Who is T.A.B., the Monster of Wascana Lake?
· 12 min. read
This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
“I thought it was a pile of garbage as I was running by, and then all of a sudden I saw two eyes staring out of the garbage, and it started coming towards me – shimmering on the surface of the lake… That encounter changed my life.” - Kenton Dampchuck, Evidence Exposed, 2017
Dampchuck believes what he encountered that day was the Toxic Algae Blob, or T.A.B., which is said to live in the watery depths of Wascana Lake. Since Dampchuck’s encounter with the creature, he has begun to investigate its history, bringing up various reports and eyewitness testimonies since the 1980s, including one from Former Premier of Saskatchewan, Grant Devine. It’s also believed that its existence is the reason why swimming in the lake has been prohibited since 1949.
However, the official story by the Wascana Centre Authority and the Provincial Capital Commission is that swimming and fishing in the lake are prohibited because it’s a runoff from the local watershed, which brings in various pollutants. According to a 2011 CBC article on the topic, the water in Wascana Lake has “an unbelievable amount of phosphorus, both naturally and from land use activities upstream” and the water and foam can cause rashes after coming into contact with people who have sensitive skin. Consuming water in large quantities can also cause liver toxins and illness. The Wascana Centre Authority website used to state various illnesses that can be caused by long-term exposure to the water, but that information has since been scrubbed.
This does not surprise Dampchuck, however, as he believes both the municipal, provincial, federal and perhaps even global governments know of and are attempting to prevent T.A.B.’s existence from being discovered. Dampchuck believes that T.A.B. arrived first in Wascana Lake sometime in the 1940s, through a rift in time and space. This correlates with the same time the military was creating experimental weaponry at the former GMC plant during World War II. They used the lake as a testing ground for some of these weapons and then rebuilt the north shore of the lake in the following years to erase their activities.
In recent years, more and more people have witnessed T.A.B. around Wascana Lake. In 2017, a video of the creature taken by two girls swirled online. News cycles picked up another encounter in 2018 at the Girls Rock Camp 2018 after some of the campers were frightened by an algae-covered anthropomorphic creature.
These signings picked up in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the lockdowns lifted during the summer months, Shadowy Amorphous Mayor (S.A.M.) began campaigning on Willow Island, claiming it was time to “drain the swamp”. Their campaign was based on slither-down bioeconomics, and ideas such as lowering taxes on the lake, selling off the property for private companies, improving surveillance around the island, and natural resource extraction.
T.A.B. would enter the race shortly after, as an alternative to S.A.M., claiming to be the “right blob for the job”. Their campaign focused on sustainable island development, water aeration, affordable nesting, more investment in community support, and improving the cleanup of goose droppings.
The three campaigners – T.A.B., S.A.M., and Dr. Honk Gooserman – all campaigned for ways to improve the island and the park and appealed to different voters. SAM’s ideas towards resources and private land use were more popular with the elite and mushroom communities, while Dr. Gooserman focused more on kitchen-table issues, like the high cost of phytoplankton and the presence of brackish water, which appealed primarily to the waterfowl and songbird communities. T.A.B. connected with the Algae-BTQ communities and proposed to maintain the swamp, instead of draining it, believing in the development of more dank spaces such as dens, warrens, nests, etc.
T.A.B. would end up winning the election and appear more and more in the public eye. They followed through with their campaign promise of affordable nesting, by working with a local rodent construction firm Dam-It to build low-income and affordable nests. Dr. Gooserman would run for island councilman, but, due to a misunderstanding on Swampy Communication Network’s Swamp to Table, he was roasted to perfection in the oven with a delightful mix of swamp grass, rosemary, and some essence of bog. As for S.A.M., they disappeared following the election, most likely back to the interdimensional vortex from which they appeared.
Although T.A.B. has been in the public eye since 2020, they haven’t made many waves in the mainstream media. However, their existence and passion for swampy island life have generated a lot of interest among the locals, and the annual Swamp Fest has become a perfect opportunity to visit Willow Island and possibly see the elusive Mayor T.A.B.
The Swamp Fest is from September 1-3, 2023, but there is additional lantern-making at the Swamp Fest Headquarters at 2201 11th Ave a few days earlier on Monday, August 28 at 6pm. It's a free lantern-making workshop in preparation for the Swamp Strut that upcoming Friday. All supplies are provided.
On Friday night, the festival begins with a dark contemporary dance troupe called the Swamp Roots that will be performing at Wascana Observation Deck at 8pm. Be tricky, be wise, and don’t slip into their grit, as these roots will try to drag you into the depths of the swamp.
For those who dare not go where the watermelons grow, you can also drop by The Cure to see DJ badcarlotta, Patty Blue, and ka lok starting at 9pm. While there, you can also take in psychedelic 3D projections by Ringo Jedlic, which will set you in the mood for the rest of the weekend.
The festival continues on Saturday and Sunday on Willow Island, with a ferry pickup spot at the Wascana Observation Deck by Sir Reginald Reafh, the fifteenth son of the 9th Earl of Regina. Once on the island, your host will be Sean Dunham, nail tech, podiatrist, snake milker, and co-host of the CJTR radio show and podcast Spoiler Alert.
The island pass is $70 per person, but the full festival pass, which includes entrance to the island, admission to The Cure, and a Saturday night performance at The German Club is only $85 per person. You can see more about the schedule and various pricing on the Swamp Fest website.
If you’re curious about what to expect at the Swamp Fest, I have created a Spotify playlist so you can listen to the artists ahead of time before taking in the swampy ambiance of the island.
However, some of the artists performing are new and up-and-coming, or are anti-establishment, and aren’t on Spotify. Because of that, I wanted to give them some attention too:
Gil & Wil are a female duo based out of Saskatoon, made up of members Holly Gilroy and Aiden McRorie Wilson. I could only find a handful of their songs across the internet, but they are a complimentary acoustic powerhouse of swing, bluegrass and old-time R&B music. Imagine a cross between She and Him and Florence and the Machine if you want an idea of what to expect from them.
Big Evil Rat is from one of the few places in the world where there are no rats – Edmonton, Alberta. They create psych-punk music, with a mix of rock-and-roll via drums and heavy guitar. A good comparison would be Foxy Shazam’s 2008 Introducing. Expect drums, guitars, and a heavy bass line, especially if they play their head-banger Dead Light.
The Marmalads might ring a bell as they are a flash from the past after also performing at the Regina Folk Festival earlier this year. Hailing from the distant land of Regina, Saskatchewan, this instrumental music group has decades of experience behind them, with artists such as Andy Beisel, Ethan Anderson, my old classmate Ian Cameron and the guy who taught me to use a HAM radio while in a pickup truck seven summers ago, Dana Rempel.
The complete lineup is as follows:
- DJ badcarlotta
- ka lok
- DJ Patty Blue
- Gil & Wil
- À La Mode
- The Beautiful Band
- Kawacatoose Boyz
- Rae Spoon
- Wolf Willow
- Hit the Streets
- Big Evil Rat
- Stacy Lloyd Brown
- The Whats
- The Marmalads
- Lucy's Seduction
- Mother Sun
This weekend will also have a maelstrom of interactive art displays, projections, and an appearance by The Swamp Swarm. Stories say that wherever The Swamp Swarm goes, T.A.B. isn’t too far behind, so be sure to keep your camera ready (and steady!) for anything that goes squish in the muck.
Thank you to the Swamp Fest for permission to use some of their illustrations and photography.
Don't forget to pin it!
Categories: Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan