The lake northwest of Osoyoos in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley looks like any other body of water in the winter and spring.
However, as the majority of the water evaporates in the summer, hundreds of massive briny pools are left behind, resulting in a polka-dotted landscape of yellow, green, and blue spots. “The most magical place in Canada,” according to the CBC, is Spotted Lake.
The vibrant pools are the result of a high concentration of minerals in the water, including calcium, sodium sulphates, and magnesium sulphates.
Minerals and a mixture of salts have washed down from the surrounding hills. The different colours are determined by the mineral concentration in each pool.
According to the British Columbia Visitor Centre, Spotted Lake has been considered a sacred place by the indigenous people of the Okanagan Nation for centuries.
Each of the different circles was thought to have different healing and medicinal properties. Kliluk was the name given to the lake by the First Nations of the Okanagan Valley.
For many years, the land that surrounds the water was privately owned, but in 2001, it was purchased for the benefit and use of the Okanagan Nation.
The purchase ensured that the land would be preserved as a cultural and environmental site and would be protected from development.
Minerals from the lake were used to make ammunition during World War I. Laborers mined up to one tonne of salt per day from the lake to harvest the minerals.
According to the British Columbia Visitor Centre, the “lake displayed an even greater variety of colours and an even greater artistic beauty” prior to the mineral mining.
Visitors who want to see the lake up close and personal won’t be able to do so. To protect the area, a fence has been erected, along with a sign stating that it is culturally and ecologically sensitive.
However, there are numerous vantage points along the highway from which to view the lake’s famous polka dots.
Though simple science explains the locations of the mystical lake, at least one travel website has a more intriguing explanation.
“It’s more fun to imagine you’re living within the scene of a Dr. Seuss book when you visit in person,” says Spot Cool Stuff.