Friday, 13 May 2016

Smoke in La Loche May 2016

Thick smoke from the Fort McMurray wildfire in La Loche

"On May 1, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurrayAlberta, Canada. On May 3, it swept through the community, destroying more than 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta's history."  Wikipedia

The northern Saskatchewan village of La Loche with an area population of 4,000 is 120 km (75 miles) to the east of the city of Fort McMurray. Clouds of smoke and ash from the wildfires reached La Loche on May 5.  When the air quality was poor the schools were either closed or the children kept inside.

Saturday afternoon at 3:30 May 7, 2016
 Smoke from the Fort McMurray fires in La Loche 

Saturday afternoon at 3:30 May 7, 2016
 Smoke from the Fort McMurray fires over the still frozen Lac La Loche .

Friday, May 13, 2016.
Normally we can see a cemetery and Lac La Loche from here 

Friday morning at 9:30, May 13, 2016. Toulejour Street

Friday morning, May 13, 2016.  La Loche village office

Monday, 10 August 2015

West La Loche 2015

Leaving Poplar Point, a sub-division of La Loche, with Alfred Toulejour in his new skiff.

Passing by downtown La Loche on the way to West La Loche.. 

Log cabin at West La Loche

In a field of fireweed

Another house can be seen 
A house made of square cut logs with one bedroom in the back and a loft at West La Loche. This was a common house type in the Lac La Loche area until three bedroom homes began being built in La Loche in the 1970's

Justine inside the log cabin beside a wood cookstove. A pole used to dry clothes hangs from the ceiling  
Little table top shrine 

Justine and husband Alfred Toulejour

Ancient blue jeans now almost white

At the cemetery we have visitors.  Albert and his wife

Albert tells a story about this grave. Here a young Dene man known for his piety is buried. The recent fires of July 2015 have blackened the area surrounding the cemetery but the cemetery grounds were not touched. Nearby stood a 
Catholic church (now demolished) and a Hudson's Bay Company Post which burned in 1936.

More grave sites

Another three grave sites are marked with crosses.

Returning home with Justine, Doctor Shafali  and friend 

Queen of the world

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

La Loche fires 2015

Photo source Mark Tuite on February 28, 2007 (Departing La Loche enroute to Fort McMurray) 

This aerial photo of La Loche shows how vulnerable the village is to forest fires. Two nearby fires and the resulting heavy smoke has resulted in the evacuation of several thousand residents of La Loche and the Clearwater River Dene Nation to Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina. 

The "Clay" fire is located west across Lac La Loche and the "Mack" fire is  just east of La Loche north of  McLean Lake.

Lac La Loche at the Clearwater beach on the Clearwater River Dene Nation. Taken Sunday, a pall on smoke obscures the sky.  For the next three days the smoke was near ground level and on Canada Day the smoke was a little less dense.  People who remained in the community stayed indoors. Some businesses offering essential services stayed open. The hospital remained closed. 

Size of the Clay fire located across the lake from La Loche on June 30, 2015.

The Mack fire east of  the village on June 30, 2015.

Aerial map showing MacLean Lake on the right bottom and La Loche on the left bottom.  The white line is a planned fire break that is a little over 50% complete. Yellow dots are other fire breaks. The red line shows the extent of the Mack fire.
Another aerial view of La Loche showing  existing fire-breaks on the south side of the community in the sub-division of Poplar Point.
This July 4, 2015 update is from Chief Teddy Clarke of the Clearwater River Dene Nation. The Mack fire has reached Bear Creek located about 50 km. south of La Loche on Highway 155 and the settlement has been evacuated.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Grassfires in La Loche

A grass fire in La Loche claimed the old pool hall across from Ducharme School last week. The building was built in the 1950s (possibly by Robbie Fontaine).  This picture was taken last year. In the spring every year dozens of grass fires threaten the community.  
The building next door shows signs of fire damage.
The building was built out of logs which were later covered with sheets of chipboard and had a shake roof.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

New store in La Loche

Center Point in La Loche, Saskatchewan will open on May 15, 2015.  The 10,000 square foot building has a large grocery area, a pharmacy, a concession (C-Store) and a fast-food outlet  (Sabai Express). 
Center Point panorama
Interior view of Center Point
Interior view of Center Point

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Fires in La Loche

Chester Fries Chicken outlet

The emergency fire siren started at 3:30 in the morning on October 1, 2014.  La Loche Volunteer Fire Department  was still at the scene at 3:00 in the afternoon and the fire was still smouldering when these pictures were taken.  Destroyed in the fire was the Chester Fried Chicken outlet on La Loche Avenue (the main street).  The owners, who lived in the buildings' suite, were awakened by the smoke alarms and called 911.  This popular store, built in the 1980s, sold concession and novelty items as well as take-out food 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Sara Riel 1848-1883

"Sarah Riel the sister of Métis leader Louis Riel was born October 11, 1848 in St. Boniface, Manitoba. She joined the Grey Nuns as a novice in 1865 and in 1868 became the first Métis Grey Nun from Red River. She could speak English, French, Cree and Michif and in 1871  was sent to Île-à-la-Crosse where her father Jean-Louis Riel was born. She served in the school and the hospital of the mission until her death of tuberculosis December 27, 1883. She took the name Sister Marguerite-Marie in 1872 and is buried under that name at the cemetery in Île-à-la-Crosse. Her headstone in French reads: Ici Repose Rév. Soeur Marguerite Marie (Riel) Decédée 27 Decembre, 1883, Agée 34 ans, R.I.P.  She and her brother Louis Riel wrote to each other while she was alive and letters remain describing their relationship and her life in Île-à-la-Crosse."
Ile a la Crosse is built on a peninsula (aerial view) 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Flight from Île-à-la-Crosse 1885

Stories from the North-West Rebellion 

April 1885
In a few months the waterways of  northern  Saskatchewan would be ice free and York boat brigades would again travel to supply the Hudson's Bay Company posts of the Athabasca and Mackenzie River Districts located north of the Methye Portage. It was spring and some swift moving rivers like the Beaver River were relatively free of ice. Open water was beginning to show along some lakes. In the last week of April 1885 rumours of war reached the isolated village of Ile a la Crosse. The village had a population of about 300 people. Most were descendants of French Metis from Red River.

Ile a la Crosse 

Ile a la Crosse was the birthplace of Louis Riel Sr. the father of Louis Riel in 1817.  Sara Riel the sister of Louis Riel died in Ile a la Crosse in 1883. She was 34 years old.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Looting of Green Lake in 1885

Stories of the North-West Rebellion

On April 26, 1885 a group of armed militants arrived to claim the contents of the Green Lake Post.

The river on this map of Green Lake flows into the Beaver River.

Green Lake is a village of 418 people in Saskatchewan a half hour drive north of the city of Meadow Lake.
A Hudson's Bay Post called Green Lake House was located there.  It was an important depot for the movement of supplies to the far north and was connected to Fort Carlton by an a ox-cart trail built in 1875-76.