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Wabasca
Hamlet
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
Region Northern Alberta
Municipal district Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17
Elevation
550 m (1,800 ft)
Population
 (2011)
 • Total 1,569
Time zone UTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Area code(s) +1-780
Highways Highway 813
Highway 754
Waterways Wabasca Lakes
Website M.D. of Opportunity No. 17

Wabasca, also known as Wabasca-Desmarais, is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada, within the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17. It is located between and along the South and North Wabasca Lakes, at the intersection of Highway 813 and Highway 754. It is approximately 123 kilometres (76 mi) northeast of Slave Lake.

Wabasca, which is the location of the M.D of Opportunity No. 17's municipal office, consists of two communities – Wabasca and Desmarais. The hamlet has a population of 1,569, which is largely Native Canadian. Another 2,207 additional residents live on five Indian reserves in the immediate surrounding area. These reserves include Wabasca 166, 166A, 166B, 166C and 166D of the Bigstone Cree Nation, a Woodland Cree First Nation.

The name Wabasca originates from the Cree word wapuskau, meaning "white rapid" the name for the Wabasca River. Desmarais was named after Father Alphonse Desmarais, the first missionary in this area.

Geography

Wabasca's hamlet boundary includes three Statistics Canada census geographic units – the Wabasca and Desmarais designated places and the Desmarais Indian settlement – as well as additional lands.

Climate

Wabasca has a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc).

Climate data for Wabasca
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.5
(58.1)
14
(57)
17.2
(63)
28.5
(83.3)
32
(90)
32.2
(90)
32
(90)
32.5
(90.5)
29.5
(85.1)
25.5
(77.9)
13.3
(55.9)
10
(50)
32.5
(90.5)
Average high °C (°F) -10.8
(12.6)
-5.5
(22.1)
0.9
(33.6)
9.7
(49.5)
15.4
(59.7)
20.2
(68.4)
22
(72)
21.4
(70.5)
15
(59)
8.5
(47.3)
-2.3
(27.9)
-8.2
(17.2)
7.2
(45)
Daily mean °C (°F) -16.7
(1.9)
-12.6
(9.3)
-6.1
(21)
3.2
(37.8)
9.2
(48.6)
14.5
(58.1)
16.5
(61.7)
15.5
(59.9)
9.5
(49.1)
3.6
(38.5)
-7.2
(19)
-13.7
(7.3)
1.3
(34.3)
Average low °C (°F) -22.5
(-8.5)
-19.7
(-3.5)
-13.1
(8.4)
-3.3
(26.1)
3
(37)
8.8
(47.8)
11
(52)
9.6
(49.3)
4
(39)
-1.4
(29.5)
-12.1
(10.2)
-19.1
(-2.4)
-4.6
(23.7)
Record low °C (°F) -51
(-60)
-49
(-56)
-42.2
(-44)
-35
(-31)
-18.9
(-2)
-1.1
(30)
-1.1
(30)
-4.5
(23.9)
-13.3
(8.1)
-26
(-15)
-36.5
(-33.7)
-43.5
(-46.3)
-51
(-60)
Precipitation mm (inches) 22.5
(0.886)
17.2
(0.677)
15.8
(0.622)
20.2
(0.795)
47.5
(1.87)
79.2
(3.118)
96.9
(3.815)
58.8
(2.315)
48.4
(1.906)
25.9
(1.02)
19.2
(0.756)
23.4
(0.921)
474.9
(18.697)
Source: Environment Canada

