Settlement History

Beginning around 1916, later than in regions further south, settlers began arriving by water and along the rutted trails. Many fished, trapped, hunted, farmed and learned how to live in this northern climate, aided in many cases by the First Peoples already here, who knew the land and how to thrive in it.

While gathering information about the people and events of note as settlers took root in and around Calling Lake, we are inspired by other work that touches on our region. The book Reflections From Across the River, a history of settlement just north of Athabasca, offers a glimpse of the stories we can gather. Many of those stories intersect with the history of our community. Click on the cover image to open or check out the Library for a summary of the book as it connects to Calling Lake.

Reflections from Across the River chronicles the history of an area approximately 230 square miles (384 sq km) in size cradled in the bend of the Athabasca River, directly north of the Town of Athabasca. The communities of Calling River and Tomato Creek are included because of the close relationship between families from these communities and those in the area descried above.

The book Reflections from Across the River focuses on the triangle cradled in the bend of the Athabasca River, north of the town of Athabasca. Tomato Creek and Calling River are included due to their many connections to this area.

Family stories​

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Key events

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Memorable characters

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Settlement timeline

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A project of the Calling Lake Community Society

Land Acknowledgement

Recognizing that we are all Treaty people, equally responsible to know our shared history and journey forward in good faith, we acknowledge with respect that Calling Lake stands on land, and alongside water, where Indigenous peoples have gathered, hunted, fished and held ceremonies from time immemorial. Knowing that J.B. Gambler Indian Reserve #183 is part of Bigstone Cree Nation within Treaty 8 Territory, and that we are within Métis Nation of Alberta District 22, we wish to understand the spirit and intent of promises made so that we can take action to create a just and caring future built on truth and reconciliation.

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