History and Heritage
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Indigenous people were using this area for many years as an excellent trapping area and had even given the lake a name. The lake was named Kimiwan, a cree word meaning rain. The lake to this day, still holds on to it name and to the rich habitat that it still provides to many birds, animals and the people.
Information from old Dominion Land Surveyor Maps of the surrounding area show that old trails existed in 1910, however we have no data to show how old the trails were in 1910 and how long they had been in use, nor if the Klondike's used this route.
Early in the 20th century settlers had established a community known as Round Lake on the south shore of Kimiwan Lake in the area near what is now the site of the Hospital. Wagon trails led from the community to Grouard on the east, Spirit River on the west, and Peace River to the north.
In 1913-1914 Leon Giroux and Mr. Bloom each built a stopping place. Ernie Reitze built a log stopping place and restaurant in the Round Lake community. This was a sure indicator that there was a lot of business and traffic in this vicinity.
In 1914, the town site was selected by officials of the Edmonton Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway Company and named in honor of Dr. John K. McLennan whose titles included vice president, secretary treasurer and purchasing agent of the new railroad.
In those days streets were not paved, and the town site was one half mile away from the established community known as Round Lake. This meant businesses not located in close proximity to the railway station would lose out; therefore the three businessmen relocated their businesses to the town site selected by the railway company.
Early in January 1915, the steel reached McLennan and the first train station was built.
On November 7, 1915 a first-class passenger train was scheduled to leave Edmonton and arrive in McLennan the following day. In 1918 the railway company sold its first residential lot to Mr. Percy Jones and on this property the first house was built. To this day that house still stands.
On February 1, 1944 McLennan was incorporated as a village and four years later the population bolstered, and McLennan received town status on February 11, 1948.
And that is how it all began. We continue to be a striving community that has not forgotten our roots and what has brought us all together as more than just a community but friends and family.