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    Various Geographical Items

    Encyclopedia Arctica 13: Canada, Geography and General

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0008                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography: Canada

    (D. M. Lebourdais)


            Abitibi Lake, northeastern Canada, lies across the interprovincial

    boundary between Ontario and Quebec, with the grater part of its extend

    in Ontario. It has an area of 350 square miles, of which 295 miles are

    in Ontario and 55 square miles are in Quebec; and it is divided into

    two principal sections by promontories projecting from the north and

    south shores, leaving only a narrow channel between. With an elevation

    of 868 feet above sea level, its axis lies west-northwest and east-southeast.

    Its most northerly point is in latitude 48° 56′ N.; its easterly limit is

    in longitude 79° 15′ W. (the boundary cut it at longitude 79° 31′ W.); its

    most southerly point is in latitude 48° 35′ N.; and its most westerly point

    is in longitude 80° 13′ W. Its greatest length in a direct line is about

    44 miles, and its greatest width, 18 miles. Its shoreline is very irregular,

    with a number of long promontories projecting into the lake, in addition to

    the two which almost bisect it. The southern promontory is seven miles long,

    and very narrow, while the one extending southward from the north shore is

    about 12 miles long and averages about 10 miles wide. Both sections of the

    lake are filled with islands. The eastern portion is more thickly dotted

    with islands than the western portion, and the largest has an area of about

    six square miles.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0009                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada-Abitibi Lake

            The shores of Abitibi Lake are generally rocky, with little sand

    or gravel and not much swamp. The land immediately to the north is rela–

    tively low, rising some distance back from the shore to hills with an

    elevation of over 2,000 feet. The south shore is higher, with hills near

    the lake reaching heights of from 1,000 to 1,300 feet. Many streams flow

    into Abitibi Lake, most of which are short because the drainage area is

    hemmed on the north by a range of hills, and to the south by the height

    of land separating the St. Lawrence River watershed from that of James Bay.

    One of the largest inflowing streams is the Duparquet River, which enters

    from the south near the eastern end of the lake, its course being entirely

    within the Province of Quebec. Other rivers flowing in from the south are

    the Ghost, Lightning, and Mattawasaga. The principal rivers flowing in from

    the north are La Reine, Aylen, and Lowbush.

            Abitibi Lake is drained by the Abitibi River, which flows westward out

    of its southwestern angel, its waters ultimately reaching James Bay by way

    of Moose River. The Canadian National Railway line from Quebec City to

    Winnipeg (National Transcontinental) touches the north shore of the western

    section of Abitibi Lake at two points, in Northeast Bay and in Northwest Bay,

    at Mace and Lowbush Stations, respectively. The Hudson's Bay Company has

    maintained a trading post on Abitibi Lake since 1755.

            The lake was first surveyed in 1900, when parties employed by the

    Ontario Government were engaged to explore portions of Ontario's northern

    hinterland, till then, except by traders and trappers, an unknown land.


    Government of Ontario. Report of the Survey and Exploration of Northern

    Ontario, 1900 . Toronto. The King's Printer, 1901.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0010                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography: Canada

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The Abitibi River, one of the principal tributaries of Moose River

    (q.v.), drains an area of 11,300 square miles in the northeastern part

    of Ontario, Dominion of Canada. It rises in Abitibi Lake (q.v.), in

    latitude 48° 47′ N., longitude 81° 11′ W.; and, after an initial westerly

    course of about 50 miles, holds a generally northwesterly course to its

    junction with Moose River, a short distance above the latter's mouth.

    It drains the eastern portion of the Moose River watershed; its basin is

    narrow, because it is hemmed on the west by the watershed of the Mattagami

    River, another important tributary of the Moose, and, on the east, by

    various streams draining into James Bay through the Province of Quebec.

            The Abitibi River flows through two physiographic provinces. In its

    upper reaches, its course lies across territory underlain by the Pre e c ambrian

    rocks of the Canadian Shield, where it is interrupted by numerous rapids

    and falls, resulting in many excellent power sites, some of which are

    already developed. In its lower reaches, it traverses the Hudson (James) Bay

    lowland, where the underlying rocks are of Palaeozoic age, and the stream

    flows through low-lying land consisting mainly of peat bogs and muskeg. Its

    upper reaches are in well-wooded territory, where black and white spruce,

    Banksian pine, birch, balsam, poplar and tamarack are the principal trees.

    Most of the timber is small, however, and fit chiefly for pulpwood. At two

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0011                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada-Abitibi River

    different point pulp and paper mills have already been established. For

    a large part of its length its valley is occupied by the line of the

    Ontario Northland Railway (q.v.), which connects transcontinental lines

    at North Bay and Cochrane with James Bay at Moosonee. The line crosses

    the river in two places, remaining, however, for most of its distance on

    the western side.

            Leaving Lake Abitibi at its southeastern angle, in the large bay

    formed by a long promontory, the Abitibi River flows southeastward, swing–

    ing soon to a generally westerly direction. It is at this point a broad,

    shallow stream, with many arms and bays extending on both sides so that it

    is difficult to determine the direction of the main stream. Twenty miles

    below the outlet of the lake, the Abitibi receives the Mistogo River from

    the north. The channel of this stream is similar in its characteristics

    to that of the Abitibi in this section. Shortly below the mouth of the

    Mistogo River, the Abitibi swings to the southwestward and narrows to

    one-third of its width as it pours over the Twin Falls, where the drop is

    60 feet. Here the Abitibi Power and Paper Company Limited has developed

    30,000 horse power of electrical energy for use in its pulp and paper plant

    at Iroquois Falls. Continuing a southwesterly course for about seven miles,

    it receives Black River from the south, and immediately swings to the north-

    northwest for eight miles to Iroquois Falls, which is the site of the Abitibi

    Power and Paper Company Limited's immense mill and townsite.

            At Iroquois Falls, the company develops 28,000 horse power for us in its

    plant. Continuing northwestward, the river is crossed by the line of the

    Canadian National Railways between Brower and Abitibi stations. At about

    25 miles north of the railway crossing, the river makes an abrupt turn to

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0012                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LaBourdais: Canada-Abitibi River

    the west, flowing in that direction for 10 miles to the junction with

    Frederick House River, which comes in from the south. Immediately below

    the junction, the Abitibi resumes its general north-northwesterly course,

    and, 12 miles below the mouth of Frederick House River, is crossed for

    the second time by the Ontario Northland Railway. Three miles beyond the

    railway crossing, the Abitibi flows over Island Falls, where a dam has

    been built providing a head of 66 feet. Here the Abitibi Power and Paper

    Company limited has a plant at which 60,000 horse power is generated. This

    power is conveyed to the mill at Iroquois Falls over a transmission line of

    81.5 miles. Between the mouth of Frederick House River and Island Falls,

    the river is about 200 yards wide, with many bays and arms. Its banks are

    from 75 to 100 feet high, cut through glacial drift.

            The Abitibi River contracts again below Island Falls, continuing thus

    for 30 miles, when it once more widens into a lake-expansion before entering

    the Abitibi Canyon, where a drop of 237 feet occurs. This is the beginning

    of the river's plunge from the level of the Pre c -C ambrian plain to that of the

    lowland. At Abitibi Canyon, the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission

    develops 275,000 horse power of electricity. Construction of this huge

    plant was begun by the Abitibi Power and Paper Company Limited. Before

    the project was completed, however, the company went into a receivership.

    In the settlement, the power development was taken over by the Ontario

    Hydro-Electric Power Commission, and the enterprise is now part of its


            Swinging in a gradual curve to the north from Abitibi Canyon, the

    river drops over another fall to about 10 miles beyond the canyon. Con–

    tinuing then in a general north-northwesterly direction for about 30 miles,

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0013                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canadai-Abitibi River

    it narrows, and, at Otter Rapids and Falls, runs for two miles through a

    canyon which, in places, is not more than 50 feet wide, where the descent

    is 57 feet. The Sextant Rapids, two and a half miles below the canyon,

    have a fall of 16 feet. Beyond this point, the river swings to the north–

    west for about a mile, and then turns slightly east of north for two miles,

    flowing over the Coral Rapids, with a drop of 18 feet. Coral Rapids are so

    named because the river at that point outs through a cliff composed almost

    entirely of fossilized ferns, fish and marine invertebrates. The stream

    now trends north-northeasterly, and five miles below Coral Rapids enters

    the Long Rapids, which continue for five miles with a total drop of 77 feet.

    The river has now reac hed the level of the Hudson (James) Bay Lowlands.

            After a sharp bend to the east, and about five miles below the lower

    end of the Long Rapids, the Little Abitibi River flows in from the southeast.

    Ten miles farther north the Blacksmith Rapids occur, where there is a drop

    of five feet. This is followed by rapids with drops of three and four feet,

    respectively, after which the Onakawana River comes in from the southwest.

    Here the Ontario Northland Railway, hitherto following the west bank of the

    Abitibi River, crosses the intervening territory to the Moose River valley,

    a short distance to the westward. Another rapid with a drop of four feet

    occurs at the point where the Big Cedar Creek comes in on the east side.

    The Abitibi now follows a generally southeasterly course, which it holds

    until it joins the Moose. Several rapids, including Sand Rapids, with a

    three-foot drop, and the Sugar Rapids, with a four-foot drop, occur in the

    final stretch. Midway between these is another rapid, unnamed, with a drop

    of three feet. In its lower reaches, the Abitibi expands considerably and

    contains many islands, having a width at its mouth of about three-quarters

    of a mile.

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0014                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada-Abitibi

            The Abitibi River traverses a territory which has unusual economic

    possibilities. The region through which it runs in its upper reaches is

    fairly well covered with black and white spruce and other trees common to

    the region. Some of this timber is of merchantable size, but the greater

    part of it is fit only for pulpwood, of which there is a considerable quan–

    tity. The supply would have been much greater if large sections of the

    country had not, in recent years, been repeatedly ravaged by fire.

            Since, for the greater part of its course, the river traverses the

    Precambrian plain, underlain by rocks which elsewhere are highly mineralized,

    it is likely that, as the country becomes more fully prospected, valuable

    mineral occurences will be located. The rich gold mines of Kirkland Lake

    (q.v.) are but a few miles to the south of its source. The equally famous

    gold mines of Porcupine (q.v.) are about the same distance to the westward.

    Both have been producing steadily since the second decade of the twentieth


            As already mentioned, the pulpwood resources of the territory are being

    utilized by the Abitibi Power and Paper Company Limited at Iroquois Falls.

    Mention has also been made of the development by this company of a total of

    98,000 horse power at its three sites, and the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power

    Commission's 275,000 horsepower plant at the Abitibi Canyon. A number of

    other sites remain where large quantities of additional power could be


            The upper reaches of the river cut through the famous Clay Belt (q.v.),

    in which the land, though timber-covered, is very fertile. When the timber

    is removed and the land cleared, this region could provide farm homes for a

    large community. As has already been said, it has railway connection with

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0015                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada-Abitibi River

    Cochrane, on the transcontinental, and with tidewater at James Bay.

            The Lowlands section, while at present a dreary waste of muskeg, could

    be converted into productive farm land by proper draining. It consists of

    a layer of water-soaked moss and decayed vegetable matter superimposed upon

    a clay subsoil. The moss prevents evaporation; the clay prevents drainage

    of the water. This water, only slightly warmer than ice-water, serves to

    keep the land in perpetual cold storage. If the land were drained, however,

    the temperature at ground-level would certainly rise, and the rich soil, level

    and free from stones, would undoubtedly prove of value for agricultural purposes.

            The Lowland section is capable, also, of industrial development. Large

    deposits of excellent china clay have been discovered in a number of places,

    as well as immense deposits of gypsum. Cheap electrical power is close at

    hand and, in addition, widespread deposits of lignite coal exist, which, while

    not of sufficient quality to justify transport for any distance, could be used

    to advantage locally.

            The Abitibi River has provided a highway to James and Hudson Bays since

    the seventeenth century. French fur traders from Montreal followed it to the

    Moose and thence to the Bay as early as 1662. It has been a favorite canoe

    route of traders, missionaries and explorers ever since. The railway now

    makes canoe travel unnecessary, except for recreation. In this region, how–

    ever, it is likely that it will long continue to attract those who enjoy the

    thrill of canoeing in white water.


    Bell, J. Mackintosh. Economic Resources of Moose River Basin . Report of

    the Bureau of Mines, 1904. Toronto, The King's Printer,

    1904. Williamson, O.T.G. The Northland Ontario . Toronto, The Ryerson Press, 1946.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0016                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography: Canada

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The Albany River, in northern Ontario, Dominion of Canada, drains

    an area of 59,800 square miles southwest of James Bay, and is 610 miles

    in length to the head of its farthest tributary. It is one of the most

    important rivers in Ontario, although yet very little known. Its drain–

    age basin extends from latitude 48° 45′ N. to latitude 52° 30′ N; and

    from longitude 81° 30′ W. to longitude 92° W. The greater part of this

    area lies south of the main stream, drained by the Ogoki and Kenogami

    rivers, with their network of tributaries.

            For many years the Albany formed the northwestern boundary of Ontario,

    separating that province from the District of Keewatin, then part of the

    Northwest Territories administered by the Government of Canada. A new

    boun [ ?] ry was established in 1912, when the province of Ontario and Manitoba

    were extended to Hudson Bay and that portion of the District of Keewatin

    lying south of latitude 60° N., and north of the Albany River, was divided

    between them.

            The Albany River proper rises in St. Joseph Lake, which lies in a

    general east-west direction practically along the 51st parallel of north

    latitude, between 90° W. and 91° 30′ W. longitude, but its headwaters are

    generally taken to be the source of Cat River, which flows through Cat Lake

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0017                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Albany River

    and a series of other lakes into the western end of St. Joseph Lake. This

    chain of lakes lies in a direction slightly west of north between latitudes

    51° and 52° N., and between longitudes 91° 30′ and 92° W.

            St. Joseph Lake is a splendid sheet of water, about 80 miles in length,

    with an elevation of 1,218 feet above sea level. Since it is entirely within

    the region of Precambrian rocks, its shoreline is extremely irregular, as is

    characteristic of lakes in that region, and consists of long bays and inden–

    tations, and the lake is studded with innumerable islands. The surrounding

    country here, and for the greater part of the Albany's course across the

    Canadian Shield, consists of an undulating upland plain of low relief, occa–

    sional or ro cky hills or knobs rising from 50 to 200 feet above the general

    level. The shores and islands of the lakes and rivers are well wooded with

    large spruce, both black and white, tamarack, aspen and balsam poplar, with

    some Banksian pine, cedar and white birch.

            Like many other lakes in the Canadian Shield section of northern Canada,

    St. Joseph Lake has two outlets — at its eastern extremity, where the end

    of the lake is formed by an island, five and a half miles north and south

    by about three miles at its greatest width. The outlets, one at each end

    of the island, discharge into Osnaburgh Lake, a crescent-shaped, island-

    studded lake about 12 miles long and a mile and a half wide at its widest,

    lying approximately north and south. Both channels, near their entry into

    Osnaburgh Lake, drop over ledges with a fall of 10 feet. The Albany River

    flows eastward out of the southern end of Osnaburgh Lake in a channel filled

    with islands and broken by many rapids. Four miles below Osnaburgh Lake, it

    enters Atikokiwam Lake, three miles long by two miles wide. The river divides

    into two channels as it flows out of Atikokiwam Lake, and the two come together

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0018                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Albany River

    ten miles below, having encompassed Kagami Island in their course. The

    descent between Atikokiwam Lake and the point where the channels reunite

    is about 100 feet. In the northern channel, the first fall occurs five

    miles below Atikokiwam Lake, where the drop is 34 feet; at the Kagami Falls

    four miles farther downstream, the fall is also 34 feet; and three-quarters

    of a mile below the latter another fall, of 14 feet, occurs. The drop in

    the southern channel is more continuous.