Demographics

Name Census
geographic
unit
Population
(2011)
Population
(2006)
Per cent
change
Occupied
dwellings
Private
dwellings
Land
area
(km²)
Population
density
Desmarais Designated place &&&&&&&&&&&&&074.&&&&&074 &&&&&&&&&&&&0138.&&&&&0138 -46.4% &&&&&&&&&&&&&030.&&&&&030 &&&&&&&&&&&&&041.&&&&&041 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.6100005.61 &&&&&&&&&&&&&013.20000013.2
Desmarais Indian settlement &&&&&&&&&&&&0105.&&&&&0105 &&&&&&&&&&&&0129.&&&&&0129 -18.6% &&&&&&&&&&&&&051.&&&&&051 &&&&&&&&&&&&&091.&&&&&091 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&01.4500001.45 &&&&&&&&&&&&&072.40000072.4
Wabasca Designated place &&&&&&&&&&&01406.&&&&&01,406 &&&&&&&&&&&01302.&&&&&01,302 8% &&&&&&&&&&&&0446.&&&&&0446 &&&&&&&&&&&&0545.&&&&&0545 &&&&&&&&&&&&&021.38000021.38 &&&&&&&&&&&&&065.80000065.8
Total Hamlet of Wabasca &&&&&&&&&&&01585.&&&&&01,585 &&&&&&&&&&&01569.&&&&&01,569 1.0% &&&&&&&&&&&&0527.&&&&&0527 &&&&&&&&&&&&0677.&&&&&0677 &&&&&&&&&&&&&028.44000028.44 &&&&&&&&&&&&&055.70000055.7
Wabasca 166 Indian reserve &&&&&&&&&&&&0160.&&&&&0160 &&&&&&&&&&&&0152.&&&&&0152 5.3% &&&&&&&&&&&&&042.&&&&&042 &&&&&&&&&&&&&049.&&&&&049 &&&&&&&&&&&&&084.96000084.96 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&01.9000001.9
Wabasca 166A Indian reserve &&&&&&&&&&&&0658.&&&&&0658 &&&&&&&&&&&&0738.&&&&&0738 -10.8% &&&&&&&&&&&&0183.&&&&&0183 &&&&&&&&&&&&0213.&&&&&0213 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&06.3300006.33 &&&&&&&&&&&&0103.900000103.9
Wabasca 166B Indian reserve &&&&&&&&&&&&0190.&&&&&0190 &&&&&&&&&&&&0250.&&&&&0250 -24% &&&&&&&&&&&&&043.&&&&&043 &&&&&&&&&&&&&052.&&&&&052 &&&&&&&&&&&&&025.52000025.52 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&07.4000007.4
Wabasca 166C Indian reserve &&&&&&&&&&&&0188.&&&&&0188 &&&&&&&&&&&&0182.&&&&&0182 3.3% &&&&&&&&&&&&&047.&&&&&047 &&&&&&&&&&&&&058.&&&&&058 &&&&&&&&&&&&&035.24000035.24 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.3000005.3
Wabasca 166D Indian reserve &&&&&&&&&&&&0961.&&&&&0961 &&&&&&&&&&&&0885.&&&&&0885 8.6% &&&&&&&&&&&&0248.&&&&&0248 &&&&&&&&&&&&0273.&&&&&0273 &&&&&&&&&&&&&058.80000058.8 &&&&&&&&&&&&&016.30000016.3
Total Indian reserves &&&&&&&&&&&02157.&&&&&02,157 &&&&&&&&&&&02207.&&&&&02,207 -2.3% &&&&&&&&&&&&0563.&&&&&0563 &&&&&&&&&&&&0645.&&&&&0645 &&&&&&&&&&&&0210.850000210.85 &&&&&&&&&&&&&010.20000010.2
Total Wabasca community &&&&&&&&&&&03742.&&&&&03,742 &&&&&&&&&&&03776.&&&&&03,776 -0.9% &&&&&&&&&&&01090.&&&&&01,090 &&&&&&&&&&&01322.&&&&&01,322 &&&&&&&&&&&&0239.290000239.29 &&&&&&&&&&&&&015.60000015.6

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, by combining the Wabasca and Desmarais designated places and the Desmarais Indian settlement, the Hamlet of Wabasca recorded a population of 1,585|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}}, it had a population density of 55.7/km2 (144/sq mi) in 2016.

In the 2011 Census, by combining the Wabasca and Desmarais designated places and the Desmarais Indian settlement, the Hamlet of Wabasca had a population of 1,569 living in 527 of its 600 total dwellings, a 19.2% change from its 2006 population of 1,316. With a land area of 28.6 km2 (11.0 sq mi), it had a population density of 54.86/km2 (142.1/sq mi) in 2011. By including the five nearby First Nation reserves, the Wabasca community had a population of 3,776 living in 1,077 of its 1,239 total dwellings, a 14.6% change from its 2006 population of 3,294.

The population of the Hamlet of Wabasca was 1,410 according to a municipal census conducted in 2007 by the M.D. of Opportunity No. 17.

Arts and culture

Wabasca hosts numerous events on an annual basis including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Fish Derby, the Wabasca Road Race, and the Lions Club Ski-Doo Rally among others.

Activities

Fishing, ice fishing, hunting, trapping, quadding, and snowmobiling are traditional and recreational activities in the area. Other activities includes cross-country skiing, skating, skateboarding, and swimming.

A paved walking trail links Desmarais and Wabasca with an approximate distance of 20 km (12 mi).

Located along the shores of the North and South Wabasca Lakes, the community has a boat launch, a swimming dock, and a fishing bridge between the two lakes.

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