Fur Trade Starts in the Peace River Country
at Lesser Slave Lake in central Alberta started in 1799 with the
establishment of a North West Company fur trade post. Over time the post
and surrounding community became an important stopover on the Klondike
trail and an important link
in the trade route of the Peace River district.
Methodist James Evans became
the first missionary in the area. Soon after, and with the assistance of
fellow missionary Robert
Rundle, Evans reported notable success in his
efforts with146 baptisms and 17 marriages of
predominantly Métis people.
Treaty #8, Part
4: Famous People at the Negotiations
Trails: St. Albert to Athabasca Landing
a Catholic missionary visited the Lesser Slave Lake area as early as
1841, it was not until 1870 that a permanent Roman Catholic mission was
established-St. Bernard's Mission. An Anglican mission, St. Peter's,
emerged in 1887, although it only remained for three short years.
a community, Lesser Slave Lake witnessed the arrival of gold prospectors, traders and settlers.
In 1893, to support the growing population, the North West Mounted police established its first
detachment in the Peace River Country at Les
ser Slave Lake. The
missionaries also reacted to the population increase and invited the Sisters of Providence.
Additionally, a residential school was built for the area's growing number
In 1909 the settlement at Lesser Slave Lake was renamed Grouard in honour of
the resident Roman Catholic Bishop Father Émile Grouard. The Bishop's
legacy in the area is not only limited to the name of the settlement,
however-much of the interior of the church at St. Bernard was painted by
Grouard himself, and remains preserved as a provincial historic landmark.