Halcyon Hot Springs

While First Nations people in the Arrow Lakes area were aware of the hot springs at Halcyon for centuries, the first European to recognize the potential of these healing natural hot springs was Captain Robert Sanderson. Sanderson, a university-educated engineer who operated a steamship on the Arrow Lakes, had a close relationship with the local First Nations who helped him locate the source of the springs.
Soon later, Sanderson staked his future on the hot springs when he bought 400 acres of crown land in 1890 and built a hotel equipped with a series of wooden “plunges” that let guests soak in the superheated mineral water, which was believed even then to aid in a variety of illnesses – from rheumatism to strokes.
The healing water of the natural hot springs, combined with the incredible mountains and scenery in the area inspired Sanderson to call his resort “halcyon,” an indication of the calm and serene nature of the place. The name is a reference to a Greek myth about the goddess Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus, the ruler of the winds. After her husband Ceyx drowned in the sea, Alcyone was stricken with grief and tried to drown herself – but was instead transformed into a bird and carried to her husband by the wind. She became a bird known as halcyon, or the European Kingfisher in more modern times. The bird was believed to have the power to calm the oceans to protect its eggs while nesting, a period that lasts for two weeks around the winter solstice in December. This extended period of good weather became known as the “Halcyon days” – a term which has seen broad usage throughout history as a reference to times of peace and calm.

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