La Ronge, Saskatchewan Canada

Discover La Ronge, Saskatchewan: A Northern Town Rich in History and Natural Beauty

La Ronge, Saskatchewan, is a captivating northern town nestled in the boreal forest of central Canada. Approximately 250 km north of Prince Albert, where Highway 2 transitions into Highway 102, La Ronge is a gem on the western shore of Lac la Ronge. The town is adjacent to Lac La Ronge Provincial Park and sits on the edge of the Canadian Shield, offering a unique blend of history and natural beauty.

The Historical Roots of La Ronge, Saskatchewan

The name “La Ronge” is derived from the lake it borders, although the exact origin of the name remains uncertain. The French verb 'ronger' translates to “to gnaw”, leading to theories that 17th- and 18th-century French fur traders named the lake 'la ronge' due to the abundant beaver population along the lake’s shoreline. The beavers' dam construction activities would have left many of the trees along the water’s edge visibly chewed or completely gnawed to the ground.

In 1782, Swiss-born fur trader Jean-Étienne Waddens established a fur trade post on Lac La Ronge. However, a quarrel with his associate Peter Pond led to Waddens' fatal wounding in March of the same year.

La Ronge was officially incorporated as a northern village on May 3, 1905. Initially a fur trading post and meeting place, the town has since diversified its economy. The extension of Highway 2 from Prince Albert in 1947 transformed La Ronge into a major tourist fishing area, and the paving of the highway between La Ronge and Prince Albert in the 1970s further expanded the community. The town's status changed several times before finally becoming a northern town on October 1, 1983.

Wildfire Evacuations in La Ronge, Saskatchewan

La Ronge has faced significant wildfire threats in its history. In May 1999, a fire burned through the far north of the town, leading to the evacuation of the community. The wildfire destroyed multiple houses before conditions pushed the fire away from the town, and crews were able to extinguish it.

In July 2015, La Ronge faced another major wildfire threat, forcing approximately 7,000 people to evacuate from their homes. The fire came within 2 km of La Ronge and burned completely around the La Ronge Airport, making it difficult to fight the fire from the air due to smokey conditions and unreliable weather. In total, over a hundred fires were burning in Northern Saskatchewan at once, forcing over 13,000 residents to flee their homes in the province's largest evacuation ever.

The Geography of La Ronge, Saskatchewan

La Ronge is surrounded by several First Nations reserves, with the Northern Village of Air Ronge located just south of the community on Highway 2. As the northern hub for the Saskatchewan provincial government, La Ronge provides access to all other points north, east, and west, and transportation linkage to the south.

Climate in La Ronge, Saskatchewan

La Ronge experiences a borderline (warm-summer) humid continental climate, with long, dry, and very cold winters and short, warm, and wetter summers. The highest temperature ever recorded in La Ronge was 37.2 °C (99.0 °F) on August 23, 1929, and the coldest temperature ever recorded was −52.2 °C (−62.0 °F) on February 15, 1936.

Demographics of La Ronge, Saskatchewan

As of the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, La Ronge had a population of 2,521 living in 915 of its 1,034 total private dwellings, a change of -6.2% from its 2016 population of 2,688.

The La Ronge Population Centre

The La Ronge population centre, the thirteenth largest in the province, comprises four adjoining census subdivisions including the Northern Town of La Ronge, the Northern Village of Air Ronge, and the Kitsakie 156B and Lac La Ronge 156 Indian reserves of the Lac La Ronge First Nation.

Transportation in La Ronge, Saskatchewan

La Ronge is connected to southern Saskatchewan by Highway 2, which continues north as Highway 102. The town is served by the La Ronge (Barber Field) Airport and the La Ronge Water Aerodrome, providing convenient access for both residents and visitors.