The multi-generational draw of Candle Lake

Tyler Clarke
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Those visiting Candle Lake for the first time this summer might find themselves hooked for not only their lives, but their children and grandchildren’s lives.


Resort Village of Candle Lake Mayor John Quinn first visited the lake in 1948 during a fishing trip with his father.

Returning to the lake sporadically since their first visit for holidays and fishing trips, his family purchased a property in 1968.

Quinn purchased the property from his mother in 1985, built his present home with his wife Sharon in 2005 and has lived there full-time for about six years.

“I was spending more time at Candle Lake than I was Prince Albert,” he summarized.

“It’s a great lake – it’s a fairly large body of water and it’s got a great shoreline and good beaches – It’s got everything anybody wants.”

Local realtor Brian Martin’s parents built a cabin at Candle Lake in 1957.

He found himself returning year after year since then, finally settling at the lake full-time about 18 years ago.

“It’s definitely the allure of the lake,” he said by phone while looking over the lake’s northeast end. A pontoon boat in the water, he watched his granddaughter play in the water as the sun warmed his head.

“We’ve got some beautiful beaches, the fishing’s good most of the time, and it’s definitely a resort 12 months of the time now.”

The lake is uniquely clear, fellow local realtor Louise Tarasiuk said, noting that it has with various fresh water draws and only one creek draining it, it’s able to maintain its purity.

A permanent resident of Candle Lake for 11 years, Tarasiuk has been visiting the area since she was a kid.

“What I hear from a lot of people is that it’s a place that they’ve always gone to as a child and they have childhood memories there, and they want to go back and bring their children there,” she said -- a common story that applies to her.  

“You’re seeing third generation, now, and people are saying ‘I want my children to enjoy what I enjoyed as a child.’”

Much has changed at Candle Lake since the ’40s, Quinn said.

It’s a great lake. It’s a fairly large body of water and it’s got a great shoreline and good beaches. It’s got everything anybody wants. John Quinn

Although its permanent population hovers around 800 (of whom a large portion spend their winters in Arizona), the summer sees a significant population boom.

On long weekends, its population explodes to the 10,000 mark if one considers area trailer parks, campgrounds and other accommodations.

Several subdivisions have gone up around the lake, with more applications coming into the village office all the time.

“It’s getting extremely busy,” Tarasiuk said. “The beaches are a lot more full, there are a lot of boats on the lake. I wouldn’t say it’s congested, but it has grown a lot.”

Despite this, the Candle Lake area real estate market is in the midst of something Martin doesn’t quite want to call a “slump,” but it is soft, with more properties than usual on the market.

Although the area’s population appears fairly static overall, Quinn said that there has been quite a bit of turnover lately.   

A limited health-care system ensures that as people get older they move to the cities to be closer to the facilities they require.

Filling their place more than ever are young families, Tarasiuk said -- specifically, those headed by a parent who works for a week or two on, a week or two off.

“Dad goes away for two weeks at a time and mom and the kids stay in a safe environment, and then when dad comes home after working hard for two weeks he can have his days off to play at the lake.”

Throughout his decades of visiting and later living in Candle Lake, its natural beauty has prevailed and people’s reasons for visiting or relocating to the area remain the same, Quinn said.

“It’s a little bit of heaven up here and people do enjoy the cottage country, and just to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.”

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Candle Lake, Arizona

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