La Ronge, SK provincial government. La Ronge's current population is approximately 2,743. Portage is a larger than life steel and ferro cement sculpture that stands in Patterson Park in downtown La Ronge. The monument is one of four built in Saskatchewan in honour of the province’s centennial in 2005. A number of text panels on metal paddle mounts surround the sculpture, each written by a Saskatchewan resident, telling a story about their travel and experiences. Portage captures the spirit of adventure. Chris Armand, the artist who created the statue has stated, “ The work is about story telling and experience. My hope is that this interactive piece becomes integrated into the community and stimulates additional storytelling. I am interested in the piece being a starting point for people and their trips whether by canoe, camping or travelling from one locale to another.” And so, as our tour of Cottage North Country draws to a close, we hope that readers will take the time to visit our communities and check out the eye catchers and many other attractions right here in central and northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Special thanks go out to those good people in each community who went out of their way to provide information to make this article possible.
Photo by Gavin Willins
The history of La Ronge dates back to the early days of the fur trade when, in 1782, the Swiss-born fur trader Jean-Etienne Waddens had a fur trade post on Lac La Ronge. The name “LaRonge” was given by early French trappers meaning “The Chewed” because of large amounts of beaver activity of the shoreline of the lake. In 1904, La Ronge was a fur trading post and meeting place, in 1905 was a Northern Village, and became an Industrial Town in 1965. La Ronge received town status in 1976 and became a Northern Town in 1983. With the decline of hunting and trapping and the fur market, La Ronge has diversified into other areas. It has become a northern leader in business, infrastructure and social services, and a centre for education and health with an economy based on tourism, forestry, mining, commercial fishing, trapping and wild rice. Many Dene, Cree, and non-aboriginal trappers used LaRonge as their central service point. With the extension of Highway 2 from Prince Albert in 1947, La Ronge became a major tourist fishing area. Surrounded by several First Nations communities and the Northern Village of Air Ronge located just south of the town on Highway 2, LaRonge has become a northern hub for the Saskatchewan
La Ronge SK Portage celebrates the spirit of adventure in La Ronge cottagenorthmagazine.ca • facebook.com/cottagenorthmagazine • @cottagenorth