VIC visitors mostly passing through on their way to NWT, Alaska

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Things have changed at the Slave Lake Visitor Information Centre (VIC). The gift shop isn’t there anymore. That’s the main thing; otherwise, there are summer employees manning the place for seven days of the week, answering questions from whoever stops in.

And who is stopping in?

“We had 220 people from June 5 to June 24,” says Town of Slave Lake Community Relations Manager Jillian Hutchings. “People from Poland, China, Illinois. Australia, Germany, Texas, Alaska, Wyoming. And lots of Canadians.”

One party from Ontario liked the service they got so much they came back for more, Hutchings says.

“They said it was the most helpful VIC staff they’d seen.”

That would be Carley, Charla and Monica, who call themselves ‘travel counsellors.’ They are on duty (or one of them is) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sundays.

The VIC is located on Hwy 2 about two kilometres east of Slave Lake, at the entrance to Poplar Lane. Sharing the space for the past few weeks has been Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn’s constituency office.

Hutchings adds most of the people who stop are passing through on their way much further north, and just spending a night in the area. Probably people who come to camp or go fishing are familiar with what’s here, and don’t stop to ask questions.

Alberta’s ‘best-kept secret’ may be getting out.

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