lake and pilgrimage site in Alberta, Canada

Lac Ste. Anne or Lac Sainte Anne is rural area composed of multiple small villages surrounding the lake of the same name, located in the Edmonton Capital Region of Alberta, 75 km (47 mi) northwest of Edmonton.


Lac Ste. Anne was first called Wakamne, or God's Lake by the Nakota Sioux, and Manitou Sakhahigan (Lake of the Spirit) by the Cree first nations before the arrival of the settlers. The village of Lac Ste. Anne is one of the first permanent settlements in Alberta and the first permanent Catholic mission. In 1844, Father Jean-Baptiste Thibault established the Mission of Lac Ste. Anne to serve 30 French Métis families, who had settled there in the 1830s, and the indigenous population of the area. He also renamed the lake Lac Ste. Anne, honouring Saint Anne. In 1861, Father Lacombe built a new mission at St. Albert, leaving the mission of Lac Ste. Anne almost totally deserted.

Father Lestanc organised the first pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne in 1889 in honour of Saint Anne whose feast day is on July 26. In 1926 over 5,500 pilgrims attended. Many came by a special train from the city of Edmonton 45 miles away. Today pilgrims come to the lake from all over North America, many walking miles bare-footed as penance to witness or be a part of the miracle of healing. A display of crutches and canes have been left behind in the shrine by pilgrims. Thirty to forty thousand people now attend the annual pilgrimage in the last week of July. Oaths of sobriety, along with other life style promises are made, and prayers and forgiveness are given.

The Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 2004 for its social and cultural importance.


Map of Lac Ste. Anne
  • 1 Alberta Beach   – small village of 1,000 on the southeastern shore and largest settlement on the lake
  • 2 Gunn   – small hamlet on the northeastern shore at the junction of Highways 33 & 43
  • 3 Onoway   – small town of 1,000 east of the lake at the junction of Highways 37 & 43

Summer Villages

Very small permanent populations with seasonal homes.

  • 4 Castle Island  
  • 5 Lac Ste. Anne   – original settlement
  • 6 Ross Haven  
  • 7 Sunset Point  
  • 8 Val Quentin  
  • 9 West Cove  
  • 10 Yellowstone  

Get inEdit

Lac Ste. Anne is 30 minutes northwest of Stony Plain and 50 minutes northwest of Edmonton on Highways 16 and 43. Alberta Beach and the south shore can be accessed by taking Highway 633 from Highway 43.

Get aroundEdit

Highway 43 skirts the north shore while Highway 633 follows the south shore. Local roads connect the eastern settlements.


  • 1 George Pegg Botanic Garden, 56015 Range Road 43, Lac Ste. Anne County (2.5 km north of Hwy 43 near Glenevis), +1 780-203-0331 (April-September), toll-free: +1-866-880-5722 (September-April; Lac Ste. Anne County office), . 12-acre site with a collector's garden of mature native and introduced plants. Take a guided tour of the garden and 1920s log home, walk along a short nature trail, stop for a picnic and watch the birds, learn from the historical and natural history displays.


  • Alberta Beach at Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta Beach. The beach area is in the heart of Alberta Beach. It is sandy and has a grassy picnic area. The water is shallow and warm. Algae is commonly seen floating in the water. All the amenities for a day at the beach are here or nearby.
  • Alberta Beach Golf Resort, 4438 44 Ave, Alberta Beach, +1 780-924-GOLF (4653), .
Lac Ste. Anne Shrine
  • Lac Ste. Anne Pilgrimage, Lac Ste. Anne. Each July, thousands of pilgrims make their way to the shores of Lac Ste Anne. Many come in search of healing and spiritual renewal. Some simply come to reconnect with old acquaintances and forge new friendships. This pilgrimage, which began over a hundred years ago, has become the largest annual Catholic gathering in Western Canada.


Alberta Beach and Onoway each have a grocery store.







Go nextEdit

Routes through Lac Ste. Anne
Grande PrairieMayerthorpe  NW   S  Manly CornerEdmonton via  
Swan HillsBarrhead     N   S  END
END    W   E  St. AlbertFort Saskatchewan

This rural area travel guide to Lac Ste. Anne is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.