Délįne, with a population around 530, is a Dene community on the western shore of Great Bear Lake. In fact, it's the only community on the shores of Great Bear Lake, the largest lake entirely in Canada. Fur-traders established posts in the area as early as 1799. Formerly known as "Fort Franklin," Délįne served as the winter quarters for Sir John Franklin's second Arctic expedition (1825-27), and according to his diaries, his men were known to take up a game on the ice that sounds strikingly similar to hockey. For this reason, Délįne is considered one of the birthplaces of ice hockey.
Délįne was established as a permanent community in 1949-50 with the opening of a mission and school.
In 1993, Délįne reclaimed its traditional name which translates to "Where the Waters Flow," in reference to the headwaters of Great Bear River.
Cast a line into Great Bear Lake and you could find yourself the new world record holder for largest Lake Trout ever caught on a rod and reel. The official record is 72 lbs, and the beast was pulled from that very lake in 1991. As far as anyone knows, that record-breaking Trout is still swimming around and he's only getting bigger.
Near Délįne you'll find Saoyú-ʔehdacho National Historic Site. Saoyú-ʔehdacho are two peninsulas on Great Bear Lake and, combined, make up the largest National Historic Site in Canada. These peninsulas are sacred, spiritual places and are very important to the Sahtugot'ine, "the people of the Sahtu." It's through this land and the stories that surround it that elders pass on the history, laws, values and skills that are critical to their way of life. Every summer, Délįne residents gather in Saoyú-ʔehdacho and practice on-the-land skills. Learn their stories and you'll start to get a sense of the spirit of Deline and Great Bear Lake.
Access Deline with flight from Yellowknife or Norman Wells, or by winter road from Wrigley via Tulita.