La Loche

La Loche is a village in the boreal
 forest of Saskatchewan, a province of Canada.

La Loche panorama  2015  (photo by Raymond Dauvin)

Situated on Lac La Loche the village of La Loche had a population of 2,611 in the 2011 Canada Census. The Clearwater River Dene Nation borders La Loche to the north and had a population of 778  in the 2011 Canada Census. On the south side of the lake is the northern hamlet of Black Point with a population of about 70 people.  

Located at the north end of the lake is Methye Portage or Portage La Loche. This portage is 19 kilometres long and leads to the Clearwater River. This river flows into the Athabasca River at Fort McMurray, Alberta. This portage was an important transportation link on the fur trade route that led north during the last quarter of the 18th and most of the 19th century. On the west side of the lake about ten kilometres from the portage is West La Loche.  It has not been occupied for about twenty years but it played an important part in the history of Lac La Loche .Located on the south west end of the lake is an area belonging to the Clearwater Dene Nation. Lac La Loche has a single island which the residents call Dog Island.

Over 200 years of history: 

The history of La Loche begins with the Dene.
The Dene spent the winters in hunting camps north of the Clearwater River
and returned every summer to the lakes south of the Clearwater. 
On Lac La Loche, Garson Lake, Turnor Lake, Peter Pond Lake, Churchill Lake and  Lac Ile a la Crosse 
many Dene summer camps became permanent settlements.
La Loche was one of these summer camps.

La Loche 1952

La Loche view from atop the fire tower taken in 1952. (Tower Street)
The hospital was completed in 1949 and the church was replaced in 1953.
These buildings from left to right are the Hudson Bay Post by the lake partially hidden by the HBC residence.
In front is the DNR  residence on the corner. (Department of Natural Resources). This building 
was built in 1952 according to the former resources officer.
Across the lane are the Mission grounds. This area includes the rectory, the old church, stables, convent and hospital. On the far right is the White School. 
There is large fenced potato field in the foreground and several homes and buildings. 

(photo from

La Loche Locations

interactive map--zoom in for details--click on symbols


Dog Island and Big Point (photo by Raymond Dauvin)

This picture of Lac La Loche was taken on May 1, 2010.
It will take another week or two for the ice to clear on the lake.
This lake usually freezes over by the end of November.
This picture shows  "Dog Island" the only island on Lac La Loche.
Next to the island is "Big Point" where once stood a North West Company Post circa 1789-91. 
This post was 43 feet long and 28 feet wide with two fireplaces and two cellars. 
A chapel was also built on "Big Point" in 1877 by local residents. 
It was demolished in 1891 and was only used twice for the "summer missions".
Behind this point is the old settlement of West La Loche. 
Across the lake behind the island is the entrance to Portage La Loche. 

La Loche and Clearwater

This is an autumn view of La Loche from the air (
This view is taken from the south. The Poplar Point sub-division is in the foreground.
The next crescent of land is La Loche between the two lakes.
On the next crescent of land is the village of Clearwater (Clearwater River Dene Nation).

Local names used by residents.
The residents of La Loche have placed names on certain areas of the town which are not on any map.
The nickname for La Loche is North L.A..
There is Riverside, Washington (the first house was painted white), Spokane, Seattle, Ghost Town (by the cemetery), New York (an area of fourplexes), Other Village. There is Sesame Street, Devil's Street and Chicken Corner. There is an area called the Jungle (around the liquor store). 
There is a downtown and an uptown because one area of main street is lower than the other.
There is a Mile 4 and a Mile 6 down the highway.

Map of La Loche and area

La Loche is in Saskatchewan's northern boreal forest.
Its lies just outside the Canadian Shield close to the Alberta border.
On this map the blue highway is a paved road while the grey lines are gravel roads.
The areas within a red line boundary belong to Canada's First Nations. 
These are all of the Dene Nation.

The "History of La Loche"  became active in July 2010.
It was started as a site to store information on the village of La Loche, Saskatchewan. 
By July 2011 it had grown to include articles, references, maps, albums of photos, scanned books, translations and links.  
By July 10, 2013 the pages on this site had been viewed a total of 50,787 times . 
Please give credit to this site when using any of its original articles, translations and photos.


Blog: News, Videos, and information.

Music Video: Click link below to hear an original Dene song by a La Loche songwriter, singer and musician.

Artists links: 
View the gallery and archives of Dene artist Alex Janvier of Cold Lake, Alberta.

Old Photos: 1908+