Great Slave Lake is the 10th largest lake in the world and the second largest completely within Canadian boundaries. Thousands of small and not so small islands dot its rocky shoreline. Some have names and some are just rocky mounds with a few scraggly spruce clinging to the granite.
One island well known to Yellowknife pleasure boaters is Etthen Island, half way down the lake’s East Arm. It’s a popular place to visit or to camp overnight. And it is home of the rustic Etthen Café. Not a real café mind you, but a small shelter and stopping over area, seen only by boaters who ply the deep waters of the scenic arm.
Our inquiries about the origins of the “café” led nowhere. Some people said they thought it was built by boaters who were “weathered in” on the island and built the café and surrounding tables, benches, fences and bathrooms as a way of passing the time. Others said that boaters who anchored at this location started it as a sort of kitchen for preparing meals, and that it was added to by other boaters over time.
No one knows how old it is. Or how long it will last. But it’s there now. A small DIY structure in the middle of the wilderness area.
Just another northern oddity.