Did you know that Jasper’s secluded and beautiful Patricia Lake has a fascinating secret? Beneath its surface is the final resting place of the skeletal remains of a top-secret WWII mission once thought to be as important to the war effort as the atomic bomb - a secret aircraft carrier over 3,700 miles away from the epicenter of the war.
Project Habakkuk was a plan by the British in World War II to construct an aircraft carrier out of pykrete (a mixture of wood pulp and ice), for use against German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic, which were out of range of land-based planes.
The idea came from English journalist, spy and inventor Geoffrey Pike, who had originally been recommended to Lord Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations during the war. Pyke conceived the idea of Habbakuk as a way to protect seaborne landings and Atlantic convoys out of reach of aircraft cover. He proposed that an iceberg, natural or artificial, be levelled to provide a runway and hollowed out to shelter aircraft.
With the enthusiastic support of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, naval architects and engineers built a large scale model of Habakkuk at Jasper National Park’s Patricia Lake to examine insulation and refrigeration techniques, and to see how it would stand up to artillery and explosives.
Today, the remains of the Habakkuk prototype can still be found on the bottom of Patricia Lake.