History

After missing for almost half a century, we’re proud to have restored an Alberni Valley tradition by returning the iconic Joe Drinkwater tugboat to Sproat Lake once again and naming our restaurant after renowned area resident and pioneer Joseph (Joe) Drinkwater.  

The original Joe Drinkwater tugboat dates back over one century ago, to 1899.  Its namesake is Joseph (Joe) Drinkwater, a prospector and trapper who pioneered much of Vancouver Island’s gold prospecting activity.  A little-known fact is that thanks to him the tallest vertical waterfalls in all of Canada were discovered, and Joe named them after his wife Della.  At 440 metres high (1443 ft) and accessible only by hiking trails or helicopter, Della Falls is located approximately 30 kms from Sproat Lake and makes for a spectacular overnight hiking destination.  Half of this distance is via a hiking trail built by Joe along Drinkwater Creek, where you may also spot parts of the aerial tramway he built for his gold mining.

It was mid 1940’s when the Joe Drinkwater III tugboat arrived on Sproat Lake from Great Central Lake, B.C.  Active for nearly 30 years, the hard-working tugboat became a signature trademark of the region’s vibrant and flourishing forestry industry; hauling building materials, towing log flows and delivering fresh food and spirits to residents and businesses all around the lake. 

Sproat Lake Landing not only celebrates this history with our Drinkwaters Restaurant and the re-launch of the Joe Drinkwater IV tugboat.  We also believe their names justly signify the bounty still existing at Sproat Lake and the Alberni Valley along with our deep appreciation for tourism which continues to grow.

As the latest chapter in all this rich history, Drinkwaters promises to be true to the legacy. We’re committed to provide quality, fresh, local food, abundant spirits and many fond memories to residents and visitors enjoying the natural beauty of Sproat Lake.