Lac La Biche, Alberta

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Lac La Biche
Main street
Main street
Motto: Forestry Capital of Canada
Lac La Biche is located in Alberta
Lac La Biche
Lac La Biche
Location of Lac La Biche in Alberta
Coordinates: 54°46′13″N 111°58′45″W / 54.77028°N 111.97917°W / 54.77028; -111.97917Coordinates: 54°46′13″N 111°58′45″W / 54.77028°N 111.97917°W / 54.77028; -111.97917
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
Region Northern Alberta
Census division 12
Municipal district Lac La Biche County
Founded October 4, 1798
Dissolved August 1, 2007[1]
 • Mayor Omer Moghrabi
 • Governing body
Area (2011)[2]
 • Total 6.20 km2 (2.39 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 560 m (1,840 ft)
Population (2011)[4][2]
 • Total 2,520
 • Density 407.8/km2 (1,056/sq mi)
 • Population centre 2,544
 • Population centre density 410.6/km2 (1,063/sq mi)
Time zone MST (UTC−7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC−6)
Postal code span T0A 2C0-T0A 2C2
Area code(s) -1+780
Highways Highway 55
Highway 36
Highway 881
Waterway Lac la Biche
Official name Notre Dame des Victoires / Lac La Biche Mission National Historic Site of Canada
Designated 1989

Lac La Biche is a hamlet in Alberta, Canada, within Lac La Biche County.[5] It is located approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi) northeast of the provincial capital of Edmonton, on the southern shore of Lac la Biche. Previously incorporated as a town, Lac La Biche amalgamated with Lakeland County to form Lac La Biche County on August 1, 2007.[1]


Historic voyageur highway[edit]

Statue of David Thompson
Lac La Biche Mission

Lac La Biche was on the historical voyageur route that linked the Athabaskan region to Hudson Bay. David Thompson and George Simpson used the fur trade route via the Beaver River from the main Methye Portage route that reached the Athabasca River.[6] David Thompson was the first known European to record his sojourn on Lac La Biche. Thompson, who referred to the lake as Red Deers Lake, arrived October 4, 1798 and built a trading post,[7] now known as Lac La Biche,[8] and overwintered there. He entered copious notes in his diary on the Nahathaway (the Cree), their customs, traditions, and the Western Forest Land, including the large supply of whitefish and beaver.[9]

"The French-speaking element, mostly from Red River, coalesced around the Oblate mission that was established in 1853. It formed a community that was tightly knit, even though the influence of the church lessened and the trend was towards marrying out and establishing nuclear families. Living was largely off the land; logging and road work provided intermittent wage labour. Many of the adults were trilingual, speaking French and Cree as well as English."[10]

The Hudson's Bay Post at Lac La Biche was looted on April 26, 1885 during the Northwest Rebellion by members of Big Bear's band. Their plan to loot the nearby Roman Catholic Mission was stopped by the local Cree and Métis population.[11] Métis Scrip Records show many residents of the area were awarded scrip by the Government of Canada from 1885 until the 1920s.[8]

The Lac La Biche Mission is now a National Historic Site and Provincial Historic Resource. It was established in 1853 by Oblate missionaries and was the site of one of the first residential schools in Alberta.[12][13]


According to Lac La Biche County's 2013 municipal census, the Hamlet of Lac La Biche, which comprises Ward 7,[1] had a population of 2,895 permanent residents.[14]

In the 2011 Census, the dissolved Town of Lac La Biche had a population of 2,520 living in 929 of its 1,038 total dwellings, a −8.6% change from its 2006 population of 2,758. With a land area of 6.18 km2 (2.39 sq mi), it had a population density of 407.8/km2 (1,056.1/sq mi) in 2011.[4]

As a population centre in the 2011 Census, Lac La Biche had a population of 2,544 living in 938 of its 1,047 total dwellings, a −7.8% change from its 2006 population of 2,758. With a land area of 6.2 km2 (2.4 sq mi), it had a population density of 410/km2 (1,063/sq mi) in 2011.[2]

In 2006, Lac La Biche had a population of 2,758 living in 1,169 dwellings, a 0.6% decrease from 2001. The former town has a land area of 6.18 km2 (2.39 sq mi) and a population density of 446.6/km2 (1,157/sq mi).[15]

Pertinent local ethnicities include the Lebanese, White Russians Old Believers, several First Nations reserves, and a French population.


The community is supported by the oil patch, logging, forestry, agriculture, and commercial fishing.


Lac La Biche is home to the Lac La Biche Golf Course,[16] while numerous lakes and campgrounds provide outdoor recreation opportunities in the area, including Lakeland Provincial Park to the east.


The Hamlet of Lac La Biche comprises Lac La Biche County's Ward 7.[1] Councillors Hajar Haymour and John Nowak represent Ward 7 on Lac La Biche County Council.[17]


Aerial view of Lac La Biche (2010)
Lac la Biche from the west end of the community

Lac La Biche Airport (YLB) is located 1.5 NM west of Lac La Biche. It features a fully serviced 5,700 ft (1,700 m) by 100 ft (30 m) paved airstrip.


The main campus of Portage College is located in Lac La Biche. The college has an ACAC hockey team named the Portage Voyageurs. The team's first season began in the fall of 2008.[18]

Northern Lights School Division No. 69
  • Vera M. Welsh Elementary School (K-3)
  • Aurora Middle School (4–8)
  • J.A. Williams High School (9–12)
  • Lac La Biche Off-Campus (8–12)


Media outlets serving Lac La Biche and area include the Lac La Biche Post weekly newspaper[19] and the Big Dog 103.5 radio station.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Province of Alberta (April 1, 2007). "Order in Council (O.C.) 332-2007". Retrieved March 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Census Profile – Lac La Biche, Alberta (Population centre)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Alberta Private Sewage Systems 2009 Standard of Practice Handbook: Appendix A.3 Alberta Design Data (A.3.A. Alberta Climate Design Data by Town)" (PDF) (PDF). Safety Codes Council. January 2012. pp. 212–215 (PDF pages 226–229). Retrieved October 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Census Profile – Lac La Biche, Town, Alberta (Dissolved census subdivision)". Statistics Canada. November 2, 2012. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ Alberta Municipal Affairs (April 1, 2010). "Specialized and Rural Municipalities and Their Communities" (PDF). Retrieved June 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Disclaimer – Electronic Collection". Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ Thompson 1916, p. 304.
  8. ^ a b Barkwell 2013.
  9. ^ Thompson 1916, pp. 304–305.
  10. ^ Dickason 1999, p. 77.
  11. ^ Heather Devine (2004). The People who Own Themselves: Aboriginal Ethnogenesis in a Canadian Family, 1660–1900. University of Calgary Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-55238-115-1. 
  12. ^ Canada's Historic Places. "Notre Dame des Victoires / Lac La Biche Mission National Historic Site". Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  13. ^ Lac La Biche Mission. "Lac La Biche Mission national historic site". Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Permanent Residents by Electoral Ward" (PDF). Lac La Biche County. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  15. ^ Statistics Canada. "Canada 2006 Census: Lac La Biche—Community Profile". Retrieved June 12, 2007. 
  16. ^ "Lac La Biche Golf & Country Club". Lac La Biche Golf & Country Club. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Council". Lac La Biche County. Retrieved July 10, 2013. 
  18. ^ Voyageur Athletics
  19. ^ "Lac La Biche Post". Great West Newspapers LP. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Big Dog 103.5 FM". Big Dog 103.5 FM. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 


External links[edit]