WELCOME TO GRANDE CACHE & HOW TO GET HERE
Escape into a land of sparkling lakes, rushing rivers, green valleys, and windswept peaks! Nestled on a mountain plateau at (4200 ft.), the Town of Grande Cache is surrounded by panoramic views of 21 mountain peaks and 2 river valleys.
The Town of Grande Cache is located in the northern part of the Rocky Mountains, in western Alberta, Canada along Highway 40, also known as the Bighorn Highway or Scenic Route to Alaska. This is the shortest and most scenic route to Alaska from the United States. The Town of Grande Cache is located in the Municipal District of Greenview No. 16.
Highway 40 connects Grande Cache with Grande Prairie to the north (183 km) and Hinton to the south (143 km). Jasper is 210 km south of Grande Cache and Edmonton is 450 km east of Grande Cache. This small mountain town is adjacent to the unspoiled Willmore Wilderness Park, Alberta’s greatest mountain treasure. Willmore Wilderness Park has an abundance of trails, big game, alpine flowers, and spectacular waterways. To protect its natural splendour, no motorized vehicles are permitted; visitors can access the park by horseback or on foot.
Grande Cache has an excellent choice of shops, campgrounds, accommodations, restaurants and endless multi-use trails.
There is something for everyone; photographers, artists, golfers, rafters, kayakers, hikers, bikers, paddlers, horseback riders, cross-country skiers, fishermen and hunters alike. Through its unique activities, like running the Canadian Death Race on the August long weekend, hiking the Passport to the Peaks program, walking the Labyrinth Park or backpacking in Willmore Wilderness Park, Grande Cache offers outstanding outdoor adventure and a relaxed lifestyle.
JUST THE FACTS
Population: 3,571 people (2016 Statistics Canada). There are six aboriginal Co-ops in the area that have over 300 residents.
Established: Established in 1969
Elevation: 1,280 m/4,200 ft.
Climate: Weather is moderate. Mild Summers with temperatures ranging between 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. Winters are tempered by warm Chinook winds.
Transportation: Highway 40 links Grande Cache to Grande Prairie to the North (183 km) and Hinton to the South (143 km).
Industries: The key industries are oil and gas exploration and development, forestry, thermal-electricity generation, coal production, tourism and a federal correctional institution.
Veterinary Services: Available in Grande Cache one day a week; there are also clinics located in Hinton & Grande Prairie.
Library Services: The Grande Cache Municipal Library is located in the Grande Cache Community High School.
Schools: Grande Cache is a part of the Grande Yellowhead Public School Division #35. Visit www.gypsd.ca for more info.
Highlights: Unique opportunities include running the Canadian Death Race, hiking Passport to the Peaks program, exploring Sulphur Gates or Willmore Wilderness Park, relaxing at Labyrinth Park, playing a round of golf with family or friends at the Golf & Country Club, and the Grande Cache Recreation Centre. For activities, there is white water rafting, horseback riding, panoramic views and endless multi-use trails.
HISTORY OF GRANDE CACHE & AREA
Grande Cache is a fascinating mix of geological and human history, which encompasses 200 million years. Once, our landscape was covered in a vast inland sea, where dinosaurs ruled the earth. Then the ice age formed our mountains and river valleys, while providing a land bridge for migrating peoples from Asia. The dinosaurs have left their footprints behind, embedded high in the mountains in steep sheets of rock. There are over a dozen sites containing tracks in a 25 square kilometre (10 sq. mi.) area, making it one of the best dinosaur track sites in the world.
Originally uncovered by local coal mining activities, this site was designated a protected Provincial Historical Site by the Province of Alberta in 2006. A replica of a dinosaur trackway can be seen at the Grande Cache Tourism & Interpretive Centre and the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, AB. Currently, public access to the trackways is restricted, as they are located in an area currently leased by the coal mine.
Alexander Mackenzie and David Thompson are heroes in Canada’s history. These men were guided by Métis and Indian guides in the early 1800s, many from Kahnawake, Quebec. Northwest Company and Hudson Bay managers came from Scotland, and travelled with their Métis guides risking everything to push westward. In 1819 the Hudson's Bay Company built St. Mary's House at the confluence of the Smoky and Peace Rivers. In December 1819, Ignace Giasson took charge of a push up the Smoky River, and hired Tête Jaune, a freeman by the name of Pierre Bostonnais. He was a Métis with blonde hair, earning him the nickname ‘Yellowhead.’ Tête Jaune guided the packtrain of horses up the Smoky River in 1820, in search of a new route through the Rockies. They left a large cache of furs on the Smoky River, where Grande Cache gets it name—French for "large cache.”
In the 1950’s, geological exploration discovered high-grade metallurgical "coking coal” in the area. In 1969, McIntyre-Porcupine started a coal mine, which fostered the construction of the "New Town of Grande Cache” in response to resource development. In 1980, a sawmill was constructed by British Columbia Forest Products Ltd., which was sold to Procter and Gamble Cellulose Ltd. in 1990. A Provincial Correctional Centre was built in 1984 to handle medium security inmates Grande Cache. It is now a federal institution known as Grande Cache Institution. In 1988, the Alberta Government opened Highway 40 from Grande Cache to Grande Prairie.
MOUNTAIN METIS HISTORY
Métis families were integral to the opening of the Canadian Rockies. In 1806 Jacco Findlay, a North West Company employee, became the first to find a route to the Pacific Ocean through Howse Pass. Jacco later moved his family to the Athabasca Valley near Jasper, Alberta.
In 1907 the Canadian Government signed an obscure Order-in-Council that set aside the Jasper Forest Reserve. Park Wardens removed the community of Mountain Métis in 1909 and 1910, after the guns of the descendants of Jacco Findlay were seized. Some of the families evicted included the four Moberly’s—Ewan, John, Adolphus, William—as well as Adam Joachim and Isadore Findlay, Jacco’s grandson. Many of the families relocated to the Edson, Hinton or Grande Cache areas.
The Mission of the Mountain Métis Council is to enhance the cultural, social and economic well being of our community. The mandate is to establish partnerships with other government agencies and industry to fulfill the objectives.
The Mountain Métis believe that each member of our community is valued. Through dedication and volunteer activities the organization is successful. A significant amount of time and effort has been provided by the Council to develop and manage special programs, and events to enhance the community. Special regard is held toward Aboriginal/Métis youth and elders in overcoming cultural barriers that limit advancement of the people.
ASENIWUCHE WINEWAK NATION OF CANADA
"Aseni” means rock, "wuche” means big hill and "winewak” means people. The Aseniwuche Winewak, or Rocky Mountain People are descended from Cree, Beaver, Ojibwa, Sekani, Iroquois and Shuswap people.
In 1907, the Aseniwuche Winewak were forced to leave the Jasper area to create the National Park. Most of these families relocated to the Grande Cache area. The elders lived in teepees and wicki-ups. They survived by using their traditional skills to gather, hunt and trap before development encroached in the late sixties. In 1994, the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation of Canada formed to unify the six aboriginal settlements that surround Grande Cache. They have no constitutional status, have not signed a treaty and do not receive Metis script. They have built a provincial reputation for their leadership, professionalism and for achieving results.
They are the Rocky Mountain People, a hard working and resourceful people, true to their values; people who care about their community, families, children and the generations to come.