            Beginning a short distance below the foot of Kagami Island, the Albany

    River enters an arm of Achapai (Elbow) Lake, which is about four miles long

    and not more than a mile wide and lies in a northeasterly direction. At the

    end of this four-mile reach, the arm bends sharply to the southeast, and a

    mile farther joins the main part of the lake, which is about six and a half

    miles long, lying south of and parallel to the arm just mentioned. The river

    flows out of Achapai Lake at its northeastern extremity, not far from the

    point at which it enters, and flows northward for a mile and then swings to

    the northeast, holding that course in a well-marked channel, free from ob–

    structions, until a short rapid leads to a lake-expansion five miles long

    and less than a mile wide. This lake-expansion terminates in a rapid with

    a four-foot descent, after which the river makes an abrupt turn to the east–

    ward, and with many twists and turns drops 55 feet in the next six miles of

    rapids. At the end of this stretch, the Misehkow River comes in from the

    southwest. Swinging to slightly east of north, immediately below the mouth

    of the Misehkow, the Albany widens and for the next eight miles continues

    wide with a slack current, bending abruptly to the east at the end of this

    stretch, and expanding about a number of islands as the Etowamami River comes

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0019                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Albany River

    in from the northwest. This easterly course is about four miles in length,

    and, at the end of it, is another island-filled expansion. Here, in a region

    of morainic hills, from 200 to 300 feet high, the river makes a sharp bend to

    the south for five miles in the course of which it is interrupted by many

    rapids. This southward stretch terminates in a lake-like expansion pendant

    to the main river; the Shabuskwia River flows into this expansion from the


            Making a hairpin bend to the northeast, the Albany River, in the next

    eight miles, drops over Upper Eskawa Falls, with a descent of 22 feet, Eskawa

    Falls, with a descent of 23 feet, and Snake Falls, with a descent of nine

    feet. Below the last mentioned falls, the river widens, and for four miles

    flows in a direction slightly east of north. It then swings to the east,

    still wide and with a slack current, and flows into Miminiska Lake, dividing

    into two channels just above its entrance. Miminiska Lake has a total length

    of 12 miles and a width of about six, but a considerable portion of its area

    is occupied by what appears to be an island about five and a half miles long

    by five miles wide, but which, in reality, is a promontory attached to the

    north shore of the lake by a short, narrow ridge of rock. Miminiska Lake

    lies in a northeasterly direction, but the Albany River flows out of its

    [ ?] s outheasterly angle. Continuing in a southeasterly direction for two and

    a half miles, in which the descent is 32 feet, the river enters Petawanga

    Lake, 15 miles long and less than two miles at its greatest width, lying

    mainly in an east-and-west direction. After leaving Petawanga Lake, the

    Albany flows in a general easterly direction through a number of lake-ex–

    tensions, receiving from the north the discharge from Kabemet Lake, where

    a Hudson's Bay Company's post is established. The river now swings to the

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0020                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Albany River

    southeast, continuing in that direction for about four miles to Makokibatan

    Lake. In the six miles between Petawanga and Makikobatan lakes, the river

    has a total descent of 68 feet.

            Makokibatan Lake is about 18 miles long, by less than two miles wide,

    and lies in a direction slightly north of east. The river leaves the lake

    by two channels, one at the southeastern, and the other at the northeastern

    angle. These two channels proceed on a roughtly parallel northeasterly

    course, and unite about 15 miles below the lake. The northern channel flows

    into and out of the southern side of Washi Lake, a double lake about 10 miles

    long, while the southern channel flows through a number of small expansions.

    In the stretch between Makokibatan and Washi lakes, the river has a drop of

    33 feet in three principal rapids that are separated by short sections of

    quiet water.

            After the junction of the two channels, the river flows slightly north

    of east through many expansions, separated usually by rapids. It then swings

    to a northerly course for four miles, still expanding into lake-like stretches.

    Three miles from the bend, it drops over Kagaimi Falls, which, including the

    rapids above, have a total descent of 44 feet. The river continues its

    northerly course for another mile below Kagiami Falls, and then bends to the

    northeast, holding that course for 10 miles to Martin Falls, where it drops

    25 feet. In the stretch between Kagiami and Martin falls, the river drops

    40 feet in three rapids of 14, 12 and 14 feet, respectively. Below Martin

    Falls, the course continues generally northeasterly for a further eight

    miles in which the current, while swift, is uninterrupted. Beyond this, the

    river swings to the north, continuing on that course for four miles, at the

    end of which a slight bend to the east occurs and after two miles is interrupted

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0021                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Albany River

    by the final rapid on the river (except for two slight ones in its lower

    reaches), where there is a drop of six feet.

            From this point the river swings to the northeast in a gradual curve,

    maintaining this course for about eight miles to the south of the Wabassi

    River, flowing in from the west. Below the mouth of the Wabassi, the Albany

    turns to the east and then swings to the southeast. Beginning about two

    miles above the mouth of the Wabassi, the river widens with many islands,

    and after the turn to the east, it separates twice into two channels, in

    each case enclosing an island about a mile and a half long. Where the river

    changes from the eastward to the southeastward course, it flows in several

    parallel channels which enclose islands; and below that point, while confined

    to one channel, it occupies a wide trough and runs with a slack current. The

    Albany has now reached the lowland section, and from here to the coast its

    nature undergoes a radical change. Its course consists of relatively straight

    stretches, with steep banks cut through the till. For a hundred miles the

    channel is cut through boulder clay which has washed away, leaving a bed and

    banks of boulders. Nearer the sea, where the flat-lying limestones are

    closer to the surface, the stream has cut down into the bedrock, in places

    as deep as 30 or 40 feet.

            At the end of the southeastern stretch, the Ogoki River joins the Albany,

    coming from the southwest, after which the latter runs eastward for 25 miles,

    again swinging to the southeast for a further 60 miles. The many expansions

    of the upper reaches are now absent, but a shallow expansion occurs opposite

    the mouth of the Kenogami as it comes in from the southwest at the end of the

    80-mile stretch just mentioned. Immediately b e low the mouth of the Kenogami,

    the Albany resumes its northeasterly course, which it holds until it reaches

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0022                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Albany River

    James Bay in latitude 51° 20′ N., longitude 80° 20′ W. In the final 150

    miles, it maintains a wide channel, with clay and gravel banks from 60 to

    80 feet high, dividing in many places to enclose low sand and gravel islands

    of considerable size, and averaging from a quarter of a miles to over a mile

    in width. The surrounding country consists mainly of muskeg, in which the

    principal trees are black spruce and tamarack of small dimensions. The river

    is bordered on each side by a narrow strip of green timber in which the trees

    are sometimes of considerable size, but both size and numbers diminish within

    a short distance from the river's edge.

            The Albany, by means of its tributary, the Kenogami, and the latter's

    tributary, the Pagwachuan, provides an uninterrupted water way from the

    Canadian National Railways line at Pagwa station to James Bay. The Pagwa–

    chuan is shallower than the Kenogami, but in high water is navigable for

    river boats of sufficient size. Revillon Freres and the Hudson's Bay Company

    transport goods down these rivers to their trading posts, using 15-ton scows

    propelled by power boats. Although the Albany has two rapids below the

    junction with the Kenogami, neither offers any serious obstruction to navigation.

            The Albany River has been familiar to officers of the Hudson's Bay Company

    for more than two centuries. The first scientific exploration of any part of

    the area was not undertaken until 1870, when Dr. Robert Bell, of the Geological

    and Natural History Survey of the Department of the Interior of Canada, ex–

    plored part of its watershed. Robert Bell made a further exploration of the

    territory about St. Joseph Lake in 1887, crossing the divide to the Attawapis–

    kat, which he descended to the sea. Following the James Bay coast to the mouth

    of the Albany, he ascended that river to the mouth of the Kenogami, ascen [ ?] ing

    the latter to its source in Long Lake.

    008      |      Vol_XIII-0023                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Albany River

            In 1920, Dr. M. Y. Williams, of the Geological Survey of Canada, descended

    the Pagwachuan from Pagwa to the junction with the Kenogami, and descended

    the latter and the Albany River to James Bay, examining the country with a

    view to its possibilities for petroleum.

            The first activity, and the only one for many years, in the Albany River

    region was the fur trade, conducted at first exclusively by the Hudson's Bay

    Company, and in later years also by Revillon Freres. The region through which

    the river runs in its upper reaches is underlain, as has been said, by the

    Pre c -C ambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield, in which rich mineral occurrences

    have been found in various parts of the country. The geological indications

    in the area surrounding its headwaters, and through which it flows until it

    drops down to the lowland level, are favorable in different places for gold,

    silver, lead, copper, nickle, cobalt and vanadium; while in certain places

    formations exist in which iron ore deposits are a possibility.

            The economic resources of the lowland section cannot yet be guaged

    with any certainty, owing to the heavy overburden of glacial drift with

    which the underlying formations are covered. The limestones and dolomites

    of the region are similar to those which elsewhere are productive of oil,

    but wherever they have been examined their flat-lying position seems to pre–

    clude the possibility of any great concentration of oil but the amount of

    actual prospecting that has so far been done is negligible and too slight to

    admit of a definite answer to the question as to whether oil exists.

            In the Moose River basin, farther to the southeast, extensive deposits

    of high-grade fireclays exist, as well as widely-distributed deposits of

    gypsum. It is possible that similar deposits exist in the Albany River region,

    but, as with oil, the amount of prospecting so far done is too slight to

    admit of any definite answer to that question. A similar situation exists

    009      |      Vol_XIII-0024                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Albany River

    exists with respect to the possible existence of lignite coal, of which

    large deposits exist in the Moose River basin.

            In the Canadian Shield section of the Albany River drainage area,

    especially in the southern part, large quantities of pulpwood are available,

    but stands of merchantable timber are not very extensive.

            One of the most important resources of the region is the amount of

    potential hydro-electric energy. While the power is too far from the present

    industrial sections of Ontario to be of use in those parts of the province,

    its availability in the development of the mineral resources of the region

    renders such development much more likely. The geological indications added

    to nearby waterpower go far to assure an important industrial development

    some day in the territory drained by the Albany River.


    Selwyn, A.R.C. Summary Report of the Operations of the Geological and

    Natural History Survey to 31st December, 1887, being

    Part III of the Annual Report of the Department of the

    Interior, 1887. Ottawa,

            Williams, M.Y. Palaeozoic Stratigraphy of the Pagwachuan, Lower Kenogami,

    and Lower Albany Rivers, Ontario
    . Geological Survey of

    Canada, Summary Report, 1920, Part D.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0025                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Artillery Lake, in Mackenzie District, northwestern Canada, is the

    largest in the series of lakes forming part of the Lockhart River system,

    which extends for 300 miles from MacKay Lake in latitude 64° N., longitude

    111° 30′ W., to the eastern end of Great Slave Lake. Artillery Lake is

    about 55 miles long and about seven miles at its widest, lying in a northeast–

    southwest direction, the lower end of which terminates in a long narrow bay,

    less than half a mile wide. It has an area of 190 square miles, and has an

    elevation of 1,190 feet, which is 695 feet above the level of Great Slave

    Lake, only 25 miles distant by way of the lower section of Lockhart River.

    Its shores are bold and high, in some places 200 feet above the lake.

            At the south end of the lake the country is very rough and appears to

    have been heavily glaciated. The hills show the characteristic rounded tops

    and the valleys have numerous furrows and troughs resulting from ice action.

    The glacia [ ?] l drift here is very light, usually in the form of scattered

    boulders. The underlying rock is granite and gneiss of a dull red to pink

    color and of medium grain. Northward along the lake the glacial deposits

    become thicker and the country becomes more gently rolling.

            About 20 miles north of the southern end of the lake a new series of

    rocks appears. These extend across the lake, and all the islands from this

    point northward to the top of the lake show outcrops of the same rocks which

    consist of dolomite limestone of massive form, varying from a light cream to

    a dark grey. The largest of these islands, Crystal Island, about five miles

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0026                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Artillery Lake

    long by about half a mile wide, lies toward the east shore, about half way

    up the lake. Innumerable white quartz stringers occur throughout the forma–

    tion and in them are found clusters of small, clear quartz crystals, hence

    the island's name.

            At the north end of the lake are many well-defined moraines with an

    east-and-west axis causing swift water or rapids in Lockhart River between

    Ptarmigan and Artillery Lakes. A feature of this district is the sand ridges

    that extend for many miles across the country, also with east and west axes.

    In some cases the sand is formed into distinct ridges up to 60 or 70 feet

    high, with their tops horizontal, evidently glacial deposits and old lake


            The timber-line is about half-way up Artillery Lake; on the west, the

    slopes back from the shore are fairly well timbered with small spruce for

    about 10 miles from the south end; beyond this point trees, although thinly

    scattered, continue northward for a further 20 miles, about eight miles

    farther north than on the eastern shore.

            The resources of Artillery Lake and vicinity, outside of any mineral

    wealth it may possess, lie chiefly in its fish, furs and meat supplies.

    The deep cold waters abound with the finest lake trout as well as whitefish,

    pike and carp. Caribou are numerous and are the chief source of meat supply

    for the natives, although muskoxen have been found at no great distance to

    the northeast. The area, however, is in the Thelon Sanctuary and as such its

    game resources are not for general use.

            Artillery Lake, with those in the Lockhart River system above, was first

    explored by Sir George Back in 1833, who named it as well as others. In 1900,

    J. W. Tyrrell, making a survey for the Geological Survey of Canada, proceeded

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0027                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Artillery Lake

    up the lake on his way to the Thelon River, and since then other surveys

    have been made.


    Back, George. Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition to the Mouth of

    of Great Fish River and Along the Shores of the Arctic

    Ocean in the Years 1833, 1934 and 1935
    ; London, 1836.

            Tyrrell, J.W. Annual Report ; Geological Survey of Canada, 1900.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0028                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The Ashuanipi River is the larger of two principal tributaries form–

    ing the Hamilton River, in the Labrador portion of the Province of Newfound–

    land, Canada. It rises at the southwestern angle of the Hamilton River

    drainage basin, in the height of land separating the Hamilton watershed

    from that of the St. Lawrence, on the south, of rivers draining into James

    Bay, on the west, and of rivers flowing northward into Ungava Bay. The

    height of land here consists of much swampy country and of innumerable lakes

    connected by short stretches of stream, all apparently flowing on the surface,

    without any perceptible river valley. The slope of the country occupied by

    the network of streams and lakes which constitutes the Ashuanipi River, is

    mainly northwestward to the northwestern extremity of the Hamilton River

    drainage area, and then eastward, where the main drainage is carried by the

    Hamilton River to the Atlantic Ocean.

            The Ashuanipi drainage basin is long and narrow. On the west it is

    limited by the nearness of the watershed between the Hudson Bay and Atlantic

    drainage areas; while, on the east, it is limited by the proximity of the

    Attikonak River, which follows a roughly parallel course to join the Ashuanipi

    in Sandgirt Lake.

