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Green Lake

Northern village, pop 498, located 49 km NE of Meadow Lake at the junction of Hwys 55 and 155. Situated at the north end of a long, narrow lake from which it derives its name, Green Lake serves as a gateway to a number of communities further north. It is predominantly a Métis community with a history dating back to the late 1700s and the Fur Trade. In the 1870s, a Roman Catholic mission was established and an ox cart road was hewn from Fort Carlton on the NORTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER to Green Lake. From Green Lake freight could then be transported over water to Ile-à-la-Crosse, reducing the amount that had to come over the voyageur highway from Cumberland House. Through Green Lake much pemmican that would fuel the northern fur brigades was transported. By the 1890s, Green Lake's population was steadily increasing and a post office was established in 1901. In the 20th century, farming and forestry began to dominate the Green Lake area economy. In 1939, the provincial government established Farming operations to assist and train people in agriculture. In the 1940s, the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary arrived to provide Education and medical services. The Sisters also oversaw the running of a cannery, carpentry and sewing shops through which people could acquire trade skills. A sawmill was established at Green Lake, becoming a major community employer. Green Lake was incorporated as a northern village in 1983. Today, there are two community-owned businesses: Green Lake Metis Wood Products Ltd., and Green Lake Metis Farms Ltd. Tourism is also an important, albeit seasonal, industry in the area, and there is an expanding cottage development at Green Lake. Green Lake faces several challenges as it moves forward into the 21st century. The population has been slowly falling and unemployment currently hovers around 20 per cent.

David McLennan

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