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Go beyond the 49th parallel and visit a rich territory and its welcoming population !
Come discover extreme ranges of temperature, endless expanses of snow and a sky streaked with the glorious shimmer of the northern lights! Observe the amazing traces left by the passage of glaciers. Cross over covered bridges, remnants of the past, meet artisans and listen to First Nation legends.
Enjoy the many summer activities which take place here: fishing, camping,hiking or four-wheeling on trails, canoeing, kayaking, biking, etc. Hunting is the featured activity in autumn while in winter, the scenic snowmobile, cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails unveil new facets of the vast blank spaces of the James Bay region.
The James Bay region, encompasses over 350,000 km2 between the 49th and 55th parallels, covers about 600 km from east to west and about 600 km from south to north. In total, it represents one fifth of the province of Quebec. For comparison, the entire country of Germany covers 357 000 km2. This gives some idea of its size.
Located roughly 800 kms north of Montreal, the James Bay region is bordered west, with Ontario and the James Bay, south with the Abitibi-Temiscamingue and Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean regions, east with the Otish Mountains and finally north with the Nunavik region.
The James Bay region has the largest freshwater bodies in Quebec, truly inland seas. In fact, Lake Mistassini, formed by the passage of glaciers, is the largest natural lake in the province with a surface of 2,115 km2, nearly three times the size of Lake Saint-Jean. For their part, the Grande Complex reservoirs represent the largest man-made bodies of water. For instance, the Caniapiscau reservoir measuring over 4,318 km2, is equivalent to 39 billion cubic meters of water.
Flora and fauna
Two types of vegetation fashion the landscape of the James Bay region. The forest, almost impenetrable, is sprinkled with groves, hardwoods and a wide variety of bushes and is brimming with edible plants and wild berries. A little further north, the undergrowth thins out, the hardwoods gradually disappear and the spruces become smaller in sizes and numbers; the boreal forest gives way to the taiga.The cladonie or caribou moss grows very slowly and it takes several years to form large green fronds that line the shallow soils and acidic region.
Despite its calm appearance, the forest is home to at least forty species of mammals, including wolves, lynx, foxes, bears and moose. In the sky, sheltered beneath the twigs, perched on branches or paddling on the waters, birds make their presence felt and their call heard. Ducks, snow geese, snowy owls, eagles, falcons, ptarmigans, Canada geese, and loons figure among the bird life of the James Bay region.
The abundance of its aquatic fauna is increasingly recognized and the diversity as well as the enormous size of certain specimens makes the James Bay region a real paradise for fishing enthusiasts. Anglers travel a long way to try their luck fishing for walleye, lake trout, brook trout, pike and other species in the crystal-clear waters of the territory's innumerable lakes and rivers. Hudson Bay and James Bay also boast fish and marine mammals such as whales, belugas and seals, visiting from the Arctic.
The topography of the land is very representative of the Canadian Shield with its round-topped mountains, broad plateaus and swampy plains.
First formed by underwater volcanoes in the tropics, the ocean floor was later covered by tectonic plates, forming the northern part of the Canadian Shield. Evidence of this can be seen in the "pillow lava" and "breccia flows" that are still visible in some places in the north-eastern region. Their formation can be explained by the rapid cooling of the fiery underwater lava.
During this time, volcanic eruptions were still taking place underground. The lava that flowed to the surface remained trapped in cracks and confined spaces below ground. One of the resulting formation is similar to the head of a fungus known as "pluton".
Soon after, this huge landmass came into contact with another continent to form today’s southern shield. Upon this impact, known as orogeny, the land formed a range, and created the Témiscamie Otish Mountains, among other ranges. This demarcation defining the Grenville Front, is used nowadays to divide the water between watersheds of the James Bay and the St. Lawrence. It is visible from the Chibougamau park around kilometer 188, as we go from green-coloured rock to pink-coloured rock. This limit is also used to delineate the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and the James Bay region.