            Ashuanipi River has its source in the lake of the same name, which is

    upwards of 50 miles long and generally very narrow, irregular in outline, filled

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0029                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Ashuanipi River

    with islands, and in every way typical of most of the lakes found through–

    out the Canadian Shield. As the river flows out of the lake, it is wide

    and shallow, but contracts to about 75 yards, except where it spreads into

    frequent lake-expansions of various sizes. The stream, like most others

    in the Shield, is broken by many rapids, the ones here filled with boulders.

    The banks are generally low, consisting chiefly of glacial till. In the

    stretches of quieter water, the current is about four miles an hour.

            About 50 miles below the outlet of Ashuanipi Lake, the river passes

    through a series of three lakes known as the Menihek Lakes, separated by

    short stretches of river. The first lake is about 10 miles long and about

    two miles wide, very shallow, and filled with islands. This lake is joined

    to the next by a stretch of river three miles long, which, for the greater

    part of the distance, is about half a mile in width. The river here has a

    moderate current, flowing in a shallow channel between banks which, on the

    east side, are terraced for about 60 feet above the water. The middle lake

    is 23 miles long, and averages about two miles in width. At a point about

    11 miles from its head, a large stream comes in from the west through a deep

    out in the hills, flowing over a heavy rapid as it enters. The lowest of

    the three lakes is about 15 miles in length, and varies in width from one

    to two miles.

            As the stream leaves the third Menihek lake, it passes over a wide,

    shallow rapid, and follows a northeasterly course in a very irregular channel,

    frequently spreading to enclose large islands, and, at one point, filling a

    depression that extends for some miles to the northwest, and at right-angles

    to its own course. After flowing thus for six miles, in which several rapids

    occur, the river makes an abrupt turn to the southeast and flows in this

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0030                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Ashuanipi River

    direction for another six miles, still in a shallow channel, which, in

    places, is over half a mile wide, between low, swampy shores. Many sandy

    shoals obstruct the channel and huge boulders are scattered about. The

    river next flows into Marble Lake, lying in a northwest-southeast direction,

    entering its southeastern end, at that point not more than a mile in width,

    but expending within a mile to three miles, continuing at that width for a

    further four miles. The shores are low, often consisting of white limestone

    ledges; the surrounding country is also low, much of it swampy, and generally

    well wooded with small black spruce and tamarack, with an occasional white


            The river leaves Marble Lake by two channels, which continue apart to

    the next lake — Astray Lake, — which they enter several miles from each

    other. Astray Lake is over 30 miles in length, but not more than four miles

    at its widest. Its shore is indented by many deep bays, which are separated

    by high ridges which also extend into the lake. Two of these form chains of

    rocky islands down the center of the widest part of the lake. From Astray

    Lake, the river continues on a northeasterly course for less than a mile,

    and then flows into the south side of Dyke Lake, lying in a northwest-

    southeast direction. This is a lake of considerable size, almost severed

    in places by rocky points, spreading into deep bays, the longest of which

    follow the general trend of the country, and filled with islands, some of

    which are quite large. No accurate map of this lake is available, but it

    is probably more than 20 miles in length and in places is about 12 miles

    wide. At the northwestern end, a stream flows in from Lake Petitsikapau

    (Q.V.), about 25 miles long, beyond which is Lake Attikamagen, of about the

    same size, which occupy the northwestern extension of the valley in which

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0031                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Ashuanipi River

    Dyke Lake itself lies, and along which the Ashuanipi continues after it

    leaves Dyke Lake.

            From the head of Lake Ashuanipi, through the streams and lakes already

    described, to the head of Lake Attikamagen, a straightline distance of

    about 200 miles, the country represents the summit of watersheds draining

    southward into the St. Lawrence (Moisie River), northward into Ungava Bay

    (George and Koksosk rivers), west into James Bay (Eastmain and Fort George

    rivers) and eastward into the Atlantic (Hamilton River). From the head of

    Ashuanipi Lake to Dyke Lake, the trend has been northwesterly, but from the

    head of Attikamagen Lake, through Dyke Lake, to the Hamilton River, the

    slope is eastward.

            Shortly after issuing from Dyke Lake, the river divides into two

    channels, each of which is often subdivided by islands. The current in

    these channels is swift and broken by numerous rapids during the whole of

    the 12 miles to Birch Lake. The latter is about 10 miles long, its shores,

    like other lakes in this region, indented by long bays, and, also like other

    lakes, containing many rocky islands. These, with its many deep bays and

    projecting rocky points, make its outline difficult to determine. In its

    final 30-mile stretch to Sandgirt Lake, the Ashuanipi follows a southeasterly

    course. It spreads into the usual lake-expansions, separated by rapids.

    The river is also, in this part, divided into different channels in places,

    which enclose islands of all sizes. Where it flows in a single channel, it

    is usually from 100 to 500 yards in width, with banks from 10 to 60 feet in

    height, out in glacial drift. The country, generally, is well wooded, with

    white and black spruce, tamarack, balsam fir, white birch, and some pop u lar.

    Occa tional white spruce in this section may measure in 15 inches in diameter.

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0032                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Ashuanipi River

            The Ashuanipi River flows into the western side of Sandgirt Lake,

    which, like those above is very irregular and filled with rocky islands.

    Into it also flows the Attikonak River (q.v.); and these, with other streams

    discharging into Sandgirt Lake, provide the source of the Hamilton River

    (q.v.). Ashuanipi River was fir s t explored in 1894, when Dr. A. P. Low, of

    the Geological Survey of Canada, made an exploratory survey of the Hamilton

    River and its two principal tributaries. Since then, only an occasional

    trapper has traversed it. In recent years, serial surveys have been [ ?]

    conducted in connection with the search for iron ore, but reports of such

    surveys are not available.


    Low, A.P. Report on Explorations in the Labrador Peninsula along the

    East Main, Koksoak, Hamilton, Manicuagan, and Portions of

    Other Rivers in 1892-93-94-95
    . Geological Survey of Canada,

    Annual Report, Vol. VIII, pp. IL-387L, 1895.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0033                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Athabaska Lake, northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, is the third

    largest lake wholly within the borders of the Cominion of Canada. It

    is exceeded in size only by its northern neighbors, Great Slave Lake

    and Great Bear Lake, and by Lake Winnipeg; and on the North American

    continent only by these and the five Great Lakes in the St. Lawrence

    waterway system. Athabaska Lake has an area of 3,058 square miles, of

    which 893 square miles are in Alberta and 2,165 square miles in Saskat–

    chewan. It lies at an elevation of 699 feet above sea level, has a shore–

    line of 520 miles, is 195 miles long at its greatest length, and 35 miles

    wide at its width. Like the other lakes in the series extending northwest–

    ward from Lake of the Woods to Great Bear Lake, it lies across the contact

    between the crystalline Pre c -C ambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield and the

    sedimentary Palaeozoic rocks to the westward. It lies between latitudes

    58° 37′ N. and 59° 39′ N., and longitudes 106° W. and 111° 14′ W., with

    its axis in an east-northeasterly direction. Its shoreline is irregularly

    bow-shaped, with its southern shore constituting the string. The chief

    source of its waters is the Athabaska River, which rises in the Rocky

    Mountains far to the southwestward, and which cuts a deep gash across the

    intervening Alberta Plateau, and thus brings a rich alluvium with which to

    build a delta that practically fills the western end of the lake. In fact,

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0034                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Athabaska Lake

    it has cut off a section of what was once the western end of Athabaska

    Lake which now contains a number of lakes of various sizes, the largest

    of which are Lake Claire and Lake Mamawi. Almost opposite the mouth of

    Athabaska River, the Slave River flows out, car r ying its quota of water

    northward to constitute the great Mackenzie River.

            The height of land separating the Athabaska Lake drainage area from

    that of Great Slave Lake lies only a few miles north of Athabaska Lake, at

    its nearest point coming to within three miles of the shore of the lake.

    For this reason, all the streams flowing into Athabaska Lake from the north

    are short, rapid and unavailable. While the height of land to the south,

    separating the Athabaska and Hudson Bay drainage areas si somewhat farther

    removed from the shoreline of Athabaska Lake, the rivers flowing in from

    that direction — with the exception of the Athabaska River itself — are

    likewise short. Toward the eastern end of the lake, these rivers descend

    from a relatively high tableland and consequently are to a great extent inter–

    rupted by rapids and falls. Fond du Lac River, draining an area of the

    Canadian Shield to the eastward, flows into the lake at its extreme eastern


            On the north shore of Athabaska Lake, near its western end, the fur

    trading post of Chipewyan has stood for over a century, having been moved

    from its first location on the opposite side of the lake. It is still an

    important center. The shore back of Chipewyan to the eastward consists of

    evenly rounded rocky hills, sparsely wooded with small black spruce. The

    rocks, which are thinly covered with soil, consist generally of a dark red

    banded hornblendic gneiss. From Chipewyan, the north shore of the lake runs

    northeastward for 12 miles to Shelter Point along the foot of a rather high

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0035                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. Lebourdais: Canada: - Athabaska Lake

    ridge of hills consisting of the banded gneiss already referred to. Bustard

    Island lies off Shelter Point.

            The shore now swings due north for seven miles, after which it curves

    to the northeast, culminating in a projecting ridge of sandstone called

    Sand Point, beyond which the trend is again northeasterly for 15 miles,

    where the shore consists of cliffs rising from 100 to 200 feet. Turning

    directly eastward at the end of this stretch, the shore runs in this direc–

    tion for about five miles to Fidler Point, and then resumes its northeasterly

    course. A shore distance beyond Fidler Point, Fishing River flows in; it is

    a small stream draining a swamp a few miles back from the lake shore. The

    shore continues northeastward from Fishing River, past Cypress Point, to

    Greywillow Point. The shore along this stretch is low and sandy, with a

    sand plain lying back from it and stretching toward a ridge of granite hills

    running parallel with the shore, a few miles to the north.

            A mile and three-quarters beyond Greywillow Point, Singed Dog Island

    lies a short distance off the shore. About this point, the boundary (110° W.)

    between the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan cuts across. From Singed

    Dog Island, the coast swings to the northwestward to enclose a shallow bay

    about seven miles across from Fair Point to Maurice Point. The shore of this

    bay is low and sandy, with the exception of a sandstone point about midway.

    The granite ridge here recedes from sight and the sandy plain, evidently

    laid down when the lake level was higher than it is now, extends westward

    as far as the eye can reach. The shore at this point is trending irregu–

    larly northward, and for a straight-line distance of about 20 miles consists

    of Athabaska sandstone, mostly broken down and weathered.

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0036                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Athabaska Lake

            Beyond Maurice Point, which with Fair Point marks the southern limit

    of the sandstone formation, the coast again recedes into an irregular bay

    bounded on the northeast by Spring Point. From the latter, the coast

    bends back to the westward, enclosing a wide bight eight miles across to

    Lobstick Island, which lies off the northern limit of the sandstone stretch.

    Beyond this point, the shore becomes more rugged, trending northeasterly

    to Cypress River, flowing in from the northwest. From this point the coast

    runs almost due east, and constitutes the most northerly part of Athabaska

    Lake. A narrow bay extending northeasterly separates a narrow, rocky point

    from the mouth of Charlot River, flowing in from the northeast. From the

    mouth of Charlot River the shore runs southeasterly to a blunt promontory.

    The coast here is high, rocky, and slopes steeply to the water. Beyond the

    promontory, the shore swings to the northeastward, forming the northwestern

    portal of Black Bay, about seven miles across at its mouth and extending

    northeastward for about 10 miles. Crackingstone River, draining Beaverlodge

    Lake, flows into the head of Black Bay. The southeastern shore of Black Bay

    is formed by a wedge-shaped promontory which terminates in Crackinstone

    Point, which constitutes the southwestern portal of Black Bay. Beaverlodge

    Lake, at the base of this promontory, almost severs it from the mainland.

    Many islands, all narrow and lying in the same general direction as the

    promontory, consisting in the main of quartzite, lie off its end.

            From Crackinstone Point, the shoreline continues eastward for about

    seven miles, swinging northeastward again to complete the southeastern

    shore of the promontory. This shore is also composed of hard white quart–

    zite. Lodge Bay occupies the angle at the base of the promontory, and is

    partly enclosed on the east by a shorter, very irregular promontory extending

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0037                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Athabaska Lake

    southward from the main shore of Athabaska Lake, which here trends easterly.

    A mile and a half southwest of this promontory, Beaverlodge Island, a high,

    rounded dome of quartzite, is a conspicuous landmark. The townsite of

    Goldfields is located at the base of the promontory, on a deeply indented

    bay which separates the promontory from the mainland to the northwest. Be–

    yond here, the main shore of the lake is backed by the Beaver Hills, mainly

    of gneiss, which rise 500 or 600 feet above the level of the water. The

    shoreline, generally high and rocky, and lined by many small islands, in

    which Oldman and Beaver rivers flow in from the north, trends generally

    eastward for the next 36 miles. At Fond du Lac, which has been the site

    of a trading post for upwards of a century, the lake is only two miles

    wide. Beyond Fond du Lac, the shore continues eastward for a distance of

    about 40 miles and is high and rocky. Here the lake's greatest width is

    not more than five miles, most of it less than two miles, with a minimum

    width in places of about a mile. The contrast between the geological

    formation on the north and that on the south shore is striking. Along

    the north shore, the rocks consist of highly glaciated gneiss; while the

    south shore presents an escarpment of horizontal sandstone, rising to

    heights of 400 and 500 feet.

            A hill, morainic in composition, marks the eastern end of the lake,

    into which Fond du Lac River flows. Westward from the mouth of Fond du

    Lac River, the south shore of Athabaska Lake runs irregularly slightly

    north of west and consists of the sandstone escarpment already mentioned,

    which follows the line of the coast until within about 15 miles of Fund du

    Lac post, when it recedes and lies back of a low, boulder-covered coastal

    strip. Poplar Point marks the transition from the narrow, eastern portion

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0038                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Athabaska Lake

    of the lake to the wider western portion, the width here being not more

    than five miles. From Poplar Point, the shore bears off to the south for

    about 10 miles, and then continues irregularly in a direction slightly

    south of west to William Point, a projection caused by the delta of William

    River. The Fish Mountains parallel this stretch of coast, lying about five

    miles to the south. From William Point, the coast, low and marshy, trends

    southwesterly, terminating in Moose Point, partly enclosing Old Fort Bay,

    into which Old Fort River empties. From the southern angle of Old Fort Bay,

    the coast continues slightly north of west to Old Fort Point, between which

    and Big Point, five miles farther west, a wide bay is enclosed. A short

    distance beyond Big Point, the delta of the Athabaska River begins, extend–

    ing westward for about 13 miles, through which several channels wind their

    way. Beyond the delta the shore swings to the northwestward to enclose a

    bay west and north of the promontory upon which Fort Chipewyan is situated.

    Out of the northern end of this bay, Rocher River flows, to become the

    Slave River 30 miles northward; while at the extreme northwestern angle

    of Athabaska Lake proper, the Quatra Fourches channel extends northwest–

    ward across the delta of Peace River through which, at certain stages,

    water flows from Athabaska Lake into Peace River, and at other times flows

    into Athabaska Lake from Peace River.

