There are five hamlets in Big Lakes County: Enilda, Grouard, Joussard, Kinuso, and Faust.
Grouard, Faust, Joussard, and Kinuso are located on or near Lesser Slave Lake. All hamlets but Grouard are approximately 1-2 kms from Alberta’s major north-south highway, Highway 2. Enilda, is along Highway 2, just 15kms east of High Prairie.
Each hamlet has a unique character that enriches the culture of Big Lakes County. Click on each hamlet below to learn more.
Kinuso is a hamlet at the foot of the Swan Hills and a short drive from Lesser Slave Lake. The name Kinuso comes from the Cree word kinosew, meaning fish. The hamlet is adjacent to the Swan River First Nation reserve. Kinsuo is home for 182 people. It has a school and all the amenities one would expect in a self-sufficient town.
The Kinuso museum is located just outside of the hamlet. The Kinosayo Museum was founded in 1983 and is run by a volunteer board; people in the local area have donated the majority of the collection.
The Kinuso Municipal Library is located in the Kinuso School and is open Monday, Wendesday, and Friday from 8:45am – 3:35pm and Tuesday and Thursday from 8:45am – 5pm.
The “Thank You. Please Come Again” sign at the marina in Faust has a fish on it for a reason. The fishing is good here, really good. Because of where Faust is situated, it can be windy on other parts of the lake, but quite a bit calmer in Faust.
Faust is home for 261 people in the winter months. Its population increases in the summer when people come to enjoy a relaxing vacation along the lake at one of the campgrounds. Faust is located 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) north of Highway 2. It is named after E. T. Faust, a railroad officer.
In the last decade, Joussard has awoken from a sleepy fishing village on Lesser Slave Lakes’ shores to become a vibrant tourism and lifestyle destination, attracting all ages to live and visit year round.
In the winter, the lake becomes an ice fishing mecca. There are over 100 ice fishing shacks gathered in a little village just in front of Joussard. In the summer, the lake is peppered with all types of watercraft.
Joussard is a great place to call home. The hamlet has a brand new primary school, two stores, a community hall, a church, walking trails, and more. There is a strong sense of community in Joussard. As of 2016, 233 people lived year-round in Joussard. That population more than doubles in the summer.
Grouard has a rich past and a bright future. The hamlet is one of the oldest settlements in Alberta and was once an important trading hub of the north. The area was first known as Fort Waterloo.
When Bishop Émile Grouard arrived in the community in the late 1800s, he commissioned the construction of the current church, then a cathedral. It was completed in 1902 and stands today as a Provincial Historical Site and vital part of the community. In 1903, Grouard was a town with a population of 1,000. The population declined dramatically when the railway was built 12 miles (19 km) south of Grouard. Today, there are 255 residents in Grouard.
Grouard may no longer be a key stop on the fur trade route, but it is an important Indigenous cultural hub. Both Cree and English are spoken in the community, which neighbours Kapawe’no First Nation.
It’d be a shame to pass by Enilda when driving along Highway 2. The community of 155 residents is home to a fun 5-pin bowling alley and a community hall that holds a thriving weekly Farmer’s Market. The local economy was built on farming and forestry.
Today, Enilda and area is home to innovation. Christie’s Gardens and Greenhouses, an award-winning greenhouse is just down the road. So is EC Bar and Ranch, an adventure ranch that has one of Alberta’s largest corn mazes. The first rural farm truck in Alberta, The Farm Truck, was founded near Enilda, too. The community is an entrepreneurs’ hotspot.
Enilda definitely has great potential for more agri-tourism and family fun, real estate development, and more. It also has a beautiful name. “Enilda” is actually Adline Tompkins’ name spelled backward. Adline was an early postmaster’s wife.