Colville Lake, Northwest Territories

Coordinates: 67°02′18″N 126°05′32″W / 67.03833°N 126.09222°W / 67.03833; -126.09222
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Colville Lake
Settlement Corporation
Colville Lake is located in Northwest Territories
Colville Lake
Colville Lake
Colville Lake is located in Canada
Colville Lake
Colville Lake
Coordinates: 67°02′18″N 126°05′32″W / 67.03833°N 126.09222°W / 67.03833; -126.09222
TerritoryNorthwest Territories
Settlement areaSahtu
First Nation (Designated Authority)30 November 1995
 • ChiefWilbert Kochon
 • Senior Administrative OfficerJoseph Kochon
 • MLANorman Yakeleya
 • Land128.39 km2 (49.57 sq mi)
259 m (850 ft)
 • Total129
 • Density1.0/km2 (3/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−06:00 (MDT)
Canadian Postal code
X0E 1L0
Area code867
Telephone exchange709
- Living cost182.5A
- Food price index196.3B
Department of Municipal and Community Affairs,[2]
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre,[3]
Canada Flight Supplement[4]
^A 2013 figure based on Edmonton = 100[5]
^B 2015 figure based on Yellowknife = 100[5]

Colville Lake (K'áhbamį́túé[pronunciation?] meaning "ptarmigan net place") is a settlement corporation located in the Sahtu Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. The community is located 50 km (31 mi) north of the Arctic Circle, on a lake of the same name, and is northeast of Norman Wells. This settlement is the administrative office of the Behdzi Ahda band government. The community is likely named for Hudson's Bay Company Governor Andrew Colvile.[6]


Federal census population history of Colville Lake
Source: Statistics Canada
Annual population estimates
Sources: NWT Bureau of Statistics (2001 - 2017)[16]

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Colville Lake had a population of 110 living in 30 of its 43 total private dwellings, a change of -14.7% from its 2016 population of 129. With a land area of 126.14 km2 (48.70 sq mi), it had a population density of 0.9/km2 (2.3/sq mi) in 2021.[15]

The GNWT has reported that the majority, 148 people, were Indigenous, Sahtu Dene.[5] They are represented by the Behdzi Ahda' First Nation and belong to the Sahtu Dene Council[17]

Geography and climate[edit]

Colville Lake is located 745 km (463 mi) by air, northwest of Yellowknife. The terrain is characterized by black spruce and tends to be small and sparse. Other vegetation includes mosses, lichens, grasses and alders.[18] The winter months begin in October and last until April. The month of May is considered the spring or breakup period. By the end of May or Early June the lakes and rivers are normally free of ice, although this varies. June, July and August are considered the summer months and temperatures range in the mid twenties. At times the temperature has climbed into the low thirties. By late September, freeze up is well underway again.[18]


The community in autumn

The community of Colville Lake is the ancestral homeland of the Hareskin (Sahtu) Dene who still inhabit the area. The Hareskin Dene were never very numerous, with a population of less than one thousand people, living in six or seven bands, at the time of European contact. The Hareskins were a peaceful group, known for their use of small animals such as the Arctic hare. Located within the traditional homeland of the North Slave Dene tribe, Colville Lake is a completely traditional community in every sense. Although Father Émile Petitot brought Christianity to the area in 1864, organization of the community did not occur until 1962 when a Roman Catholic mission was established by Bern Will Brown.[18] Brown came north from US in 1948 as a priest, then as painter and bush pilot.[19]


Today you can visit the site of the mission Our Lady of the Snows. One main attraction is a fishing lodge. Colville Lake is home to grayling, trout and pike fish. There is also a small art gallery and museum located next to the lodge. Rounding off the town, there is a bed and breakfast and two stores.[20]


Kapami Co-op is the only food retailer and hosts the post office for the community. Locals either resort to hunting, purchasing food flown in or drive to Norman Wells or Fort Good Hope when winter roads are in use.

Colville Lake School is the only school providing K-12 education needs. The main log building houses junior grades and portable for older students.[21]

The community has a basic health station staffed by a nurse with telehealth access from Norman Wells.[22] Medivac transfer for patients when advance care is required either to Norman Wells (health clinic) or Yellowknife (Stanton Territorial Hospital).

There is no local policing and only month patrol from RCMP detachment in Fort Good Hope.[23]

Colville Lake had no fire services and became a concern after 2014 fire and previous fires were left to burn out.[24] Since then the community is staffed by a single mini pumper.


Colville Lake/Tommy Kochon Aerodrome is located outside the community. The airport connects with Fort Good Hope and Norman Wells only.

Within the community is Colville Lake Water Aerodrome using the lake as landing area. This facility is operated by local Arctic Co-operatives Limited store.

The old airstrip is located inside Coville Lake with old runway (10/28) still visible. Since closing in 2012 solar panels have been built at end of the former runway to provide alternate power supply to Colville Lake.

Roads in Colville Lake provide local access only. A winter road connects with Fort Good Hope for nine months of the year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Colville Lake, Settlement [Census subdivision], Northwest Territories and Canada [Country]". Retrieved 2017-09-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "NWT Communities - Colville Lake". Government of the Northwest Territories: Department of Municipal and Community Affairs. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  3. ^ "Northwest Territories Official Community Names and Pronunciation Guide". Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. Yellowknife: Education, Culture and Employment, Government of the Northwest Territories. Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  4. ^ Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 16 July 2020 to 0901Z 10 September 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Colville Lake - Statistical Profile (2006-2017)" (PDF). NWT Bureau of Statistics. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-08-29.
  6. ^ "Colville Lake". 2015-04-21. Retrieved 2022-03-13.
  7. ^ "1981 Census of Canada: Census subdivisions in decreasing population order" (PDF). Statistics Canada. May 1992. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  8. ^ "1986 Census: Population - Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions" (PDF). Statistics Canada. September 1987. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  9. ^ "91 Census: Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions - Population and Dwelling Counts" (PDF). Statistics Canada. April 1992. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  10. ^ "96 Census: A National Overview - Population and Dwelling Counts" (PDF). Statistics Canada. April 1997. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  11. ^ "Population and Dwelling Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Census Subdivisions (Municipalities), 2001 and 1996 Censuses - 100% Data (Northwest Territories)". Statistics Canada. August 15, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  12. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data (Northwest Territories)". Statistics Canada. August 20, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  13. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses (Northwest Territories)". Statistics Canada. July 25, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  14. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Northwest Territories)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2022.
  15. ^ a b "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), Northwest Territories". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  16. ^ Population Estimates By Community from the GNWT
  17. ^ Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Archived 2005-12-28 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ a b c Communities Economic Reference Library; Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. pg 13.(2006).
  19. ^ "Bern Will Brown (Authors)". Strong Nations. 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2022-03-13.
  20. ^ Spectacular NWT Tourism Archived 2009-01-24 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Colville Lake, N.W.T., celebrates graduating class for first time in 8 years | CBC News".
  22. ^ "Colville Lake Health Station | Health and Social Services Authority". Retrieved 2022-03-13.
  23. ^ "Colville Lake elders scared by violence, lack of policing | CBC News".
  24. ^ "Colville Lake needs a fire truck, says chief | CBC News".

External links[edit]