Have you ever been in Love? I've been in Love many times. What is Love? Love is a small village of fewer than 100 people in east-central Saskatchewan on Highway 55 about 95 kilometres east of Prince Albert. Love is located at the northern edge of settled Saskatchewan. To the north lie vast stretches of pine, spruce and poplar forest, which reach the northern boundary of Saskatchewan and beyond. Love is commonly known as the Gateway To The Narrow Hills.
The Narrow Hills are actually one long, high ridge pushed up long ago by glacier activity and they give the Narrow Hills Provincial Park its name.
Saskatchewan, (Pop. Approx. 1,000,000), which is about twice the size of Germany, has an estimated 100,000 lakes and the major portion of them are in the northern half of the province. In these lakes are many species of fish, including Walleye, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch and a variety of trout.
Saskatchewan is relatively young, not having reached provincial status until 1905, making 2005 our centennial year. The first settlers never reached our area until the early 1920's. My mother's family reached their homestead, which is 1 1/2 km north of my farm, in 1929. As a child I was involved in stooking bundles of grain, hauling the bundles to a threshing machine, logging with horses, hauling loose (unbaled) hay for our livestock and a variety of other chores related to living in one of the last frontiers. The early settlers made extra money by logging and trapping in the forest and deer and moose were plentiful to help feed their usually large families.
Both of my parents’ families came to Canada from Germany in the early 1900's. My father's family, the Thorvart family, settled on the prairies east of Saskatoon and my mother's family, the Sager family, settled here on a homestead 1/2 north of my farm. For settlers in the north the process of building a viable farm was tough because of the dense bush that they found there. The spruce trees often reached a diameter of 1 metre or more and the pine and other species being only a little smaller.
Now, as then, logging and trapping are still important occupations for many people though grain farming and raising cattle are the main sources of income. Raising bison is also becoming more common, some ranchers having as many as 300 or more animals.
There are a variety of activities to entertain vacationers in our area. In summer the fishing in Tobin and Codette Lakes, located 50 km away, is excellent. There are vacation farms where you can actually help with the farm work and ride horses or All-Terrain-Vehicles or you can go canoeing on one of the many lakes and rivers in the area.
We run what we call the Esker Trail Tour. It takes about 7 or 8 hours from the time we leave until we get back again. You must keep in mind that a good portion of the time we are on a trail that is only two wheel tracks through the forest. The tour takes us up the Narrow Hills Esker Trail, stopping at a trappers cabin to see how the modern trapper lives and then on to Falling Horse Lake for a picnic lunch. We had one fellow from Austria who was sitting on a bench with a sandwich in his hand. Suddenly, a Whiskey Jack flew down and tried to take his sandwich away.
As we travel along the trail we drive through untouched stands of pine and spruce since most of the trail is in the Narrow Hills Park and the trees are protected by law. Logging or any tree cutting is illegal.
As we near the end of the trail we reach the most spectacular scene of the whole trip. We are then on the very top of the esker itself. Far below are a series of three small lakes called Grace Lakes. There is an unobstructed view of about 25 km across the lakes and the valley that holds them. The valleys on both sides of the esker are full of small lakes created by the very glacier that made the esker so long ago.
There are many other things to see and do in the area. There are museums, craft shops where you can buy hand-made items and souvenirs and golfing at the Evergreen Golf Club, one of the top 100 courses in Canada. There are Bison and Elk ranches to tour and further afield you can go to Native Pow-wows or take in the many local fairs and rodeos. Nipawin, a town of about 5000, is our nearest place to shop. There you can buy anything from fishhooks to Cadillacs. And the peace and quiet is unbelievable. The summer activities are limited only by your imagination.
In the winter things are a little more relaxed. Snowmobiling is a very popular sport as is downhill skiing. Ice-skating, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are available. Ice fishing is good through most of the winter though you need a knowledgeable guide to find the best spots.
All these things and more are available in our area or within 200 km of here. Very few guests or visitors go away disappointed. We are still close enough to our pioneer roots that most people are friendly and helpful and many can tell stories of things that happened to their pioneering parents or grandparents.
