Our regional visitor centre is location in Air Ronge, at the entrance to our tri-community. We are open year-round, with photographs, maps, local photography, paintings, arts, crafts and postcards for sale.
We have details of canoe routes and day trips, and our friendly staff can tell you some of the history and help you plan your visit to our area. Relax and have a coffee and snack while you talk!
Our staff can answer your questions about La Ronge, Air Ronge, the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and the surrounding area. They can also inform you about northern Saskatchewan in general, and provide whatever maps and information you need for the lakes, canoeing or hiking, campground, biking or canoe routes. We have camp and attractions brochures, park information or other literature you may require
Canoeists please register before you star your trip, and deregister on completion, in order that we can find and notify you if a problem (such as a forest fire) should occur on your route. We will issue you a Voyageur Certificate on completion of your trip – a great souvenir!
Winter visitors will find information about ice fishing, cross-country skiing, dogsledding and snowmobiling in the area
This area has been home to Cree people and their forefathers for centuries. The Churchill River system bears evidence of human activity from hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years ago. Our waterways were once the lifeline of the Cree people, providing travel routes for canoe sin summer and for dogteams in winter. In the 1800s, fir traders paddled up the Churchill River from the east, establishing a trading post first in Stanley Mission and then on the north end of Lac La Ronge. The posts were used as a base for further exploration
The sites of fur trading posts around the shores of Lac La Ronge are now overgrown and all but invisible. The Northwest Company and the Révillon Freres both traded in the area, combining in the the late 1920s to form the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Bay moved their post to the present La Ronge townsite in 1914, and has been located on the same site ever since, under different names and in a succession of buildings – 108 years in 2022! It currently operates as Giant Tiger
Religion followed the fur traders into the north, playing a major role in forming permanent settlements and establishing school near their churches. Later, the province took over provision of schools when they made formal education mandatory. And yes, we had a residential school in La Ronge, although by all reports it was a nicer place than some.
By 1900, there was a Catholic community at Egg Lake. Later, a Catholic church was built near the present Montreal River bridge. In 1906 the All Saints Anglican Church was built in its current location three kilometres from the mouth of the river, on a rocky bluff overlooking Lac La Ronge. Within a few years, an Anglican residential school had been built near the church, allowing people to leave their children in town to be educated while they maintained their traditional trapline way of life. The school kept a large garden near where the present beach is growing fresh produce for school meals. There was a small sawmill in what is now Patterson Park, used to make the boards to build the school.
The first residential school burned down in 1920, and was replaced. The second school also burned, in 1947. There was also a day school for non-Treaty local children. Our tourism industry really started in the late 1930s, when news of rich fishing in Lac La Ronge and other nearby lakes reached the outside world.
The completion of a gravel road from Prince Albert in 1948 reduced the role of the Montreal River as a travel corridor. Supplies, personnel, fishermen and tourists now arrived by road to experience the wilderness and the fine fishing. Once more the water became important, this time for recreation. The local population, though, never lost its dependence on water for moving around. They had, and still have, total mobility by road or by water the best of both worlds.
Between the 1950’s and 1970’s, the road gradually extended north of La Ronge to take advantage of resources and promote mineral exploration through the provincial “Roads to Resources” program. The highway from Prince Albert was rerouted to the west side of Montreal Lake and paved in the late 1960s in the process, the community of Molanosa was moved to a new location across the lake and named Weyakwin – the swearing place, named for difficulties of travel in that area. Highway 2 is now part of the 4, 100-km CanAm Highway, extending from Southend Reindeer to Mexico!
Air travel has been evolving since airplane engines first roared over the north’s lakes and forests in the summer of 1924 on aerial photography missions. Today, the Town of La Ronge operates a modern airport with paved main and crosswind runways and full navigational aids. Forest fire fighting aircraft are based here in the summer, using water for yet another purpose!
Our waterways are still important to our economy, whether for subsistence, tourism, aviation, wild rice, or just plain getting away from it all. They’re full of history, great for recreation and still important for travel. The area is part of the traditional territory of the Lac a Ronge Indian Band. The Band has about 10,000 members in 18 reserve communities, six of which are in our area and account for about half the Band’s population. This is the largest First Nation in Saskatchewan, and one of the top 10 Canada-wide.
Find your next best adventure in Northern Saskatchewan. We have a load of activities available for all skills and ages. Whether you like a casual vacation, or are up for some physical challenge -There’s always something to do in and around Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Want some advice on what to do? Head over to our contact page and reach out to us.