ALBERTA BEACH ON LAC STE. ANNE MAP EDMONTON
Directions: Exit Edmonton on Hwy 16 or 16A west, turn north onto Hwy 43, then turn west onto Hwy 633.
Distance: 60 km west, or about 45 minutes, of Edmonton.
Info: 780-924-3181; www.albertabeach.com.
The Cree knew Lac Ste. Anne as manito sakahigan, meaning â€œspirit lake.â€ White traders later called it Devilâ€™s Lake because storms could quickly cause the lake to become dangerous. In August 1843, Father Thibault named it Lac Sainte Anne, and it became the site of the first permanent Catholic mission west of Winnipeg.
Lac Ste. Anne is home to a famous Catholic pilgrimage. Thousands of people converge here every summer to celebrate their spirituality and seek healing in the sacred water of Lac Ste. Anne; one year saw a record number of 30,000 participants. The pilgrimage has occurred since 1889 and coincides with the July 26 feast day of Saint Anne. Masses are given in Cree, Chipewyan, Blackfoot, Dene, and English.
On the southeast side of the lake, the village of Alberta Beach is home to more than 860 permanent residents, but the population expands on summer weekendsâ€”sometimes to more than 3,000 people. Originally developed as a railway community, Alberta Beach was incorporated as a summer village in 1925.
People come to Alberta Beach for swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, sailing, fishing, Jet
Skiing, and boating. The village has a resort feel to it, with stores, restaurants, and pubs within walking distance of the beach. Lac Ste. Anne is the kind of lake where you can walk a long way out and the warm water will only be up to your knees. The sandy shore has a swimming area and playground.
Or, if you visit in winter, come for ice fishing, snowmobiling, ice-skating, or cross-country skiing. In addition to the annual pilgrimage, annual events include Sno-Mo Days on the Family Day long weekend in February and Polynesian Days on the August long weekend.