            Since Athabaska Lake lies along the contact of the Precambrian and

    Palaeozoic rocks, it has been considered a likely spot for the deposition

    of metallic minerals of economic value, and a considerable amount of pros–

    pecting has been done along its shores. At one time, what seemed to be a

    thriving mining community was established at Goldfields, about 112 miles

    east of Fort Chipewyan. Early prospecting in the district showed indications

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0039                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Athabaska Lake

    of iron, nickel, silver and copper, the first claims in connection with

    which were staked as early as 1921, although no immediate development

    resulted. In 1934, after considerable investigation, The Consolidated

    Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Limited, subsidiary of the Canadian

    Pacific Railway Company, began development work on its Goldfields proper–

    ties. Production started in 1939 with a 1,000-ton mill, which was increased

    to 1,300 tons in 1940. In addition a hydro-electric plant was erected at

    Wellington Lake, 20 miles west of Goldfields. Operation of the property

    known as the Box mine was continued until production was suspended in 1942

    because of conditions due to the war. As a result, the town of Goldfields,

    with a pre-war population of about 500 people, gradually melted away and has

    since become a typical ghost town. With the more promising field at Yellow–

    knife, 350 miles farther north, both development companies and prospectors

    have preferred to devote their time and money to an area where the chances

    of return seem greater. The That Athabaska Lake is still a promising spot for

    mineral exploitation is still generally conceded, but it is probably that

    its large deposits of relatively low-grade ore will have to await the lower

    operating costs which better transportation facilities will some day make


            A considerable area about the western end of Athabaska Lake has agri–

    cultural possibilities of greater or less extent, but farther east they

    are practically negligible. Such timber as exists is also found to the

    west and south of the lake, and many good stands of spruce, pine, poplar,

    birch and tamarack are to be found along the valleys of the rivers and in

    the low, wet areas of that section of the country.

            The first person of European descent to see Lake Athabaska was undoubtedly

    008      |      Vol_XIII-0040                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Athabaska Lake

    Peter Pond of the Northwest Company who, in 1778, established a trading

    post on the shore of Athabaska River, about 30 miles from its mouth. In

    1787, he was succeeded by Alexander Mackenzie, also a partner in the

    Northwest Company who, after establishing Fort Chipewyan on the south

    shore of Athabaska Lake, then called the Lake of the Hills by the fur

    traders, proceeded to the exploration of the river which now bears his

    name. Fort Chipewyan was for many years the most important center of the

    fur trade west of Hudson Bay. Philip Turner, a surveyor, was sent out by

    the British Government in 1790 to ascertain the nearness of Athabaska Lake

    to the Pacific. In the following year, he made a survey of the north shore

    of Athabaska Lake eastward from Fort Chipewyan fo the mouth of Fond du Lac

    River, and may perhaps have also surveyed the south shore.

            He was followed in 1796 by David Thompson who, coming westward from

    the Churchill River by way of Wollaston Lake and Fond du Lac River, sur–

    veyed the north shore of the lake as far west as lobstock which had been

    cut by Turner five years before. In 1881, A. S. Cochrane, then a topographi–

    cal assistant on the staff of the Geological Survey of Canada, followed

    Thompson's track and surveyed the north shore of Athabaska Lake from the

    mouth of Fond du Lac River to Chipewyan.

            In 1892-93, Dr. J. B. Tyrrell, of the Geological Survey of Canada,

    assisted by D. B. Dowling, of the Survey, in 1892, and by his brother

    James W., in 1893, surveyed both sides of the lake. Since that time various

    members of the staff of the Geological Survey of Canada and other department [ ?]

    of the Canadian government have explored or surveyed sections of its shores,

    of which the most extensive work is probably that done by F. J. Alcock (Q.V.)

    009      |      Vol_XIII-0041                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Athabaska Lake

    which was begun in 1914 and 1916 and continued in 1935.


    Tyrrell, J. B. Report on the Country Between Athabaska Lake and Churchill

    River. Geological Survey of Canada. Annual Report, Vol. VIII,


            Alcock, F. J. Geology of Lake Athabaska Region . Geological Survey of

    Canada, Memoir No. 196, 1936.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0042                                                                                                                  

    (D.M. LeBourdais)


            The Athabaska River is the most southerly of the great rivers that

    go to make up the Mackenzie, which drains a great part of northwestern

    Canada into the Arctic Ocean. It was known to the early fur traders as

    the Elk and for more than a century was an important link in the route by

    which they reached Lake Athabaska, Great Slave Lake and the Mackenzie River.

    It rises in the Rocky Mountains in about latitude 52° 20′ N. among that

    plexus of high mountain peaks and glaciers which is also the source of the

    North Saskatchewan, whose waters go eastward into Hudson Bay, and the

    Columbia, which empties into the Pacific. Mountains rising to 10,000 and

    11,000 feet tower above its place of origin. Flowing at first northward,

    the Athabaska continues in a generally northeasterly direction across the

    Alberta Plateau, in which it has carved a deep, picturesque valley, and

    after a course of 765 miles, discharges into Lake Athabaska. In many places

    rocks resist it s progress, resulting in rapids; but despite this it is navig–

    able for river steamers of 3-foot draft from the mouth of the McLeod River,

    178 miles below its source, to the Grand Rapids, a distance of 325 miles.

    From the Grand Rapids, where the river drops 50 feet in half a mile, to

    McMurray, 87 miles below, it is suitable only for scows and canoes, and then

    is navigated with difficulty; but from McMurray to the lake,175 miles, it is

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0043                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Athabaska River

    navigable for good-sized boats.

            The Athabaska River drains an area of 58,000 square miles, and in a

    sense connects the settled with the unsettled portions of Canada. For

    example, it shares Yellowhead Pass with the main line of the Canadian

    National Railways, and at one point flows within 100 miles of the city of

    Edmonton; yet for long stretches its course is till through a virtual

    wilderness. Although its drainage basin extends in places across six degrees

    of latitude — from 52° 20′ N. to 58° 30′ N. — and almost eleven degrees

    of longitude — from 118° 30′ W. to 107° 45′ W. — its drainage basin is

    mainly a narrow one, hemmed as it is between the North Saskatchewan and the

    Peace. With the exception of that contributed by the Clearwater, which flows

    in from the east and gathers the run-off p from a portion of the Canadian

    Shield, the Athabaska's waters come almost entirely from the Rocky Mountains

    and the Alberta Plateau, which it traverses in its course f r om the mountains

    to the lake. It receives innumerable tributaries, most of which are short,

    owing to the narrowness of its drainage basin, but two, the McLeod and the

    Pembina, both coming in from the southwest, are important rivers in their

    own right.

            After leaving its source in the Rocky Mountains, the river flows north–

    ward till it reaches Yellowhead Pass. While it is flowing through the moun–

    tain valleys and defiles on this northward course, it is swift and tumultuous;

    but when it comes to Yellowhead Pass its channel has been eroded down to an

    easy grade and it has expanded into two lakes, Brule and Jasper. Near Jasper

    Station, on the main line of the Canadian National Railways, it turns north–

    eastward and holds that general course till it reaches latitude 54° 20′ N.,

    longitude 116° 15′ W. At the end of this stretch, it turns slightly south

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0044                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Athabaska River

    of east, running thus for about 35 miles to Whitecourt, at the mouth of

    the McLeod River, where it turns to the east, continuing in that direction

    for 15 miles. Swinging again to the northeast, it keeps that course until

    near the mouth of the Pembina, its largest tributary, which drains an

    immense territory extending southward to within a few miles of the North

    Saskatchewan Valley and westward to the foothills of the Rockies. From

    the mouth of the Pembina, the river swings to the north-northeast, follow–

    ing that course to the mouth of Lesser Slave Lake River, draining the lake

    of the same name lying off to the northwestward. Beyond the mouth of Lesser

    Slave Lake River, the Athabaska, now a large stream, flows northeastward

    for 15 miles and then, making a sharp bend to the southward, follows a

    generally southerly course for 30 miles, after which it bends sharply to

    the east, continuing in that direction for 10 miles to Athabaska, long known

    as Athabaska Landing. Here, in times past, since it was less than 100 miles

    north of Edmonton by wagon road, travelers going to the Athabaska and

    Mackenzie country took snow or steamer for points down river.

            The river runs northward for five miles below Athabaska, completing a

    horseshoe bend with the town of Athabaska at its lowest point, and again

    takes a turn to the northeastward. This course is continued for 25 miles;

    and after a sharp bend to the north and another to the west, the river

    straightens out for a run of 120 miles, almost directly northward. It

    then strikes a range of hills which deflect it northeastward on a course

    which it continues for 75 miles, and in which it drops about 400 feet in

    a succession of rapids, the most serious of which is Grand Rapids. Below

    this, at McMurray, it receives the Clearwater, and from here to Lake Atha–

    baska, 175 miles, its course is practically northward. It enters the lake

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0045                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Athabaska River

    through t a delta which begins about 35 miles above. Between Athabaska and

    the Grand Rapids the river varies in width from 250 to 400 yards and its

    valley is from 300 to 400 feet deep. Below the Grand Rapids, however, the

    Athabaska Valley becomes more gorge-like, with banks rising from 500 to

    600 feet above the water. Below McMurray, the channel widens, the current

    slackens, and the banks become lower.

            Although the Athabaska is navigable for river steamers below the mouth

    of the McLeod River, Athabaska Landing was for all practical purposes the

    head of navigation before the advent of the railways. From there steamers

    made regular runs to the Grand Rapids, a distance of 165 miles, where freight

    from steamers above was portaged across an island in the stream to scows

    below for the final 87 miles to McMurray. At the latter point, other steamers

    were available to carry passengers and freight to Fitzgerald, or Smith's

    Landing, as it was then called, at the head of the only other serious

    obstruction on the Mackenzie system. When the Alberta and Great Waterways

    Railway reached Waterways, 304 miles northeast of Edmonton and seven miles

    east of McMurray, in 1921, Waterways became the head of navigation, and the

    section of the Athabaska above McMurray was thereafter relegated mainly to

    local traffic.

            From 1884, when the Hudson's Bay Company placed the steamer Grahame

    in commission between McMurray and Smith's Landing, and the Wrigley , two

    years later, below the rapids, that corporation has been in the transpor–

    tation business on the Mackenzie system, Northern Transportation Company,

    subsidiary of Eldorado Mining and Smelting, Limited, has since 1936 also

    been engaged in transportation between Waterways and Great Bear Lake. Its

    steel vessel, the Radium Queen, operates between Waterways and Fitzgerald,

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0046                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Athabaska River

    and its consort, the Radium King , on the lower river. Since the discovery

    of gold at Yellowknife, on Great Slave Lake, traffic on the river has in–

    creased enormously, requiring the existing companies to add to their facili–

    ties, and several other concerns have entered into the transportation

    business. The lower Athabaskan has since been a very busy traffic artery

    during the summer time.

            The Athabaska River is tapped in four places by railways, in addition

    to its contact with the Canadian National Railways in Yellowhead Pass.

    Besides the Edmonton-Waterways line referred to above, another originally

    called the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway, first strikes

    the Athabaska Valley near the mouth of the Pembina River and follows it to

    the junction of Lesser Slave Lake River, crossing there and continuing up

    the valley of the latter to the Peace River country. Both of these are now

    operated jointly by the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways.

    The Canadian National Railways operate a line from Edmonton to Athabaska,

    97 miles, and another to Whitecourt, 110 miles.

            The Athabaska country is also well served by air. For many years the

    Peace, Athabaska and Mackenzie valleys were served from Edmonton by two

    principal companies, Canadian Airways and Mackenzie Air Service, Limited,

    both of which at first operated on a charter basis, but after about 1936

    began regular flights. In 1937, Yukon Southern Air Transport, Limited, at

    first under another name, began scheduled flights between Edmonton and

    Whitehorse, Y. T., with stops at intermediate points in Alberta, British

    Columbia, and Yukon Territory. These three services were taken over in

    1942 by Canadian Pacific Air lines, Limited, a subsidiary of the Canadian

    Pacific Railway, which, because of the growth in traffic, has greatly

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0047                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Athabaska River

    increased the services inaugurated by its predecessors.

            The first white man to reach the Athabaska River was the fur trader,

    Peter Pond, a partner in the Northwest Company. Crossing the since-famous

    Methye Portage from the headwaters of the Churchill River, in 1778, he pad–

    dled down the Clearwater to its confluence with the Athabaska and down the

    latter to a point 30 miles above its mouth, where he built a trading post,

    known later as the Old Establishment. He was succeeded in charge of the

    Athabaska district by Alexander Mackenzie, who was shortly to discover the

    river that now bears his name. Mackenzie built a new post on the south shore ?

    of Lake Athabaska and called it Fort Chipewyan, Resolution? which soon became an important

    trading center. The Athabaska River, too, became an important link in the

    transcontinental transportation route of the fur traders over which supplies

    were brought in and furs taken out. In the spring of 1799, David Thompson,

    astronomer and fur trader, in the employ of the Northwest Company, crossed

    with horses from Fort Augustus on the North Saskatchewan River to the Pembina

    River, which he descended by canoe, surveying it to its mouth and then pro–

    ceeded down the Athabaska to the mouth of the Lesser Slave Lake River.

    Turning up the latter, he surveyed it to its source; and returning to the

    Athabaska, continued his survey down to the mouth of the Clearwater, after

    which he traveled eastward by way of Methye Portage.

            Thompson returned to the Athabaska five years later and surveyed the

    river from its mouth to the mouth of the Clearwater. Again, in 1810, he

    was on the Athabaska, this time in search of a pass through the Rockies.

    Traveling northwestward from the North Saskatchewan, he crossed the Pembina

    River, continuing till, on December 1, he reached the Athabaska, which he

    ascended to latitude 53° 44′ 15″ N., where he built a small cabin and set

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0048                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais e : Canada - Athabaska River

    his men to hunting for meat to provide food for the continuance of his

    journey. Setting out from this camp on December 29, he had reached the

    headwaters of the Whirlpool River, one of the farthest tributaries of the

    Athabaska, by January 8, 1811, and three days later had begun the descent

    of the western slope. Although Athabaska Pass had previously been found

    by independent traders, Thompson may be considered its discoverer since he

    was the first person to traverse it who was capable of fixing its location.

            The Athabaska Valley contains considerable quantities of timber, great

    sections of which, however, have been burned over. Nevertheless, there

    still remains sufficient, both of pulpwood size and merchantable timber,

    to provide a lumber industry of more than local importance. The valley

    has also extensive agricultural possibilities, but settlement is slow and

    confined to the vicinity of the railways.

            For a considerable distance along the banks of the Athabaska near

    McMurray, extensive outcroppings of bituminous sands, generally referred to

    as tar sands, can be seen. Although these sands contain one of the world's

    greatest concentrations of petroleum, variously estimated at from 100 to 250

    billion barrels, they have not yet been developed commercially. Even before

    the beginning of the present century, efforts had been made to devise a

    profitable method of extraction; and during World War II it seemed likely

    that this hope might be realized. With the end of the war, however, interest

    in the project slackened, although in many quarters the demand continues for

    some way to utilize this enormous potential resource. In addition to the

    tar sands, oil seepages have been found as well as natural gas, while coal

    measures are exposed in many places along the Athabaska and a number of its

    tributaries. At the Grand Rapids and at other places where obstructions occur,

    008      |      Vol_XIII-0049                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Athabaska River

    considerable amounts of hydro-electric power could be developed. All this

    would seem to suggest that the Athabaska Valley contains definite possibili–

    ties for future industrial activity. So far — aside from transportation —

    the principal industry is the salt works near Waterways, where at the end of

    World War II 50 men were employed. The salt beds are 250 feet in thickness

    and provide salt for a large portion of western Canada.

