||Located in northeastern Canada, in the
province of Quebec, the James Bay Road runs north from its beginning at
Radisson, 620 km (388 miles) away. It is a
very remote road - there are no towns along the road (except at either
end), and only one place to buy gas in between (at km 381).
built in the 1970s for the
Hydro Quebec James Bay Project, a massive
hydro-electric project. The road was started in 1971 and finished in
only 420 days. It was specially built to accommodate very heavy
equipment (up to 500 tons). All equipment and supplies for the
James Bay Hydro-Electric project had to be transported over this
road. Please note that many maps mark this road as Hwy 109. This is
incorrect. It is not a Province of Quebec highway - rather, it is owned
and maintained by the Municipality of James Bay.
Don't underestimate just how far north this road is.
(at the end of the James Bay Road) is about 1500 km north of Toronto,
Ontario. The James Bay Road starts 6 hours north of North Bay (Ontario).
From there it is a full 620 km to Radisson,
and a further 100 km to the shores of James Bay near
Chisasibi. You should only drive this road with a well-maintained, reliable
vehicle. A vehicle breakdown of any sort will likely be costly in terms of
towing fees. However, that being said, on the other hand it's not really all
that far to drive to get a real taste of the far north.
Scenery: Generally the scenery is fairly level (some
people will say it's downright boring). The road crosses some really big
rivers. For most of the length it runs through taiga: spruce and jack pine
forest, bogs, rocks, and low hills. This is about all you'll see apart from
birds and some wildlife, and the occasional cabin a short distance off the road.
Make sure you stop and view the spectacular rapids of the
Rupert River, at km 257. It is a sight you will not forget for some time!
The year 2009 will be your LAST CHANCE to see this sight. The river will be
DIVERTED by Hydro Quebec by the end of 2009!!
Weather: The road is open
year-round, however, it gets VERY cold up there in the winter, so if you
go in the winter, or even the fall or spring, be prepared. In the
summer it can get just as hot as down south.
Language: After you leave Matagami, most people
you're going to meet on the road will speak English. About 99% of the
Crees speak only English and Cree. French is the main language in
Matagami, Relais 381 &
Radisson. In all Cree communities, services are in English; a few
young people speak French.
Please be sure to read
Driving the James Bay Road
before you make a trip up to this region.