History

Ad from 1973

Beginnings

Lake Eden was built in 1966 by Erwin and Will Zeiter.  The brothers purchased 170 acres 5 minutes west of Stony Plain with the dream of building a ski resort.  The land included a small lake called Lake Eden, which would eventually become the resort’s namesake.

As owners of the Terrace Corporation construction company, the Zeiters used their resources to transform the landscape of Lake Eden into a functioning ski area.  In 1973, Mike Vann wrote in the Edmonton Journal:

Its 87-foot-high hill was insufficient as a ski area so they moved more than one million cubic feet of earth on top of it to bring it to its present height of 203 feet. More than 12,000 trees were planted to landscape the 35 acre ski terrain.

Their original plan was to build a 30 room hotel on the site; something that never materialized.

Up until 1979, Don MacLachlan was the director of ski operations.  That year, Vancouver native Andy Swabb took over the role when MacLachlan went to Fortress Mountain. (Edmonton Journal, 1979)

 

One thought on “History

  1. Just in case it’s of interest to readers on this site I thought I’d contribute something of what I know of the history of Lake Eden.

    The Zeiter brothers, reported to have bought Lake Eden in 1966, may have bought it from Ray and Annie Quinlan who owned and operated a resort there in the fifties. Ray was a CPR freight conductor at the time. He was a close friend of my father, a CPR trainman in passenger service. Fishing was one of the main attractions of Lake Eden. My father, quite a handyman, built several flat-bottomed row boats in our garage in Edmonton for Ray to rent out to fisherman. How they were transported to Lake Eden I don’t remember. I do remember that Ray had a 1955 Plymouth bought new that had trouble getting up the hill out of resort area but there might have been someone around with a pick-up too. My father often took us out to the lake and helped Ray with the running and maintenance of the resort.

    Swimming was popular at Lake Eden although if you were looking for the beach life you would have been disappointed. I do remember enjoying quite a few hours drifting around the lake with the first swim mask I ever owned. Surprisingly, it was also popular with a scuba diving club from Edmonton at a time when scuba diving was still quite a rare sport. Maybe its depth made it more appealing to them than other lakes in the area. This was before wet suits came into use. They wore thin rubber dry suits which I don’t think were nearly as dry as advertised. Being something of a novelty, that activity always made an impression.

    One summer, at age 15, I did some hard labour clearing brush from under the power lines along the road between the lake and highway. One of the Quinlan clan about my age worked with me. I don’t remember it as a great money-making proposition but I’m sure Annie kept us well fed with hamburgers from the grill. After starting high school and working summers in the CPR roundhouse in Edmonton I don’t believe I ever got back to Lake Eden. It must have been in the late fifties or early sixties that Ray lost a foot when run over by a train. It would have been hard for him to continue operating Lake Eden after that.

    Somewhere there may still be some 8mm colour footage taken at Lake Eden around 1955 or 1956. One of my closest friends of that time, Martin Glazerman (of whom I lost track about a lifetime ago) came out to the lake with us one summer day with his 8mm movie camera, at the time almost as rare as scuba gear, especially in the possession of a 15-year old. Martin had a good paper route.

    So that’s what I remember of Lake Eden. I hope it’s been of interest to somebody somewhere.

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