            Like the Peace, a few miles farther north, whose course it closely

    parallels, the Athabaska flows through a country in every respect well sup–

    plied with the resources to provide homes for millions of people. Dr. Griffith

    Taylor (q.v.) has predicted that the day will come when Alberta will be the

    most populous province in Canada; and this great tributary of the far greater

    Mackenzie, lyin g wholly within the Province of Alberta, will undoubtedly

    provide one of its most important centers of concentration.


            Mackenzie, Alexander. Voyages from Montreal on the river St. Lawrence through

    the Continent of North America to the Frozen and Pacific

    Oceans in the years 1789 and 1793 with a preliminary

    account of the rise, progress, and present state of

    The Fur Trade of that country
    . London, 1810 1801.

            Camsell, Charles, and Malcolm Wyatt. The Mackenzie River Basin . The Geological

    Survey of Canada, Memoir No. 108; 1919.

            Burpee, Lawrence J. The Search for the Western Sea . Toronto, 1935.

            Dawson, C. A. The Great North-West . Toronto, 1947.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0050                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdaise)


            The Attawapiskat River, in northern Ontario, Dominion of Canada,

    drains an area of 18,700 square miles into the western side of James Bay.

    Its watershed lies between that of the Ekwan on the north and the Albany

    on the south. Its general course is northeasterly and its total length,

    465 miles. Like the other rivers flowing into Hudson or James bays on the

    west side, it rises in the Canadian Shield, the great region underlain

    principally by Pre-Cambrain rocks which comprises the major part of northern

    Canada. At the headwaters of the Attawapisket, the Shield has a maximum

    elevation of about 1,500 feet, sloping north and east toward Hudson and

    James bays with an average grade of about 3.4 feet per mile. Between the

    Shield and the Bay is a zone underlain by Paleozoic rocks, chiefly lime–

    stones and dolomites, much lower in elevation than the former. In its

    course across the Canadian Sh ei ie ld, and in the descent to the James Bay low–

    land, the Attawapiskat is interrupted by many rapids and falls, but after

    it reaches the lowland section its flow is practically uninterrupted.

            The country, both in the Canadian Shield and lowland sections, is

    covered generally with a layer, varyi n g in thickness, of glacial till,

    superimposed, in the intermediate region, upon strata of boulder clay. These

    glacial deposits, owing to their impervious nature, result in extensive

    tracts of muskeg-like territory, especially toward the Bay. These sections

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0051                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Attawapiskat River

    are carpeted with a thick mantle of sphagnum moss in which grow only

    stunted black spruce and tamarack. The higher ground is forested fairly

    thickly with both white and black spruce, Banksian pine, white birch, bal–

    sam and poplar, which grow to a good size immediately along the banks of

    the river, but diminish in size and density of growth a short distance from

    the river's edge.

            The farthest branch of the Attawapiskat River originates in a series

    of small lakes lying on the height of land separating the Albany and Atta–

    wapiskat river watersheds, a short distance east of Cat Lake, in latitude

    51° 45′ N., longitude 91° 40′ W. The stream here is called the Otoskwin

    River. In its upper reaches, it flows in a generally easterly direction,

    widening into frequent lake-expansion, which are separated by short stretches

    of stream in which many rapids and falls occur. It flows through a region

    of low, granite hills, interspersed with considerable areas of muskeg.

    Still following a generally easterly course, but with many deviations to the

    south and the north, the Otoskwin River flows through five lakes of varying

    sizes in addition to numerous expansions before it enters the western side

    of Badesdawn Lake, 20 miles long and less than a mile wide, lying in a north–

    east-southwest direction.

            At the southwestern extremity of this lake, the Kawinogane (or Crow)

    River enters. This river is also one of the sources of the Attawapiskat

    River. It has its origin in a series of lakes in latitude 51° 30′ N., longi–

    tude 91° W., in the angle formed by Cat River and St. Joseph Lake. The

    Kawinogans River flows in a generally northeasterly direction into Badesdawa

    Lake, passing in its course through many other lakes, some of them, such as

    Kawinogans Lake, of considerable size. A few miles below its entry into

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0052                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Attawapiskat River

    Badesdawa Lake, near the confluence of a stream draining Pickle Lake, two

    important gold mines are located, operated, respectively, by Central Pat–

    ricia Gold Mines Limited and Pickle Crow Gold Mines Limited. They can only

    be reached from outside by air or, in winter, by tractor train.

            The Kawinogans River ends at Badesdawa Lake, but the Otoskwin River

    continues beyond the lake, flowing in a northeasterly direction, over several

    rapids, and expending, about 11 miles below Badesdawa Lake, into a narrow,

    shallow lake about 10 miles in length, from the northwestern extremity of

    this lake, the Otoskwin proceeds, still in a generally northeasterly direction,

    to Ozhiski Lake, which is about 22 miles in le n g th and about two miles at its

    widest. This lake lies athwart the 52nd parallel of north latitude, to the

    eastward of longitude 88° 30′ W., and occupies an east-west position, with

    a broad arm leading off to the northeast.

            The country for 50 miles or so above Ozhiski Lake is overlain by heavy

    deposits of glacial drift, often from 50 to 60 feet in thickness. In places

    it forms ridges rising from 70 to 100 feet above the general level, with

    areas of muskeg and low, sand-covered flats occupying the intervening valleys.

    The principal forest trees here are black spruce, tamarack and occasional

    groves of white spruce, as well as balsam and aspen poplar, with Benksian

    pine and white birch on some of the ridges.

            Flowing from the north side of Ozhiski Lake, the river, now properly

    called the Attawapiskat, continues northerly for 15 miles, with many heavy

    rapids and a high average rate of flow, to a sharp bend, where its course

    [ ?] anges to the east. At the bend, the river takes in a tributary from the

    north which almost doubles its volume. Twenty miles east of the bend, the

    river enters the western end of Kabania Lake, 11 miles long and with a maximum

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0053                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Attawapiskat River

    width of two miles. Two miles east of Kabania Lake, the river enters

    Attawapiskat Lake, the largest expanse of water in its course. This lake

    is about 30 miles long by about 10 miles wide at its greatest width. Its

    axis lies almost east and west, but it is deeply indented with long bays

    extending in all directions. Its surface is broken by many islands, some

    well wooded with fairly large trees.

            Attawapiskat Lake has two outlets, one at what may be called its

    eastern end and the other at the extremity of a bay extending to the north–

    east. The streams from these outlets run in a generally easterly direction

    for about 30 miles before uniting, after which the combined stream bears off

    slightly north of east for about 50 miles, and then makes an abrupt bend to

    the north. Cutting across the angle, somewhat like the string of a bow, is

    a small channel which expands into a shallow lake about midway. Continuing

    in a direction slightly east of north for about 125 miles, and after passing

    through another shallow lake-expansion, the river bends to a course slightly

    south of east for 50 miles, in which it divides twice to encompass islands,

    four and eight miles in length, respectively. Immediately below the second

    islands, the river, now wide and flowing with a slack current, makes a sharp

    turn to the north-northeast, continuing in that direction for about 12 miles,

    in the course of which it expands about another island a mile in length. At

    the end of this nor [ ?] hly stretch, the river swings to the east-northeast for

    about 40 miles, and then flows almost eastward for another 40 miles, the

    final 20 of which consists of an expansion in places about two miles wide.

    Beyond this expansion, the stream separates into two branches, one of which —

    the more northerly — contains much less water than the other. half. It

    follows a somewhat southeasterly course to James Bay, a distance of about

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0054                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Attawapiskat River

    50 miles, entering the Bay through a broad estuary. The main channel

    follows a parallel course, entering the Bay about 10 miles southeast of

    the other.

            The Attawapiskat River was first explored by Dr. Robert Bell, of the

    Geological and Natural History Survey of the Department of the Interior of

    Canada, in 1887, when he crossed from the headwaters of the Albany River to

    the headwaters of the Kawinogans River, followed it to its mouth in Badesdawa

    Lake, continued down the Otoskwin to Ozhiski Lake, and descended the Attawa–

    piskat to its mouth. In 1903-04-05, William McInnes, of the Geological Sur–

    vey of Canada, explored the region about the headwaters of the Winisk and

    Attawapiskat rivers, descending the former to Hudson Bay. In the interval,

    certain sections of the river, especially in its upper reaches, have been

    explored geologically by various engineers in the employ of the Ontario

    Department of Mines.

            As has been mentioned earlier, two important gold mines are in opera–

    tion on the Kawinogans branch of the river, and, since the general type of

    country in which the gold occurrences in these mines is found extends

    indefinitely along the Attawapiskat in its course across the Canadian

    Shield, it would not be strange if other mines were some day to be dis–

    covered in the area. The section of the river traversing the James Bay

    lowlands is not so well known as that farther up; and because of its heavy

    overburden of glacial drift, and fewer exposed sections owing to the smaller

    number of tributary streams, the difficulty of prospecting is much greater.

    Furthermore, economic minerals that might be found in the limestones and

    dolomites of the lowland region are not such as can profitably be worked

    far from market. While similar strata in other parts of the country are

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0055                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Attawapiskat River

    petroliferous, it has not been possible in this region to undertake suffi–

    cient prospecting to determine whether such a possibility exists there.

    What prospecting has been done, however, has not been favorable to the

    prospect of oil, since the strata, where observed, appear to be too flat-

    lying to permit of the concentration of oil.

            Selwyn, A.R.C. Summary Report of the Operations of the Geological and

    Natural History Survey to 31st December, 1887, being

    Part III of the Annual Report of the Department of the

    Interior. Ottawa, 1887.

            McInnes, Wm. Report on a Part of the North West Territories Drained

    by the Winisk and Attawapiskat Rivers. Ottawa,

    Government Printing Bureau, 1910.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0056                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Lake Attikamagen constitutes the northwestern extremity of the

    Hamilton River watershed in the Labrador section of the Province of

    Newfoundland, Canada. The height of land separating the Atlantic, Hudson

    Strait (Ungava Bay), and Hudson and James bays watersheds, loops round

    the northern end of this lake, and for that reason very few streams of

    any length flow into it, although a considerable volume of water is dis–

    charged into L [ ake ?] Petitsikapau through the outlet at its southeastern

    extremity, Lake Petitiskapau, in turn, discharges into Dyke Lake, through

    which the Ashuanipi River runs in its course to Sandgirt Lake, where it

    joins the Attikonak River to form the main Hamilton River, flowing eastward

    to the Atlantic.

            Lake Attikamagen, which lies in latitude 55° N., longitude 66° 30′ W.,

    is about 25 miles at its greatest length, and about nine miles at its great–

    est width. Like all other lakes in this region, it consists of a series of

    long , narrow bays, separated by rocky ridges which lie in a northwest-southeast

    direction, in conformity with the trend of the country. Its water has a

    brownish tinge, and it is quite shallow, filled with low, rocky islets, mostly

    of limestone and shale, with occasional islands of glacial till. The shores,

    except where they are formed by rocky ridges, are low and swampy. Toward the

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0057                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Lake Attikamagen

    north, it is bordered by high, rocky hills, lying some distance back,

    which form the edge of the watershed, beyond which are the headwaters of

    the Koksoak (Kaniapiskau) and George rivers, flowing northward into Ungava


            The country about Lake Attikamagen is wooded in the hollows between

    the ridges, but the trees are confined chiefly to small black spruce and

    tamarack. Most of the ridges are bare, but where there is sufficient soil,

    are generally well covered with shrubs and mosses. This lake is on the route

    of Hudson's Bay traders when travelling overland from Fort Chimo, near Ungava

    Bay, to Fort Nascaupee, on Lake Petitskapau, until it was abandoned about 1873,

    and to posts on the lower Hamilton. Dr. A. P. Low, on his exploratory survey

    in 1894, did not continue beyond Lake Petitsikapau; he believed this lake to

    discharge northward into the George River; and in the interval few but trappers

    have seen it until recently, when the surrounding country has been surveyed

    by air in the search for iron ore deposits, results of which are not yet



    Low, A.P. Report on Explorations in the Labrador Peninsula, along the

    East Main, Koksoak, Hamilton, Manicuagan, and Portions of

    other rivers in 1892-93-94-95
    . Geological Survey of Canada,

    Annual Report, Vol. VIII, pp. lL-387L, 1895.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0058                                                                                                                  
    E [ ?] -Geography

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The Attikonak River, in the Labrador section of the Province of

    Newfoundland, Canada, is one of the principal tributaries of Hamilton

    River (q.v.). It rises in the plateau forming the height of land between

    the Hamilton and St. Lawrence watersheds, east of the watershed of the

    Ashuanipi River (q.v.), in a region consisting chiefly of lakes, large

    and small, connected by short stretches of rapid-filled streams. The

    country here has a generally northward slope, in which direction the Atti–

    konak flows for the greater part of its course to Sendgirt Lake (q.v.),

    where it joins the Ashuanipi to constitute the Hamilton. The territory

    through which it runs is probably much in appearance today as it was after

    the glaciers retreated. It is part of the Canadian Shield, which extends

    westward across Canada almost to the Mackenzie Valley, consisting mainly of

    rocks of Pre-Cambrian age. The softer rocks were gouged out by ice action

    and now constitute sprawling, rugged basins of coutless lakes which cover

    the land. Ridges consisting of some of the harder rocks, with axes conform–

    ing to the general trend of the country, are a characteristic feature of the

    landscape, but many individual hummocks, drumlins, or buttes are also to be

    seen. The country bears a mantle of glacial till, thinly covering the under–

    lying rocks in many places, but in others to a depth of more than 100 feet.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0059                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Attikonak River

    Frequent sand ridges are seen in some parts, in others, sand flats indicate

    the existence at one time of lakes caused by water impounded at the foot

    of the retreating glaciers.

            The Attikonak River rises in the lake of the same name at the southern

    edge of the plateau, not far from the headwaters of the Romaine River, flow–

    ing southward into the St. Lawrence. This lake, which has a length of about

    40 miles, and is about 20 miles at its widest, is a typical Canadian Shield

    lake, arms extending in all directions, the deepest however, in the direction

    of the general trend of country, and dotted by innumerable rocky islets. The

    shores about its southern end are bold and rocky and wooded with small black

    spruce and ta [ ?] rack; toward the northern end, the shores become lower and

    are lost in a swampy border.

            As the river leaves Lake Attikonak, it flows over a wide, shallow rapid,

    such as is often the case, and then over another within a short distance.

    About two miles below the outlet of the lake, the river expands to a width

    of nearly a m o i le, continuing at this width, with a slack current, for about

    four miles, and then descends a narrow chute over a rocky ledge for a drop

    of about four feet. Below the chute, the river continues northward, flowing

    in a shallow channel from 200 to 600 yards wide, obstructed all along by

    rocky islets, sometimes separated by rapids. At the end of this stretch,

    which occupies about 16 miles, the river turns abruptly to the east, flowing

    in that direction for a mile and then discharging into the western side of

    Lake Panachiamitkats, about 12 miles long, its main axis in a north-south

    direction. The river enters the lake about seven miles from its upper end,

    and the southern end lies parallel to the river, separated from it only by a

    narrow ridge. The outlet of Lake Panachiamitkats is on the same side as the

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0060                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Attikonak River

    entrance, but about five miles farther north. After leaving this lake, the

    river flows northward for eight miles in a wide, shallow channel, entering

    Lake Ossokmanuan on its southwest side, about 10 miles from its southeastern

    end. Lake Ossokmanuan is about 40 miles long, and its general trend is

    northwest-southeast. It has two principal outlets, one called Valley River,

    flowing out of the northeastern side of the lake, which, after passing through

    a succession of lakes in a wide valley that appears to have been the ancient

    valley of the Hamilton, joins the latter above Bowdoin Canyon. It has yet

    to be explored.

