WHAT TO DO: MUSEUMS
Lac La Biche Mission
Lac La Biche Mission (Notre Dame des Victoires), situated on the shores of Lac la Biche, offers a picturesque view into the past. With over 160 years of history, there is plenty to see and learn for everyone. Let the interpretive guides take you back in time.
Come and walk on floors dating back to 1875 in the convent and see where the nuns and students spent their days. Wander through our beautiful and fascinating historical displays and see priceless artifacts. See the alter and statues that survived the tornado that destroyed the Church in 1921. Join group activities in exhibits, tours, programs, events, and visit our gift shop!
Teachers can enrich their Social Studies and Science curriculum through one of our tours.
The Lac La Biche Mission, a national historic site and provincial resource, is located 2.5 hours northeast of Edmonton in the heart of Alberta’s Lakeland. Just a few kilometers west of the town of Lac La Biche, take Highway 55, then head north on Old Mission Road. Good signs make us easy to find!Hours of Operation
Open May Long Weekend (Victoria Day) until the end of August, 10:00am – 5:00pm daily, 6 days a week (closed Tuesdays) Tour Fees:
Children under 6 FREE
Visit the Lac La Biche Mission website for more details.
Lac La Biche Museum & Discovery Centre
Take a step back into the early days of the Lac La Biche region. Starting with the arrival of the first European explorer in the region in 1798, David Thompson shares his story through his diaries that document his journeys and stay in Lac La Biche. He paved the portage route through the Lac la Biche Region for other explorers, fur traders, and free traders who made Lac La Biche an important stop and soon enough, a permanent home. Over the next century, fur trading was the most important business in the community along with the establishment of the religious life at the Lac La Biche Mission. In 1915, the first locomotive arrived in Lac La Biche which catapulted a huge transformation in the community. It became Edmonton’s “summer resort” and officially became a town with a mayor and council in 1919.
Telling the story of over 200 years of colonialism, the Lac La Biche Museum & Discovery Center captivates the way of life of our ancestors with fur trade exhibits, Portage La Biche, and the Railway story. Also, discover the colourful history of the Lac La Biche Inn and the Town of Lac La Biche.
The remodeled SS Empress of France is a precious treasure recently added to the collection. After 4 years and over 3,500 hours of work, this 101-year old beauty is a wonder! You are sure to be in awe at the detail and work put into this colossal model ship.
10:00am – 4:00pm Monday – Sunday; 7 days a week
Visit the Lac La Biche Museum & Discovery Centre website for more details.
After the American Civil War, a group of French settlers left Quebec, Canada, to go to the land of promise in the United States. They settled in the little community of Provemont, Michigan. Several years later, after these pioneers were established, they realized that the farms were very small with little opportunity of expansion. At this time, the Canadian government was encouraging new development in the west; they were selling parcels of 160 acres for only $10.
With this information, Joseph Plamondon, along with other pioneers, saw the possibility of relocating with the chance of having their families established in close proximity to them. They saw this as a great opportunity to be able to continue to preserve and maintain their French culture and the Catholic faith. On May 7, 1908, a caravan consisting of forty French Canadians, eight teams of horses and four oxen started their journey from Michigan to Alberta. The journey seemed long and very difficult, but finally on July 28, 1908, they stopped by a grove of spruce trees and a little ravine. The leader, Joseph Plamondon, declared that this place would be his homestead. This new establishment was declared Plamondonville and eventually shortened to Plamondon.
The Métis were already established in this region. Being very skilled hunters and trappers, they shared their knowledge and taught the pioneers how to survive the north. Throughout the following years, despite the challenges, the community continued to develop and grow.
In June 2013, Plamondon was recognized as the first bilingual community in the province of Alberta meeting all necessary conditions and showing how the language and culture is carried in the community.
The Plamondon Museum is open May 20th until the end of August and offers a link to the early days of the community. At the museum you will find artifacts from Père Joe Plamondon, and other early pioneer families. Come check out many instruments, including a 100-year-old organ & the first guitar that came to Plamondon.Hours of Operation
10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, May-June.
10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, July-August.
For more information, call 780-798-3193.
Portage College Museum of Aboriginal Art & Artifacts
Portage College offers an exciting collection of Aboriginal Artifacts. The Collection began as a teaching tool and in 1984 the acquired crafts and artwork were catalogued as an artifact collection, as there are many unique items on display.
The collection is presented as a self-guided walking tour with display cases located throughout Portage College campus in Lac La Biche, however guided tours and workshops can be booked with the Native Arts and Culture Faculty.
Themed display windows have been created to highlight aspects of Aboriginal culture. In these display windows you may expect to view themes featuring Inuit tools and handicrafts, hide tanning, the Iroquois False Face Society, Metis arts and crafts, Caribou hair tufting, Aboriginal clothing, porcupine quill work and fish scale art.
Currently, Portage College offers a variety of Native Culture and Arts Programs which help maintain the quality and showcase the creativity of student art-work through traditional and contemporary art forms.
Enjoy a story about Barb Derrick, who helps to run the program at the College!
Read more about the Aboriginal Art and Culture here!Hours of Operation
9:00- 3:30 Mon-Fri; Closed Saturday-Sunday
Call Portage College toll free 1-866-623-5551 or visit their website for more information.
Rich Lake & District Pioneer Museum
For the history buffs and cultural explorers looking to find out more about the history of the Rich Lake area, the Rich Lake & District Pioneer Museum has lots to discover. Showcasing the trapping and homesteading there is a log cabin that is dedicated to the early trappers of the area including a set of snowshoes inside donated by Herbert Erickson that have been around the world with 2000 miles to spare.
Other notable displays at the Pioneer Museum include the original first gas pump and Post Office from Rich Lake, the Parker family stove, salt rocks, and a bear tooth. Some of these natural historical pieces date back to 150-2000 million years ago with human artifacts dating back to the early 1900s. The museum is open May – September annually and welcomes all visitors to see the antiques, collectables, historical preservations, restorations, and dedication mural for the trappers and loggers painted by the late Alyson Cook and completed by Marylyn Evans.For more details, call 780-623-7756.