One such story is how Grace Lakes got its name. It was reportedly named after a neighbour lady of ours named Grace who was the first known white woman to swim in one of the lakes. When her husband was injured in a logging accident in 1955 they moved to British Columbia.
My name is Marvin Torwalt and my wife, Deloris, and I own and operate River Trail Country Vacations. I have lived here since 1953 and know much of the history of the area.
I hope my ramblings have been of interest and informative and we invite youto our Saskatchewan Centennial celebrations in 2005!
The city of Prince Albert, named after Queen Victoria’s husband, is the most northerly city of any size in Saskatchewan. Prince Albert, referred to as PA, is the 3rd largest city in Saskatchewan. PA is situated in the broad valley of the North Saskatchewan River, near the geographical centre of the province. Prince Albert is the gateway to the huge Prince Albert National Park and meeting point of the southern agricultural prairie and the rich northern forest belt, which is typical of Northern Saskatchewan.
Prince Albert was founded in 1866 at a place where a fur-trading post existed since 1776. The founder was a churchman who came to establish a mission.
Prince Albert in figures
Prince Albert has a population of 35,000.
The city of Prince Albert encompasses an area of 6,574 hectares.
Prince Albert has an altitude of 428.25 m above sea level.
Narrow Hills Provincial Park
Location: North of Prince Alberta. Access via Highways 120 & 106.
Narrow Hills Provincial Park is an 868 sq km park of semi-wilderness in northern Saskatchewan. This dramatic and vast park offers camping, fishing, backpacking, hiking, cycling, boating and snowmobiling in winter. There are trails throughout the park. Narrow Hills Provincial Park offers nature and relaxation. Narrow Hills is a build-up of hills and ridges, dating 10,000 years back. From the highest ridge visitors can enjoy fantastic views of lakes and boreal forest. Explore this scenic tour by car or walking.
For more information call: (306) 426-2622
Clarence Steepbank Lakes Provincial Park
Location: 150 km northeast of Prince Albert. Access off Highway 927 and Highway 913.
Clarence Steepbank Lakes Provincial Park is a park of 17,549 hectares featuring a pristine landscape, lakes, wilderness and mature forest. The park offers camping, fishing and picnicking. There are 5 primitive campsites at Clarence Lake and one campsite at Steepbank.
For more information call: (306) 426-2622
Emma Lake Recreation Site
Location: 50 km north of Prince Albert.
Emma Lake Recreation Site is situated in the heart of Saskatchewan’s scenic and beautiful Lakeland area that consists of Christoper, Emma and Anglin Lakes. All lakes provide the ingredients for a great family fishing adventure for walleye, perch and northern pike. There are ample opportunities for boating, a number of beaches with swimming and other summer activities. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. There are several campgrounds on both Emma Lake and Anglin Lake.
For more information call: (306) 982-2002
Lac La Ronge Provincial Park
Location: Adjacent to the town of La Ronge.
Lac La Ronge Provincial Park is with a size of 344,470 hectares Saskatchewan’s largest provincial park. The park’s landscape is typical of the rugged Canadian Shield and consists mainly of lakes and islands, nestled in the Northern Boreal Forest. There are approx. 100 lakes to explore including Lac La Ronge, the largest one. The park is a year-round destination with camping, kayaking or canoeing, and hiking in summer and cross-country skiing in winter.
For more information call: (306) 425-4234
Meadow Lake Provincial Park
Location: North of Meadow Lake off Highway 55.
Meadow Lake Provincial Park runs along a chain of lakes by the Alberta border and encompasses over 1600 square kilometres of lush mixed forest and more than 25 pristine lakes. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking and canoeing among other outdoor activities. There are 12 campgrounds within the park ranging from primitive to fully serviced. Winter offer a variety of fun activities.
For more information call: (306) 236-7680
This Travel Guide was kindly made available by Marvin Torwalt of River Trail Country Vacations in Love.