            Ossokmanuan Lake varies in width from two to four miles; in its upper

    34 miles, its direction is generally northwest-southeast; in but in its lower

    six miles its main axis is more nearly north and south. Long, narrow bays

    extend from its shores in all directions, one of these stretching for more

    than 20 miles to the northwest. The Attikonak River issues from the lake's

    northwestern angle, and flows for a mile through a narrow, rocky channel,

    after which it expands into Gabbro Lake, seven miles long, with a deep bay

    extending farther to the southeastward. Below Gabbro Lake, the river flows

    slightly west of north, passing through a series of small lakes, after which

    it swings directly to the east, running in that direction with a swift current

    for five miles in a narrow, irregular channel filled with rocky islets. It

    again turns to the northwest and spreads into a lake-expansion three miles

    long, which is separated by a stretch of rapids a mile long from another

    lake-expansion of the same length. Below the last expansion, it flows into

    Sandgirt Lake, which it enters on its south side. This lake also receives

    the discharge from the Ashuanipi, and is therefore considered to be the

    source of the Hamilton, which drains its waters into the Atlantic Ocean.

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0061                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Attikonak River

            Attikonak River was first explored in 1894 by Dr. A. P. Low, of the

    Geological Survey of Canada, when he explored the Hamilton River to the

    headwaters of both it and the Ashuanipi, and few but the trappers have

    visited it since. In recent years, because of the existence, a short dis–

    tance to the westward, of extensive iron ore deposits, the country has been

    covered by aerial survey, but details of such explorations have not yet

    been published.


    Low, A. P. Report on Explorations in the Labrador Peninsula along the

    East Main, Koksoak, Hamilton, Manicuagan and Portions of

    other rivers in 1892-93-94-95
    . Geological Survey of Canada,

    Annual Report, Vol. VIII, pp. IL-387L, 1895.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0062                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais


            Aylmer Lake, District of Mackenzie, northwestern Canada, is one of

    that chain of lakes which go to make up the Lockhart River system. The

    Lockhart River rises in MacKay Lake to the west of Aylmer Lake, and follow–

    ing a circuitous course of 300 miles through a succession of lakes, empties

    into the eastern end of Great Slave Lake. Between MacKay Lake and Aylmer

    Lake, the Lockhart expands into a number of long narrow lakes called the

    Outram Lakes, connected by short stretches of river in which falls and

    rapids occur. In the 30 miles between the outlet of MacKay Lake and the

    head of Aylmer Lake, the river drops 185 feet. Aylmer Lake has an area of

    340 square miles and is shaped like an irregular letter L, facing in the

    opposite direction. Its base lies as much north of the 64th degree of

    latitude as the main part of MacKay Lake lies to the south of it. A s t its

    southeastern angle, Aylmer Lake discharges almost directly into Clinton–

    Colden Lake, extending southeasterly from Aylmer Lake, and separated from

    it by the Thanakoie Narrows.

            A few miles south of the first large bay at the eastern end of Aylmer

    Lake, a high rugged ridge of granite appears and extends westward. It comes

    to the water's edge at the foot of the second large bay and then continues

    westward parallel to the lake but about a mile distant until it again strikes

    the lake at the west end, and crossing, forms a high rugged ridge along the

    north shore of Lockhart River.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0063                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Aylmer Lake

            Aylmer Lake was first explored and was named by George (later Sir

    George) Black, who, in 1833-35, conducted a search for the lost British

    Arctic expedition commanded by Sir James Ross, who was never in any of the

    regions visited by Black, and who reached England before Black himself

    returned. Other explorers and travelers have visited the spot, notably

    Warburton Pike in 1890 and Ernest Thompson Seton in 1907, while various

    Canadian government survey parties have from time to time been in the district.

            Economic possibilities of the district are associated almost entirely

    with minerals; and since the region is underlain by rocks of the Pre-Cambrian

    formations in which valuable minerals have been found elsewhere, the prospects

    are favorable for the discovery of minerals of value if and when the district

    is more fully prospected. Whenever that should occur, the hydro-electric

    power that could be made available would prove to be an important factor in

    its exploitation. Timber is a n [ ?] gligible factor, and agricultural possibili–

    ties are practically nil. Aylmer Lake, like the others in that section of

    the country, is well stock ed with fish, which would be important if for any

    reason a settlement should be established in the vicinity, but such fisheries

    would scarcely be on a commercial scale.


            Back, George. Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition to the Mouth of the

    Great Fish River, and Along the Shores of the Arctic Ocean

    in the Years 1833, 1834 and 1835.
    London, 1836.

            Seton, E.T. The Arctic Prairies . New York, (revised ed.) 1835 1943.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0064                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Back River, Northwest Territories of Canada, drains the northeastern

    part of the District of Mackenzie and the northwestern part of the District

    of Keewatin into the Arctic Ocean Sea . It rises in Sussex Lake, in latitude

    64° 30′ N., longitude, 108° 20′ W., just north of the low divide separating

    the Great Slave Lake and Arctic watersheds. After flowing 605 miles through

    a number of fairly large lakes and numerous lake expansions, and holding a

    generally northeasterly course, it empties into Chantrey Inlet, in latitude

    67° 07′ N., and longitude 96° 40′ W.

            Back River's drainage basin comprises 47,500 square miles, extending,

    north and south, from latitude 64° 30′ N. to 67° 07′ N.; and, east and west,

    from longitude 95° W. to 108° 50′ W. Characteristic of rivers traversing

    the Canadian Shield, it is not fed by mountain snowfields, like rivers in

    many other parts of the world, but depends upon the precipitation caught by

    the myriads of lakes, large and small, which cover the country.

            Sussex Lake lies no more than a mile north of the northern extension of

    Lake Aylmer, which, by means of Lockhart River, drains into Great Slave Lake.

    The height of land between the two is only a few feet above the level of the

    two lakes. A few miles east of Sussex Lake is Lac de Gras, which is drained

    by the Coppermine. Thus there are in this small area the headwaters of three

    drainage systems — the Lockhart, which eventually reaches the Arctic by way

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0065                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Black River

    of the Mackenzie; the Coppermine, running almost directly to the Arctic

    Ocean; and the Back, which empties into the Arctic farther east. While

    not far to the southeast, are the headwaters of Thelon River, whose waters

    eventually flow into Hudson Bay.

            In its upper reaches Back River flows through a poorly defined valley,

    which would suggest that it has but recently cut its channel, the old one

    probably being still filled with glacial debris; but in its lower reaches

    the valley becomes more definitely marked and is obviously much more ancient.

    In this lower stretch, lake expansions are fewer, since the river's well-

    defined banks confine it more completely and prevent its straying so widely

    as is the case farther up.

            From its source in Sussex Lake, the river flows northeast for about

    80 miles to the northwestern end of Lake Beechey, which lies in a southeast-

    northwest direction. The stream thus diverted, holds the latter course

    until just east of the junction with Baillie River, when it turns abruptly

    to the northeast, flowing in that direction for about 100 miles to and through the

    west arm of Lake Pelly, which is shaped like an inverted V. At the lake's

    northern extremity, it bends southeast, continuing thus for about 40 miles,

    the river flowing out of its eastern end; and thence for 70 or 80 miles the

    latter follows a tortuous but generally easterly course through Lakes Garry

    and Macdougall. The river's generaly northeasterly direction is again followed

    after Wolf Fall, continuing to salt water at Chantrey Inlet.

            Back River emerges from Sussex Lake through a narrow channel and two

    miles downstream enters another lake, below which occurs a crooked rapid.

    The country is broken into low hills, the whole covered with glacial debris.

    Flowing through two small lakes, which are separated by rapids, the Back

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0066                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Black River

    receives Icy River, a considerable stream coming from the west, which

    enters through two channels caused by an island at its mouth. The lake

    expansion into which Icy River flows narrows down before Musk Ox Lake is

    reached. The latter, six miles long, is surrounded by steep hills, and

    below, a series of rapids, known as Musk Ox Rapids, extends for about four

    miles. Beyond Musk Ox Lake, the river cuts through two ranges of hills,

    the second of which is called the Heywood Range, where the current is swift

    and broken by frequent rapids. The stream is wide, however, in most places

    averaging from 200 yards to a quarter of a mile, and spreading into frequent

    small lakes.

            In the 50 miles from the northern slopes of the Heywood Range to the

    northwestern end of Lake Beechey, the river continues its general northeasterly

    course, expanding into small lakes, breaking over rapids, and taking in

    innumerable short tributaries on both sides. Lake Beechey, about 30 miles

    long, lies in a southeast-northwest direction, and averages not more [ E ?] t han a

    mile in width. From its northwestern extremity, where Back River enters, the

    distance is only about 70 miles northward to the head of Bathurst Inlet. A

    range of low mountains extends along the northeastern bank of the lake,

    probably continuous with the ranges to the east of Bathurst Inlet. It is

    this barrier that turns the river from its previous northeasterly course to

    the southeast at Lake Beechey. The latter discharges in a series of rapids

    nearly two miles in length where a total drop of about 60 feet occurs. The

    country still consists of rocky hills, set in low, wet stretches of tundra-like

    land. c C ontinuing on a southeasterly course, the river takes a sudden bend

    northward; and after a short distance turns abruptly and runs east for a few

    miles, when it as suddenly bends southward between cliffs in a contracted

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0067                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - B l ack River

    channel which leads into a long line of rapids. The river now becomes more

    tortuous, passing through mounds of sand left by the retreating glaciers.

    Hills of gneiss still appear from time to time, but the country to the east–

    ward flattens out as the sand plains are approached.

            Below Baillie River, which comes in from the southeast, sandbanks and

    islands of sand appear, and the river is lake - like, bordered by a low, sandy

    region, still, however, studded with low rocky hills, mostly detached and a

    mile or two from each other. These soon disappear, giving place to the sand

    plains, so flat as scarcely to rise beyond the general horizontal line of the


            Passing the mouth of Warren River, which enters from the northwest, the

    low land is diversified by occasional mounds, and the banks become higher,

    sometimes rising to cliffs, but still of a dry, sandy character. The river

    swings slightly to eastward to the mouth of the Jervoise, a tributary from

    the east, after which a sharp turn to the northwest is followed by a defile

    filled with rapids continuing the northeast course in which the rocks on the

    east bank are high and perpendicular, while the opposite side is broken and

    overhanging, towering in stratified and many-colored masses far above the


            Below this point, known as Hawk Rapids, the current is not less than six

    miles an hour, with whirlpools and eddies. Continuing northeastward, Back

    River receives the McKinley River, nearly as broad as itself, which winds its

    way through the low country to the east and enters around a small sandy bluff.

    The land now becomes more uneven, but soon changes into hills, partly composed

    of bare [ ?] ocks. Buchanan River next enters from the east, below which, Back River,

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0068                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Back River

    making a bend to the north, varies in width from a quarter of a mile to a

    mile and a half. The country now becomes decidedly hilly, with an odd mix–

    ture of gullies, conical sandhills with black, mossy tops, and isolated rocks

    which dot the landscape to the westward.

            A short distance below the mouth of Buchanan River, the Back flows into

    the [ ?] astern of two forks constituting the southwestern extremity of Lake Pelly.

    This lake also assumes the shape of an inverted V, the western arm of which

    is about 25 miles long and the wider, eastern arm from 35 to 40 miles in

    length. The outline of both arms is extremely irregular. Bullen River

    enters from the west near the western extremity, and, just after the lake

    makes its bend, the boundary between Mackenzie and Keewatin districts cuts


            Back River emerges from Lake Pelly about 25 miles beyond the bend, and

    is connected with Lake Garry by a rapid. Lake Garry, which has an east-west

    length of about 50 miles, presents a very jagged outline on its northern and

    southern shores and is filled with islands, resembling a chain of parallel

    north-and-south-lying lakes, rather than a single one. From Lake Garry a

    short stretch of rapid-filled river flows northeastward into Lake Macdougall,

    which it enters at the lake's southwestern margin. This lake at its longest

    north-south extent is about 35 miles long, irregularly shaped, containing many

    islands, with deep bays extending north and south. Lakes Pelly, Garry and

    Macdougall, a series of closely-connected lakes, extend in a generally easterly

    direction from longitude 96° W. to beyond 102° W., and lie mainly along the

    66th degree of north latitude.

            Back River leaves the southern end of Macdougall Lake by the usual

    series of rapids, flowing in a southeasterly direction through several rapids.

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0069                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Back River

    As it flows in a narrow channel between two gneiss rocks from 500 to 800

    feet high, it again breaks into a series of rapids, followed by an expansion

    about 400 yards wide in the center of which a rock rises about 300 feet high.

    It is now nearly a mile wide, full of small, rocky islands, wi h t h falls between.

    them The next reach turns northward and becomes lake-like in its width. For

    a few miles it continues nearly in the same course, gradually contracting

    until it is broken by Escape Rapids, extending for a mile of extremely rough

    water. About two miles downstream, with the current still strong, the river

    turns eastward through a range of precipitous sandhills. The current rushes

    on faster and soon becomes a line of heavy rapids, followed by another series;

    and a short distance below, Wolf Rapids terminates in a fall of five feet.

            Proceeding northward, the river spreads into a considerable lake expan–

    sion, although both sides are hemmed by high hills, covered as usual with

    boulders and unassorted glacial debris. Below a bold point at the band of

    the river, Mount Meadowbank is seen. The latter is a picturesque and command–

    ing butte with sloping sides on the southwest, and a precipitous face toward

    the north. After a course of six miles to the southeast, the river again

    veers northerly, running with great velocity among boulders. To the west–

    ward, the rocky shores, rugged and barren, attain considerable altitude. To

    the eastward, however, the country is more open and rolling. Here, Montressor

    River enters from the west.

            Below this point, granitic mountains make their appearance, holding the

    river in a northerly course, with a breadth varying from three-quarters of a

    mile to a mile. At one spot a rapid causes it to deviate a little to the

    westward. Near this, the rocks become steeper and are distinguished from

    those farther south by their precipitous sides and cliffs facing to the west

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0070                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Back River

    and northwest. Continuing downstream, what appears to be an island is found

    to be a rocky hill on the eastern shore. Its base, an enormous mass of round,

    grey rock, is surmounted by a large cone resembling the crater of a volcano,

    even to its blackness.

            A rapid exists at the foot of this hill, below which the stream widens

    and a vertical line of rocks again borders each side, the western being the

    more open, with undulating prairies. At the end of six miles, a sandy bluff

    on the west side seems to bar the river, but it actually marks the beginning

    of a rapid, from the foot of which the river expands into Lake Franklin,

    stretching to a north-northwest direction. The river leaves the lake by a

    rapid, followed by another which is broken by islands where the descent is

    about 20 feet. Three miles beyond a fine open reach, the river again is con–

    fined between rocky walls that almost meet, causing a rapid and a fall.

            The sand cliffs now become broken and dwindle in the east, while in the

    west they subside into low flats relieved by a few sandy knolls. Several

    channels break off to the westward, but they are shallow and not navigable.

    The country on both sides is swampy, but gradually sloping upward to the

    west toward the Chantrey Hills in the distance, as Back River empties into

    Cockburn Bay, at the head of Chantrey Inlet.

