Slave Lake, Alta, incorporated as a town in 1965, population 6782 (2011c), 6703 (2006c). The Town of Slave Lake is about two kilometres from the southeastern shore of LESSER SLAVE LAKE. A fur trade post was active here in the early 1800s but most activity was centred at the settlement of Lesser Slave Lake (now Grouard) on the northwest end of the lake. At the turn of the 20th century, the site was a focus for the riverboats that connected Edmonton to the Peace River country. In 1909 the telegraph came through and in 1914 the railway.
By 1906 the settlement of Sawridge was in evidence; it was renamed Slave Lake in 1922. After the disastrous flood of 1935-36, the town was moved 2 km to its present location. Slave Lake experienced a boom in World War II with the construction of the ALASKA HIGHWAY, and later from the 1950s to 1980s with the development of its timber and oil resources. Forestry and petroleum exploration and development continue to be the town's economic mainstays, with tourism increasing in importance. Attractions include the beaches of Lesser Slave Lake and a bird observatory.