Being one of the oldest communities in Alberta, Lac La Biche is saturated with rich history. The Lac La Biche Museum & Discovery Centre tells the story of over 200 years of colonialism starting with the arrival of the first European explorer in the region in 1798: “David Thompson brings a whole realm of people today that are still interested in the portage; they’re interested in his life,” Shirley Klyne explains. The early 1800’s Portage La Biche used to travel between Hudson Bay and the ocean making the fur trade and the transition into fur farming possible. “Fur trade began the whole settlement in Lac La Biche, we have families in some way, shape, or form who are still associated through trapping.” And last but not least, the museum will feature the high end artifact, which took four years to restore: the 102-year-old Empress of France model, commissioned by Father McGrane.
Shirley Klyne moved to Lac La Biche several years ago and after retiring she became interested in artifacts and got involved in the Lakeland Interpretive Society where she continues to dedicate her time to the development of the Lac La Biche Museum & Discovery Centre. “The highlights were the times when we’ve had people through, particularly the Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers. They were just so thrilled to see what we have and enjoyed seeing the historical things.”
The artifacts from the museum had been donated from residents of the Lac la Biche Region and stored for almost 30 years. The Lakeland Interpretive Society started the colossal work of opening the Lac La Biche Museum & Discovery Centre back in January of 2013 and is now open for visitors. The official opening is October 4th, 2014, to commemorate the arrival of David Thompson in 1798..