            Back River, formerly called Great Fish River, was first explored in

    1834 by Captain (afterwards Sir) George Back, after whom it is named. He

    was the commander of an expedition that had set off from England the previous

    year to search for Captain (later Sir) John Ross, who had disappeared into

    the Arctic in 1829. Late in 1833, Back discovered a small lake which he

    called Sussex Lake which proved to be the source of the river he hoped to

    follow to the Arctic coast. He descended the river draining Sussex Lake as

    008      |      Vol_XIII-0071                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Back River

    far as a lake he called Musk Ox Lake, but since the season was too well

    advanced for him to reach his objective before winter set in, Back returned

    to the eastern end of Great Slave Lake where he built Fort Reliance and

    spent the winter. Although word was received of the safe return of Captain

    Rose, back decided to continue his geographical explorations, and in June

    and July, 1834, accompanied by Richard King, surgeon and naturalist of the

    expedition, and a party of Indian guides, descended the river to its mouth

    and explored the Arctic coast as far east as Ogle Point, the northeastern

    extremity of Adelaide Peninsula. In August and September of the same year

    he retraced his course to spend another winter at Fort Reliance.

            In July, 1855, James Anderson and James Stewart, officers of the

    Hudson's Bay Company, commissioned by their company to search for traces of

    Sir John Franklin's party, descended the river, finding on Montreal Island,

    near its mouth, remains and relics of some of Franklin's men. The follow–

    ing month, Anderson and Stewart returned the way they had come. In 1879,

    Frederick Schwatka, U.S.A., ascended the river for a short distance from

    Chantrey Inlet; in 1890, Warburton Pike d D escended it from its headwaters

    to Lake Beechey; and in April, 1902, David T. Hanbury descended the Buchanan

    River, one of its tributaries, by sledge, and proceeded thence to Lake Pelly,

    which he crossed on his way northward to the coast. In the interval its

    course has been followed by airplane many times.

            Economically, the region through which Back River flows is not yet of

    much consequence. The extensive prairie areas tributary to its course which

    once supported immense herds of caribou and musk oxen, could be utilized for

    the grazing of reindeer and domesticated musk oxen, if such an industry were

    009      |      Vol_XIII-0072                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Back River

    ever undertaken. Aside from this, the only other possibility is in the

    direction of mining. The upper reaches of Back River are not far from the

    Yellowknife area now being developed north of Great Slave Lake and the

    region is fairly accessible from that direction, while the underlying

    geological [ ng ?] structure is considered favorable. To the north, on Bathurst

    Inlet, it is known that copper-bearing rocks exist, but whether they extend

    as far south as the valley of Back River is a matter of conjecture. Any

    other mineral possibilities are equally problematical and must wait until

    the territory is more fully explored. Since, however, the whole region is

    underlain by Pre-Cambrian rocks, and since it is in rocks of similar type

    that rich mineral deposits have been found elsewhere in the Canadian north,

    the possibility of mineral wealth must, until ruled out by more intensive

    examination, continue to be more than a possibility.


            Back, George. Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition to the Great Fish

    River, and along the shores of the Arctic Ocean in the

    years 1833, 1834 and 1835.
    London, 1836.

            Anderson, J., and Stewart J. Proceedings of the Hudson's Bay Company

    Expedition to Investigate the Fate of Sir John Franklin

    and Party. Select Committee on Arctic Expeditions, 1855.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0073                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Bathurst Inlet, District of Mackenzie, is one of the most prominent

    indentations on the north coast of the mainland of the Dominion of Canada.

    It extends slightly east of southward from near the eastern end of Corona–

    tion Gulf. Authorities differ as to the point at which the indentation may

    first be termed Bathurst Inlet; some give the entrance as lying between

    Cape Barrow, in latitude 68° 04′ N., longitude, 110° 54′ W., and Cape Flinders,

    in latitude 68° 13′ N., longitude, 109° 15′ W., thus extending inland for

    about 125 miles. Others assume the entrance to be the line between Everitt

    Point, in latitude 67° 42′ N., longitude, 108° 42′ W., and Wollaston Point,

    about 17 miles west-southwestward; and the distance from the line between

    these two points to the southern end of Bathurst Inlet is about 85 miles.

    The expanse of water to the north of this line, averaging about 40 miles,

    north and south as well as east and west, bears no separate name, but is

    referred to as the entrance to Bathurst Inlet. Here, the inlet is considered

    as extending southward only from the Wollaston- Everitt line and will be des–

    cribed accordingly.

            The entrance to Bathurst Inlet, north of the Wollaston-Everitt line,

    is filled with islands, many of which are unnamed, and the main portion of

    the inlet is likewise filled with islands. Southward of Everitt and Wollas–

    ton points, the inlet is from 17 to 20 miles wide, continuing so for a distance

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0074                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Bathurst Inlet

    of about 20 miles. This portion is largely occupied by the Barry Islands,

    of which Goulbourn Island is the largest. South of the Barry Islands, the

    inlet narrows to from five to six miles, gradually diminishing in width

    until no more than two or three miles over the final 30 miles of its length.

            Although the coast of Coronation Gulf from which Bathurst Inlet extends

    southward is fairly low, the shores of the entrance to the inlet are bold

    and rugged; steep hills rise abruptly from the water on both sides. The

    islands, too, are mainly rocky. The eastern shore, while underlain by

    similar rock formation, is more generally covered with overburden and sup–

    ports a considerable growth of vegetation, while on the western side the

    shores are rocky and much more barren in appearance.

            The eastern side of Arctic Sound, at the northwestern portal of

    Bathurst Inlet, consists of a long, narrow promontory, extending in a north-

    and-south direction, terminating in Wollaston Point. From Wollaston Point,

    the shore curves gently to the south-southeast, without any indentations of

    consequence, to the bottom of Bathurst Inlet. Burnside River flows in from

    the west about 30 miles north of the inlet's lower extremity. At its southern–

    most tip, Bathurst Inlet receives the Western River from the south southeast,

    which drains a narrow strip of territory north of the Back River watershed.

            The eastern side of Ba [ ?] hurst inlet is much more indented than the west

    side. From Everitt Point, the coast trends south southeasterly for about

    27 miles to Fowler Bay, which is about two miles deep and a mile and a quarter

    across its mouth, partly blocked by a long, narrow island. About eight

    miles farther south, Gordon Bay, about eight miles wide and 12 miles deep,

    divided into two sections by a long, rocky point, extends southeastward.

    Beyond Gordon Bay, the shore trends southward for eight or ten miles and then

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0075                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Bathurst Inlet

    swings to the south-southeast, continuing in that direction without much

    indentation to the lower end of the inlet.

            Bathurst Inlet was first explored in 1821 by Captain (later Sir) John

    Franklin, whose party traveled along the north coast of Canada from the

    mouth of the Coppermine River to Point Turnsgain, a short distance to the

    eastward of Bathurst Inlet. They penetrated the inlet to its bottom, giving

    it the name it bears and naming most of its principal features. The inlet

    was called after the Earl of Bathurst, a member of the British Government

    under whose auspices Franklin's expedition was organized. On the return

    from Cape Turnagain, the Franklin party ascended Hood River (named after a

    member of the party who was soon to die) and crossed overland to their base

    at Fort Enterprise, northeast of Great Slave Lake, encountering great hard–

    ship on the way.

            Thomas Simpson and Peter Warren Dease, on an exploratory expedition for

    the Hudson's Bay Company, further explored Bathurst Inlet in the years 1838

    and 1839. The work of these explorers was simplified and corrected in many

    particulars by members of the Canadian Arctic (Stefansson) Expedition, 1913-

    1918, who spent a considerable amount of time in the vicinity of Coronation



            Franklin, John. Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea in

    the Years 1819-20-21-22.
    London, 1823.

            Simpson, Thomas. Narrative of the Discoveries on the North Coast of America

    During the Years 1836-39.
    London, 1843.

            O'Neill, J.J. The Geology of the Arctic Coast of Canada, West of the Kent

    . Report, Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-1918,

    Vol. II.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0076                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Beaver River, in Mackenzie District, northwestern Canada, drains a

    narrow strip of territory lying between the head of the Mackenzie River

    proper and the Cameron Hills, which lie approximately on the 60th parallel

    of north latitude. Beaver River is shown on the map as only that section

    which drains Kakisa Lake, about 10 miles long, which lies in a southeaste

    northwest direction, and is connected with Tathlina Lake by the Kakisa

    River, about seven or eight miles in length in which there is a drop of

    85 feet. Tathlina Lake, is pear-shaped and about 12 miles long by eight

    miles at its widest. The Beaver River proper is interrupted by the Lady

    Evelyn Falls, 48 feet high, where the river drops over the escarpment of

    the Alberta Plateau, where there runs parallel to the Mackenziee River.

            Two principal short branching streams draining the northern slopes of

    the Cameron Hills and the muskegs which lie along their base, enter Tathlina

    Lake, one at the southwestern and the other at the southeastern angle. The

    outlet is at the northernmost extremity. Several small tributaries enter

    the connecting stream from the west. The latter enters Kakisa Lake near

    its southeastern angle, and the Beaver leaves at the northeastern angle,

    emptying into the expanded section of the Mackenzie River about eight miles

    below its point of commencement.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0077                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Beaver Lake

            The country through which the Beaver River flows consists of the

    Alberta Plateau section which is relieved by the Cameron Hills on the

    southern edge of its watershed and by Eagle Mountain on the east. The

    plateau is forested with spruce and pine, with tamarack in the swamps.

    Between the foot of the escarpment on the Mackenzie, the spruce forest is

    interspersed with considerable stretches of muskeg. Between the edge of

    the main escarpment and the foot of the Cameron Hills, a second step in

    the plateau, which accounts for the drop in elevation between Tathlina and

    Kakisa lakes.

            The territory does not contain much land of agricultural value and its

    timber is not of commercial grade. It is, however, underlain by Palaeozoic

    rocks such as, in other places, are favorable for the production of petro–

    leum, and it is possible that when the area has been more fully examined

    for that purpose the results might justify the final test of the drill.

            The first exploration of the region was made by R. G. McConnell of the

    Geological Survey of Canada in 1888, who made a traverse from Providence,

    on the Mackenzie River, southward to Lake Bistcho. He did not touch the

    Beaver River valley, but followed a course to the west of it. A. E. Cameron

    of the Survey explored its lower reaches in 1917, but did not continue above

    the falls.


            McConnell, R. G. Report on an Exploration in the Yukon and Mackenzie Basins,

    . Geological Survey of Canada, 1888.

            Cameron, A. E. Summary Report. Geological Survey of Canada, 1917.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0078                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The Big Salmon River is a tributary of the Lewes River, one of the

    principal branches of the Yukon. It rises in Quiet Lake, 19 miles long

    and a maximum of two and a half miles wide, lying approximately north-and-

    south, at an elevation of 2,580 feet above sea level, just west of the 133rd

    meridian, in the angle where it is intersected by the 61st degree of north

    latitude. Immediately below the outlet of Quiet Lake, extending for nine

    miles, it is a series of small lakes, joined by short stretches of river.

    In its upper reaches, the Big Salmon is bordered by mountains from 3,000 to

    4,000 feet in height, which constrict its valley, but farther down the moun–

    tains are not so high and the valley broadens considerably. In its final

    45 miles, it occupies a wide, wooded valley bordered by rounded hills.

            The Big Salmon varies in width from 30 to 100 yards, and although there

    are stretches where the current is smooth, for the greater part of its course

    the river is shallow and rapid, interrupted by many sandbars and occasional

    rapids. It is not navigable, except for canoes, and that with difficulty.

    About 25 miles above its mouth, the Big Salmon takes in the North fork, and

    20 miles farther up, the South fork enters. Its course is generally north–

    westerly, and it is about 142 miles in length from the foot of the chain of

    lakes in which it rises. It flows into the Lewes about 60 miles below the

    outlet of Lake Laberge.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0079                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Black Lake, in northern Saskatchewan, Dominion of Canada, is a long,

    narrow body of water lying in a general northeast-southwest direction. Its

    greatest length is 49 miles, its greatest width about nine, and its area

    about 200 square miles; it lies at an elevation of 1,000 feet above sea

    level. It is the largest lake in the course of the Fond du Lac River, which

    originates in Wollaston Lake and empties into Lake Athabaska, and is thus

    part of the great Mackenzie drainage system. Black Lake is shaped like a

    club, wi t h a long, narrow, curved handle-like section extending southwestward

    from the wider part of the lake, which lies more nearly east and west and is

    roughly diamond-shaped. The eastern end of the lake is in longitude 105 W.;

    its western end is in 105° 55′ W.; its southernmost point is in 58° 45′ N.;

    and its northernmost point is in latitude 59° 18′ N.

            Black Lake, like Lake Athabaska to the West, and Wollaston and Reindeer

    lakes to the east, is on the line of contact between the Pre-Cambrian rocks

    lying generally to the eastward and the Paleozoic rocks lying to the south–

    westward. Consequently the southern shore of Black Lake is chiefly composed

    of stratified sandstone, or of boulders with an escarpment of sandstone lying

    farther back; while the northern shore consist chiefly of granites and gneisses.

    The boundary between the two rock formations is marked at either end of the

    lake by the Fund du Lac River. Beginning at the outlet of the lake, on its

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0080                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Black Lake

    northwestern shore, the gneissic rocks continue in a northeasterly direction

    for 15 miles, the lake shore following the foot of a ridge from 200 to 400

    feet in height. Fir Island, with an area of 12 square miles, lies off this

    shore, just north of the outlet. The island is underlain mainly by Atha–

    baska sandstone. Chipman River, a rapid stream about 50 feet wide at its

    mouth, flows into the lake from the north at the point where the lake shore

    diverges from the northeasterly-trending ridge, and turns eastward. The

    north shore continues almost due east for about 13 miles, the shores con–

    sisting mainly of gran i tic rocks, rising in places to about 100 feet above

    the lake. From the northeastern angle of the lake, the shore swings south–

    westward for about 12 miles, receiving about midway the upper Fond du [ ?] ac

    River, which enters by two months. The shores of the lake, on all sides,'

    are wooded with black spruce, occasional white spruce, birch and tamarack,

    with black spruce and birch predominating. The growth is heavier on the southern

    and southeastern shore , s , where the underlying rocks are mostly sandstone.

    Cree River flows into the southernmost extremity of the lake from the


            Black Lake was first explored in 1796 by David Thompson of the North–

    west Company, who gave it its name. In that year he ascended the Churchill

    River to the mouth of Reindeer River, and the latter to Reindeer Lake, pro–

    ceeding from that lake by way of Swan River and connecting portages and

    lakes to Wollaston Lake, which he traversed to its northwest angle, and

    then descended Fond du Lac River (previously called Stone River) to Black

    Lake, and thence to Lake Athaba [ ?] ka.

            In 1881, A. S. Cochrane, of the Geological Survey of Canada, followed

    Thompson's course as far as Reindeer Lake, but left that lake by the river

    now named after him, which rises in Wollaston Lake. From the latter, Coch–

    rane continued along Thompson's course to Lake Athabaska. In 1892,

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0081                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Black Lake

    J. B. Tyrrell and D. B. Dowling, also of the Geological Survey, reached

    Black Lake from the south, by way of the Cree River, and surveyed its

    shores, making a geological examination of its rocks.


    Tyrrell, J. B. Report on the Country Between Athabaska Lake and

    Churchill River . Geological Survey of Canada.

    Annual Report, Vol. VIII, 1896.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0082                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Black River, northeastern Ontario, Dominion of Canada, is a tributary

    of the Abitibi River (q.v.), whose waters flow into the southern end of

    James Bay by way of Moose River (q.v.). Black River rises in a group of

    small lakes on the height of land in latitude 48° 15′ N., longitude 80° W.

