Municipal History

A legacy like no other.

Ours is a storied past filled with thriving indigenous communities, intrepid explorers, and the march of progress and industry into our northern region. From downing giant bears to guarding Nazi POWs, Lesser Slave River's legacy is as colourful as they come.
Though Canada was founded in 1867, the roots of our region trace back to the dawn of man. This interactive timeline is a work in progress, and is designed to chronicle some of the key events that have shaped the course of Lesser Slave River's history.

October 16, 2017

Municipal Election

Heritage Council 2017Residents vote in the municipal election for the MD’s next Reeve and Councillors. Reeve Murray Kerik is elected for his fourth consecutive term.

A mixture of both incumbent and newly-elected, these individuals bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and business acumen to the Council table.

October 16, 2017

August 26, 2017

River Parade

Heritage River ParadeThe MD hosts a River Parade to celebrate a milestone: 100% completion of the Trans Canada Trail! Connecting Canada from coast to coast, the Trans Canada Trail (also known as The Great Trail) is the world's longest network of recreational trails.

January 1, 2017

Lesser Slave River Celebrates Canada 150

Heritage Canada 150The 150th anniversary of Canada, also known as the 150th anniversary of Confederation, is celebrated by the MD and the nation as a whole throughout 2017.

January 1, 2017

October 15, 2012

Reeve Kerik Elected

Heritage Reeve KerikRancher, firefighter and third-generation resident Murray Kerik is elected as Reeve of Lesser Slave River. Prior to his new position, Reeve Kerik served two consecutive terms as Councillor for the MD. Reeve Kerik continues to help write the next chapter of this special northern Alberta region’s story. As a family man, a business owner and a dedicated public servant, it is a story that's very near and dear to his heart.

October 20, 2008

Reeve Garratt Elected

Heritage Reeve GarrattDenny Garratt is voted in as Reeve for the MD of Lesser Slave River. Midway through his term, Reeve Garratt is tasked with leading the region out of the ashes of the devastating May 2011 wildfires – first to safety, then later to recovery.

October 20, 2008

December 31, 1994

MD Incorporation

Heritage MD IncorporationFormerly known as Improvement District no. 124, the region is incorporated by the Alberta Government as the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River no. 124.

May 15, 2011

Historic Wildfires

Heritage WildfiresIn the early Sunday afternoon, disaster strikes the Lesser Slave River region when a series of forest fires, fanned by high winds, cut through the heart of the region. This bleak event stands as the largest natural disaster in Canadian history, and its effects continue to resonate to this day.

May 15, 2011

October 20, 1953

Record-Breaking Grizzly Kill

Heritage Bella Twin63 year old Bella Twin encounters an enormous grizzly while walking a cutline near Slave Lake.With only seconds to react, Twin lifted her bolt-action .22 rifle and felled the bear with a single shot between the eyes. To this day, Twin's grizzly stands as the longest reigning provincial big-game record in Alberta, and it may well never be broken. There are varying accounts of the incident, but all agree on one thing: Twin did the job with the humblest of rifles, a single-shot .22.

November 22, 1943

Floating Internment Camp

Heritage Fawcett POWAbout 40 members of a captured German U-boat crew find themselves prisoners of war at Fawcett Lake’s lumber camp – their home for the next 2 ½ years. During the winter the prisoners live in a sawmill camp on the West Shore. In the summer they occupy a floating camp that moves along the shore in an easterly direction as required by the logging operations. The rules were simple: ten hours of work per day, six days per week, with 50 cents’ credit in the camp store for each day worked.

November 22, 1943

November 30, 1928

The Growth of Forestry

Heritage Chisolm SawmillThe late 1920s and early 1930s there was substantial activity in the Chisholm, Smith and Sawridge areas. Logging trains brought heavy shipments of logs to the sawmill in Chisholm and provided many jobs for newcomers to the area. As the Sawridge townsite grew, the name changed to Slave Lake in 1923.


Hudson's Bay Outposts

Heritage Hudson's BayBy the 1890s the Hudson’s Bay Company had two posts in the Slave Lake Region, using the knowledge and labour of the First Nations people to fish and fur trap.


November 30, 1912

CP Rail Forges North

Heritage CP RailIn 1913 the railroad expanded north to Lesser Slave River from Edmonton. Laid on the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake, this new railway replaced earlier steamboats and supply outposts.


The Beginnings of Smith

Heritage Mirror LandingAs goods and people come from Edmonton via steamboat, a small outpost called Mirror Landing was founded 70 km east of Sawridge, opposite what is now the Smith townsite. It supplied those making the journey to the Peace Country, and offered weary travellers food and rest.



Peace River Jim's Steamboat

Heritage Peace River JimThe Sawridge townsite became a trading and transport center at the turn of the century, relying on the rivers and lakes of Northern Alberta to bring goods and people from Edmonton to the Peace Country; Colonel “Peace River Jim” Cornwall built the first steamboat to ply the Lesser Slave Lake.

June 21, 1899

Historic Treaty Signed

Heritage Treaty 8Signed on the banks of Lesser Slave Lake, Treaty 8 was an historic agreement between Queen Victoria and various First Nations of the Lesser Slave Lake area, including the Sawridge First Nation. Treaty 8 is one of eleven numbered treaties made between the Government of Canada and First Nations.

June 21, 1899

April 28, 1799

The Sawridge Namesake

Heritage David ThompsonNoted explorer David Thompson arrives at the mouth of the Lesser Slave River in the early spring. He is the first white man to see the vast Lesser Slave Lake. Thompson establishes a townsite called Sawridge - the namesake of which comes from the saw-toothed appearance of the large sand ridges along the north shoreline of the Lake.


First Nation Legacy

Heritage First NationNoted explorer David Thompson arrives at the mouth of the Lesser Slave River in the early spring. He is the first white man to see the vast Lesser Slave Lake. Thompson establishes a townsite called Sawridge - the namesake of which comes from the saw-toothed appearance of the large sand ridges along the north shoreline of the Lake.


Help strengthen the MD's historical timeline. Spot a date or description that's not quite accurate? Have a photo or story of your own to tell? Contact the Communications Department and add to Lesser Slave River's legacy.

Welcome to Lesser Slave River

Just a few hours due north of Edmonton lies the remarkable region of Lesser Slave River. From breathtaking expanses of boreal forest and unspoiled natural wonders to a thriving economy and genuine work/life balance, opportunities abound.

Here you'll discover a place of rugged beauty. A place of real people. A place you'll never want to leave.

Reeve Murray Kerik
Municipal District of Lesser Slave River no. 124

Tangent Civic

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