakefront community. Twin Beach Road, the main thoroughfare running through the community, splits in two directions at the road leading to the beach, with one end heading north to the North section of the beach (Twin Beach North – TBN), with the other end continuing south through the main section of the beach. Twin Beach Rd. is renamed Venice Rd. once the road enters the Rural Municipality of Woodlands and also runs past MacKenzie Bay North and MacKenzie Bay South, which are two residential streets branching off of the main road. Along Twin Beach Rd., you will find a store, called the Beach Shack, which services the beach with groceries and a restaurant, opening May long weekend. Sunshine Beach Campground also lies on the right hand side of the road, providing campers with a boat launch, and wide open space to enjoy a beachfront camping experience.

The Twin Lakes Beach Association was formed to discuss current issues and problems in and around the beach as well as provide representation of the cottagers in the Rural Municipalities of Woodlands and St. Laurent to discuss local issues well as representation at the provincial level to discuss issues such as the lake level.

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