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Sakitawak (Cree name)
Forts of Île-à-la-Crosse by George Back in 1820
Forts of Île-à-la-Crosse by George Back in 1820
Île-à-la-Crosse is located in Saskatchewan
Coordinates: 55°27′N 107°53′W / 55.450°N 107.883°W / 55.450; -107.883Coordinates: 55°27′N 107°53′W / 55.450°N 107.883°W / 55.450; -107.883
Trading Post1776
Mission founded1846
School founded1860
 • Typemunicipal
 • MayorDuane Favel
 • AdministratorDiane McCallum
 • MLA AthabascaBuckley Belanger
 • MP Desnethé—
Missinippi—Churchill River
Rob Clarke
 • Total23.84 km2 (9.20 sq mi)
 • Total1,365[2]
 Metis settlement
Time zoneCST
 • Summer (DST)CST
Postal code
S0M 1C0
Area code(s)306
HighwaysHwy 155, Hwy 908
WaterwaysChurchill River, Beaver River
Official nameÎle-à-la-Crosse National Historic Site of Canada

Île-à-la-Crosse is a northern village located in the boreal forest of northwest Saskatchewan. Situated on a peninsula on the western shore of Lac Île-à-la-Crosse it is accessed by Highway 908 off of Highway 155. It is located within the Northern Saskatchewan Administration District.[8]

The Cree name for Île-à-la-Crosse is Sakitawak which means "where the rivers meet".[9]


Île-à-la-Crosse is the second oldest community in Saskatchewan, Canada,[10] The community has a rich history being connected to the Churchill River, Beaver River and Canoe River systems.

It became the administrative centre of the English River District of the Hudson's Bay Company and an important supply depot on the fur trade route during the latter part of the 18th century and most of the 19th century. The English River District headed by the Chief Factor of Île-à-la-Crosse included other posts on Beaver Lake in Alberta and on Green Lake, Lac La Loche and Lac la Ronge in Saskatchewan.[11][12]

In 1846 a Roman Catholic mission was established by Father Alexandre-Antonin Taché and Father Louis-François Richer Laflèche of the Oblate Order.[13] and in 1860 three Grey Nuns arrived founding a school and a hospital.[14][15]

On April 27, 1885, during the North-West Rebellion most of the personnel and dependants of the Hudson's Bay Company Post and the Roman Catholic Mission of Île-à-la-Crosse alarmed at the looting of the Green Lake Post the previous day travelled 80 kilometres across the frozen lake and set up a camp on a small wooded island north of Patuanak. On May 24 they erected a large cross on their island of refuge (now known as Cross Island (55°59′46.1″N 107°40′26.9″W / 55.996139°N 107.674139°W / 55.996139; -107.674139) and returned to the community on May 29 when the crisis was over and the lake was free of ice.[16][17]

Sara Riel the sister of Louis Riel is buried in Île-à-la-Crosse.[18] Sara became a Grey Nun in 1868 and took the name of Sister Marguerite-Marie in 1872. She served at the mission from 1871 to 1883. Her headstone in French reads: Ici Repose Rév. Sœur Marguerite Marie (Riel) Decédée 27 Decembre 1883, Agée 34 ans, R.I.P. [16][19] Louis Riel Sr. the father of Sara and Louis was born in Île-à-la-Crosse in 1817.

Île-à-la-Crosse celebrated its bi-centennial in 1976.[20]

For geography and fur trade history see Lac Île-à-la-Crosse.

The site was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1954.[21]


The population of this northern village was 1,365 in 2011. Most are Métis people descendants of French, Scottish, Scandinavian and Cree settlers.[22]

In the 2006 census 1,240 or 93% of the residents identified themselves as Aboriginal.

Canada census – Île-à-la-Crosse community profile
2011 2006
Population: 1,365 (+1.8% from 2006) 1,341 (+5.8% from 2001)
Land area: 23.84 km2 (9.20 sq mi) 23.84 km2 (9.20 sq mi)
Population density: 57.2/km2 (148/sq mi) 56.2/km2 (146/sq mi)
Median age: 27.4 (M: 26.9, F: 27.9) 24.7 (M: 22.7, F: 27.2)
Total private dwellings: 443 485
Median household income:
References: 2011[23] 2006[24] earlier[25]


Île-à-la-Crosse has two schools Rossignol Elementary Community School (Pre-K to Grade 6) designed by architect Douglas Cardinal and Rossignol High School (Grade 7-12) located in the Île-à-la-Crosse Integrated Services Centre a large complex which also includes a hospital, a daycare, senior's care and offices. The schools are within the Île-à-la-Crosse School Division No. 112.[26]

Dog team and sled, Ile-à-la-Crosse, SK, about 1910

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Search for Municipal Information". Government of Saskatchewan. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  2. ^ "Canada Census 2011 (community profiles)". Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  3. ^ "GeoNames Query -Île-à-la-Crosse : Query Record Details". Government of Canada. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
  4. ^ National Archives, Archivia Net, Post Offices and Postmasters
  5. ^ Government of Saskatchewan, MRD Home, Municipal Directory System, retrieved 2012-10-16
  6. ^ Canadian Textiles Institute. (2005), CTI Determine your provincial constituency
  7. ^ Commissioner of Canada Elections, Chief Electoral Officer of Canada (2005), Elections Canada On-line
  8. ^ "Types of Municipalities". Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  9. ^ Welcome to The Northern Village of Ile a la Crosse
  10. ^ "Île-à-la-Crosse". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina. 2006. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  11. ^ George Bryce. (1910), The remarkable history of the Hudson's Bay Company (page 491), London: Sampson Low, Marston
  12. ^ Richard Somerset Mackie (1997), Trading Beyond the Mountains; The British Fur Trade on the Pacific, 1793-1843 (Map 1, p. xvi), Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press
  13. ^ "Religious History of St. John Baptiste Parish". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Religious History of St. John Baptiste Parish". Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  15. ^ Adamson, Julia (16 February 2013). "Saskatchewan Roman Catholic Churches ~ Online Parish Registers ~ History". Saskatchewan Gen Web. Ancestry.com. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  16. ^ a b "A Leap of Faith--The Grey Nuns Ministries in Western and Northern Canada--Volume II by Thérèse Castonguay, s.g.m. pages 30-31" (PDF). 2001. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  17. ^ "Batoche: les missionnaires du nord-ouest pendant les troubles de 1885". Le Chevallier, Jules Jean Marie Joseph. Montreal: L'Oeuvre de presse dominicaine. 1941. Retrieved 2013-09-09.
  18. ^ "Riel, Sara (1848–83)". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina. 2006. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  19. ^ "Grave of Sister Marguerite Marie (Sara) Riel". THE VIRTUAL MUSEUM OF MÉTIS HISTORY AND CULTURE. Gabriel Dumont Institute. 2006. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
  20. ^ "Sakitawak Bi-Centennial (Île-à-la-Crosse 1776 - 1976)". Île-à-la-Crosse Bi-Centennial Committee. January 1977. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  21. ^ Île-à-la-Crosse. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  22. ^ "Sakitawak - Community, History and People". Sakitawak Development Corporation. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
  23. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  24. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
  25. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012.
  26. ^ "Île-à-la-Crosse School Division website". Retrieved 2013-05-18.

External links[edit]