103-1 AVE - Sail Inn to Lake Life
Updated: Mar 17
Sail Inn has a history centered around family and making the most of the lake for everyone lucky enough to be a part of lake life.
Speculation has been made that this particular cabin was owned by Doug ‘Andy’ Anderson, who was a WHL and NHL player in the late 1940’s to early 1960’s. The cabin itself was built in 1948. Frank and Laura Hayter, bought the cabin from the Anderson family in the late 1940's and then sold it to Joe and Billie Duggan 1955. The family with their six children would move out to the lake for the whole Summer.
Cathy Blink (formerly Duggan), remembers going to get water at the well by Hagel's just a block away. When Ralph Byers built one of the first wells, Joe was able to connect to it, so they could build an indoor bathroom. Joe later had a well drilled on his property.
Fresh Air & Plenty of Fun
The Duggan children spent time on horses, as there was a stable where the Anglican Church is today. Ma-Me-O Beach was a safe place to be. The kids made so many lifelong friends and loved to go to the movies at the old Log Cabin on Saturday afternoon, where the memorial park and bathrooms are today. There were three stores to go to and three restaurants. As kids they would walk downtown to those stores to buy treats.
The days were filled with swimming in the lake, boating and playing many games outside. Sundays were the time when relatives came to the cabin. This small cabin was a gathering spot for many wonderful parties. So many board games were played on rainy days. There were lanterns and candles all ready if the power went out. Joe was an avid crib player. On weekends his friends Sid James and Bob Colborne would play many a game together.
The time of grocery stores on every corner and farmer’s markets on weekends was not yet upon the area, and so food was either driven in from Camrose or bought locally. The vegetable lady would come weekly to Ma-Me-O to sell produce. Joe loved fresh peas and carrots. The local tribe would also sell Joe white fish in the Summer. There was milk delivery where Lyle Jackson would deliver door-to-door ice, milk and other dairy products which if you added it all up; the amenities were quite abundant at the time.
Cathy’s Uncle Dennis Guthrie, had a trampoline park located near the main pier and for 25 cents you could jump for 15 minutes. When he closed it down, residents bought the trampolines which they used for many years.
Boats to Float
Joe and Billie had one of the first pontoon boats on the lake. The Duggan family had a big ramp built from the cabin into the lake for family accessibility onto the pontoon boat. A big tractor tire was pulled behind the pontoon boat which provided hours of fun. Picnics were packed to go around the lake, while the motorboat was used to take many people skiing and later tubing.
In the 1960’s there were huge Rock n’ Roll dances on Saturday night at the town hall. People came from far and wide to the dances and it was packed from wall to wall.
Joe sold the cabin to Cathy (Faf) and Mike Blink in 1998, and they were happy to keep the cabin in the family for their sons Bill (Cheryl) and Steven (Nancy). So much time was spent at the lake swimming and golfing. Cathy’s grandchildren, Brayden, Makayla, Andy, Jasper, Michael and Sully loved being in the lake and boating, tubing, fishing and watching birds through the living room window. Storm watching, sunsets and bonfires became the best memories of time spent together watching the world move by at the slower speed associated with time at the lake.
Gather Around the Fire
Sail Inn hosted many family gatherings and became the centre point for the Blink family just as it was for the Duggans. The time spent gave their children an incredible childhood and appreciation for life at the lake
The Blinks created a Ma-Me-O family with the Slaters, Watsons, James and Cokey Hagel. Every summer there would be travelling themed suppers and a huge Canada Day brunch. Each family took a turn hosting the many meals and get-togethers. Watching sunsets and singing around the bonfires were the best times spent with friends at the lake. Every year the three cabins were involved with themes. One year both the James family and the Blink family chose Christmas. These dinners were always a surprise. At first the families did appetizers, main course and then dessert but found that it was too much. The Slaters and Blinks worked together and the James’ cabin did the other course. The excitement and surprise of the events coming together became the highlight of the Summer for all involved. Cathy’s personal favourite was the Halloween themed year. Daughter-in-law Cheryl, had dry ice in a big punch bowl with punch and there was smoke rising. It was really quite a sight.
Another dinner that went on every year with the Ma-Me-O family was crab night. Cathy’s son, Bill, would buy jumbo Alaskan king crab legs and all the guests would help pay for it. They used big pots over flame to boil or steam these huge crab legs. Imagine the heaping pile of crab shells at the end!
Mike Blink passed away in 2006, and Cathy (Faf) continues to own the cabin. Her two sons, Bill and Steven and their families come out as often as possible. Many smiling faces and sand covered feet walk through the doors. Grandson Brayden golfs with his Dad at the Blackbull just like his Grandpa Mike did for many years. Granddaughter Makayla loves to drive the seadoo and be with her friends on the water.
Son Steven, loves to host his friends at the lake too. The smoker barbeque is always going strong as he feeds his crew. Andy, Jasper, Michael and Sully love to seadoo, boat, fish and have bonfires.
So many memories have been built since 1955. This cabin has been the glue that holds the family together. The Blinks are so grateful to Grandpa Joe for buying Sail Inn and seeing the wonderful memories ready to be made.
That's all for now folks! Stay tuned for our next post as more stories are collected and submitted.
~History Book Team~