    These lakes, which lie at an elevation of about 1,150 feet above sea level,

    are connected by short stretches of rapid streams, which join to form Black

    River. In its initial stages, Black River runs in a northwesterly direction.

    Like most rivers traversing the Canadian Shield, it flows through a shallow

    valley, with many twists and turns. The Ontario Northland Railway (q.v.)

    enters its valley a short distance south of Yorketon Station, where the

    railway follows the west bank of the river. Railway and river run almost

    side by side for about 16 miles, when, near Matheson Station, the railway

    veers slightly to the west, and the river continues to its junction with

    the Abitibi at the big bend between Twin Falls and Iroquois Falls.

            From Matheson to its mouth, Black River is wide and sluggish, with many

    lake-like stretches. While in its upper reaches, it is interrupted by numerous

    rapids and falls, its lower course is uninterrupted. It traverses a country

    well forested with white and black spruce, Banksian pine, balsam, white birch,

    tamarack and poplar. Large areas have been burned over, but much good timber

    still remains. The greater part of the timber, however, is better suited to

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0083                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais. Canada - Black River

    pulpwood than to saw logs, although some stands of merchantable timber are

    also found in the area. Black River has a total length of about 60 miles

    and drains an area of about 1,000 square miles.


    Williamson, O.T.G. The Northland: Ontario. Toronto. The Ryerson Press,


    001      |      Vol_XIII-0084                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            British Columbia, the third largest of the Canadian provinces, lies

    between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, extending north and south

    from the 49th to the 60th parallel of north latitude. The Rocky Mountains

    do not, however, constitute its entire eastern boundary: from the point near

    latitude 53° 45′, where the crest of the mountains cuts the 120th meridian of

    west longitude northward to the 60th parallel, the boundary follows the meri–

    dian. Consequently, in its northern part, British Columbia comprises a

    considerable area that lies east of the mountain barrier. The province has

    a total area of 366,255 square miles, of which approximately 109,000 square

    miles, that is to say, that section north of latitude 57°, can be considered

    as sub - arctic.

            Because the Rocky Mountains run northwest and southeast — while the

    eastern boundary of the sub - arctic section runs due north and south, that

    section of British Columbia contains a larger percentage of territory on

    the eastern side of the mountains than any other part of the province. This,

    in some respects, makes for a greater diversity of terrain and climate. On

    the other hand, since all of this region is bordered by the Alaskan Panhandle,

    it has absolutely no coast line, and only a small part of it is subject to the

    climatic conditions peculiar to the Pacific coast.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0085                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: SubArctic

            Like most of British Columbia, and despite the large relatively level

    section east of the mountains, sub - arctic British Columbia is predominantly

    mountainous. In the first place, unlike most of southern British Columbia,

    both the western and the eastern slopes of the continuation of the Rocky

    Mountains, known as the Mackenzie Mountains, are within its boundaries.

    The highest mountain peaks in Canada, and some of the highest on the con–

    tinent are in that section, including such giants as Mount Fairweather,

    15,287, and Mount Root, 12,860 feet in height.

            It is a region of few lakes, the principal ones being in the northwestern

    corner of the province, where a group of remarkably beautiful lakes lying

    across the boundary between British Columbia and Yukon Territory are drained

    northward into the Yukon River system. This lack of lakes is characteristic

    of the region which, in this respect, differs considerably from other sections

    of the province, especially the one next to the south.

            Although well watered, it is also a region of few rivers. Two principal

    river systems, whose valleys are almost continuous, one flowing into the

    Pacific and the other a tributary of the Mackenzie, which empties into the

    Arctic, drain almost the entire section, except for a narrow strip in the

    northwestern corner.

            Aside from a small area of prairie in the extreme southeastern corner,

    the section is well forested. Along its western boundary, bordering the

    Alaskan Panhandle, red cedar and hemlock are found, with amabilis fir and

    yellow cypress as subsidiaries. Farther east, the predominating trees are

    typical of the sub-arctic regions of Canada elsewhere. The river-valleys

    are lined with poplars, chiefly cottonwoods, while in wet and marshy areas the

    eastern larch, or tamarack, is commonly seen; in the fall its yellow needles

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0086                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Sub-Arctic

    match in color [ ?] the golden hues of the cottonwoods.

            The section has a wide variety of climate. Along the western border

    the high mountains comb the moisture out of the westerly winds, which falls

    as rain or snow upon the western slopes of the mountains. This causes what

    are known on the prairies as Chinooks. As the winds proceed eastward they

    pick up further moisture, which again is precipitated on the western slope

    of the next high range of mountains, repeating the Chinook conditions. The

    result is a succession of longitudinal dry and moist zones, lying one parallel

    to the other.

            During the summer the strong winds blow inland through such gaps as the

    Stikine valley and the passes leading from the head of Lynn Canal, such as

    the Chilkat, the Chilkoot and the White; while, in winter, during most of

    the time, the process is reversed: the winds, as a rule, blow outwards from

    the interior plateaus. The exceptions are when Chinooks occur, as described


            It is a sparsely populated region. According to the 1941 census, the

    population of British Columbia was 817,861, which during the war was con–

    siderably augmented. The bulk of this population, however, resides in the

    extreme southwestern corner of the province, in the cities of Vancouver, New

    Westminster and Victoria, although of late years a number of thriving com–

    munities have grown up in other parts of the southern section of the province.

    The war helped to depopulate rather than increase the population of subarctic

    British Columbia. Only two towns exist within the whole area, and neither

    can boast of more than a fraction of the population it once had. Even the

    Indians, never very numerous, have lost ground. It is doubtful if, including

    the Indians, the population of the whole subarctic section exceeds 1,500


    004      |      Vol_XIII-0087                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

            The first white men in subarctic British Columbia were undoubtedly

    traders of the Hudson's Bay Company who, coming up the Liard from the

    Mackenzie, established Fort Halkett, beyond the western foothills of the

    mountains. In 1834, John McLeod, Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company,

    went up the Liard from Fort Halkett to the mouth of the Dease, which he

    named after a fellow officer of the Company, went up the lake in which the

    river had its source, which he also named, and crossed the divide to the

    Stikine, with the intention of establishing a post there. This attempt failed

    because of the opposition of Russian traders at the mouth of the Stikine, and

    McLeod returned to the Liard. Four years later, another Hudson's Bay Company

    trader, Robert Campbell, succeeded in establishing a post on Dease Lake,

    which, after a winter of hardship, he abandoned. The next visitors were

    prospectors, in the 1860's, and the country was kinder to them than it had

    been to the fur traders.

            Following the failure of the attempt to lay the Atlantic cable in 1858,

    the Western Union or Collins Overland Telegraph Company proposed to build

    a telegraph line overland through British Columbia, Yukon Territory and

    Alaska to Bering Strait, where a short cable would connect with a line to

    be built through Siberia to Europe. The route through British Columbia had

    been located as far north as Telegraph Creek — which thereby gained its name —

    when, in 1867, the cable was successfully laid, and the overland project


            After gold was discovered in the Klondike, the Dominion Government

    built a telegraph line from Ashcroft, on the main line of the Canadian

    Pacific Railway, to the boundary between Yukon Territory and Alaska, and an

    office was opened at Telegraph Creek. The line leaving Hazelton, followed

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0088                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    the Skeena River northward to its eastern bend, then crossed to the headwaters

    of the Nass, thence along the north fork of the Iskut River to the First South

    Fork of the Stikine, and thus to Telegraph Creek. From Telegraph Creek, the

    line ran somewhat irregularly northward to Atlin, and followed the east shore

    of Atlin Lake till it crossed into Yukon Territory. Cabins were built at

    intervals of about fifty miles, at each of which a telegraph operator and a

    lineman were stationed whose chief duty was to keep the line in operation.

            The coast ranges consist mainly of granitoid rocks, which form a belt

    about sixty-five miles wide where they are cut by the Stikine River, and

    probably averaging fifty miles along the western border up to latitude 60°.

    This mountain upthrust is simply a continuation of the great orthographic

    axis extending northward from almost the southern boundary of British Columbia.

            To the eastward of the Coast Ranges, the great interior is mainly under–

    lain by a complex structure of sedimentary rocks of diverse ages, and volcanic

    rocks chiefly of Mesozoic age. These rocks are broken by the Cassiar-Omenica

    mountains which constitute a granitic axis maintaining a general alignment

    northward into Yukon Territory. It is along the contact of this axis that

    most of the placer gold discoveries have been made.

            The Mackenzie Mountains consist chiefly, as do the Rockies, of sedimentary

    rocks of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic age. So far, few minerals of economic value

    have been found in them, although coal is more than a possibility, in view of

    findings farther south.

            The area east of the Mountains is part of the Great Plains region, and is

    underlain by sedimentary rocks, chiefly of Mesozoic age, in which evidence of

    coal and petroleum have been noted.

            About two-thirds of subarctic British Columbia drains into the Arcti [ ?] ,

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0089                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    chiefly through the Liard and its many branches; but a small portion is also

    drained into the Arctic through the Peace by way of the Finlay, which makes

    a great bend north of latitude 57°, although its actual headwaters lie south

    of that latitude. The Liard, however, is the principal channel through which

    most of the water from subarctic British Columbia is drained. It rises in

    Yukon Territory, almost as far west as the 132nd p meridian, and crosses the

    British Columbia - Yukon border between the 128th and 129th meridians, and,

    shortly after, receives from the southwest the Dease River, 180 miles long,

    which rises in the lake of the same name. It follows a generally southeasterly

    course until it dashes against the northern escarpment of the Rocky Mountains,

    which come to an end between the 59th and 60th parallels of north latitude.

    The mountains deflect the river sharply northward until it reaches the low–

    lands beyond the eastern foothills, when it sets an almost northeasterly

    course for its destination in the Mackenzie River. The Liard leaves British

    Columbia at the point where the boundary separating the District of Mackenzie

    and Yukon Territory joins the northern boundary of British Columbia. Just

    before crossing the border, the Liard receives the Fort Nelson, a considerable

    stream, 260 miles in length, coming in from the southeast. The Fort Nelson

    drains a large area in the northeastern corner of the province, and the most

    important agricultural portion of subarctic British Columbia.

            The next most important river in this section is the Stikine, which

    drains an area of 20,300 n square miles in the southwestern portion. It is

    335 miles in length, rises on the western flank of the Cassiar-Omenica moun–

    tains between latitudes 57° and 58°, and, after describing a great arc, breaks

    through the coast ranges to the pacific in latitude 56° 34′. Its final lap

    traverses the coastal strip that is part of the Alaskan Panhandle.

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0090                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

            Next along the coast to the north is the Taku River, which drains a

    belt of territory comprising about 7,600 square miles, lying south of Atlin

    and north of the Stikine watershed. It flows into Taku Inlet, not far from

    the Alaskan city of Juneau. The Chilkat, Tatshenshini and Alsek drain the

    comparatively narrow area between the western limits of the Yukon watershed

    and the Alaskan coastal strip northwest of Lynn Canal, which is flanked by

    the St. Elias Range. The chief of these is the Alsek, 260 miles long, which

    has a drinage area of 11,200 square miles.

            When Charles II of England, in 1670, granted sundry lands to the Hudson's

    Bay Company, the territory now known as British Columbia was not included,

    probably because that freehanded monarch had no idea such a country existed.

    The Hudson's Bay Company, however, when the time came, secured the right to

    trade there and became virtual masters of the region. It was the discovery

    of gold in the sand bars of the lower Fraser River in 1858 that was the be–

    ginning of the end for Hudson's Bay Company rule west of the Rocky Mountains.

    The fate of a few thousand Indians could well be left to the despotic sway of

    a fur-trading organization; but when the country became infested with miners,

    many of whom were from the United States and had quite unorthodox ideas about

    the sanctity of the fur trade, some other arrangement became necessary for the

    control of the country. It was created a Crown colony in 1858 and in 1871

    joined the newly-formed Dominion of Canada.

            The sand bars of the lower Fraser soon became exhausted, leaving thousands

    of eager goldseekers at loose ends. Many of them returned to California from

    whence they had come, but others pushed on up the canons of the Fraser, pros–

    pecting every tributary, sometimes penetrating far afield. On many of these

    streams gold was found, not in great quantity, but enough to keep the prospectors

    008      |      Vol_XIII-0091                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    pushing onward. Eventually, in 1862, among the mountains sixty miles inland

    from the Fraser, on a small stream running into a tributary of the Fraser,

    an enterprising prospector found heavy gold in the gravels of the creek bed.

            Then began one of the three or four great gold booms in history, to be

    compared only to the Klondike rush a generation later. The scene of the

    strike was five hundred miles inland through one of the most rugged regions

    on the continent. But that did not seriously retard gold seekers sustained

    by the knowledge that gold in chunks could be washed from the gravels of

    Williams Creek, Lightning Creek and a rapidly growing list of other creeks

    in what became known as the Cariboo.

            Within a short while a pack trail had been slashed through the wilderness;

    before five years had passed a well-graded wagon road had replaced it, a feat

    which, considering the circumstances, deserves to be ranked with other great

    engineering feats of the century. Within two years more people were in the

    Cariboo than in all the rest of British Columbia. Barkerville, center of

    the field, was the largest town in Canada west of Toronto; and nothing but

    San Francisco could touch it to the southward. Placer camps, however, are

    notoriously short-lived; within a short while after the first strike was

    made, the richest ground, which was usually the shallowest and easiest worked,

    had become largely exhausted. Placer mining has never ceased in Cariboo; the

    total value of gold taken from its creeks since 1862 is estimated at

    $51,000,000, but if it were not for the subsequent discovery of rich gold

    quartz mines, its once booming camps would now be ghost towns, typical of

    all worked-out placer diggings.

            Long before the Cariboo diggings were worked out, however, all the

    available ground had been staked, and, as usual, hundred were disappointed.

    009      |      Vol_XIII-0092                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    Some dejectedly tramped back to the coast; but others pushed on to find gold

    on new creeks farther north. Most of these creeks were on the western flank

    of that great depression known as the Rocky Mountain Trench, which, for 800

    miles, parallels the Rocky Mountains, and in which most of the great rivers

    of British Columbia, including the Peace, have their source. In 1868, gold

    was discovered on the Omenica and Ingenica rivers and on Manson Creek, all

    of which flow into the Finlay, northern tributary of the Peace.

            As before, the available ground was not enough to go round, and some

    again ranged farther inland, panning the sand bars on streams yet unnamed,

    getting some gold here and there, but never succeeding in striking anything

    to compare with the fabulous Cariboo. Others entered the interior valleys

    by way of the coast, up the Stikine River; while still others came in from

    the Mackenzie valley, up the Liard and its tributaries.

            The first gold discovered in what later became known as Cassiar District

    was, in fact, discovered before gold had been found in the Cariboo, when two

    prospectors, Choquette and Carpenter, first panned gold dust out of the sand

    bars of the Stikine River. By the end of that year a considerable number of

    men were working there. The section of the river in which the pay was rich

    enough to justify working was short, and was soon worked out, although some

    prospectors kept on for a number of years after the height of the boom.

    Placer camps nearly all follow the same life-cycle. As a rule, the coarsest

    gold is found in that part of the stream nearest its headwaters, but this

    does not always apply. In most cases, however, the richest ground, consider–

    ing both quantity and coarseness, is fairly shallow, requiring very little

    digging or excavating to reach the bedrock, upon which most of the gold is

    usually found. Although the greatest concentration is generally on bedrock,

    010      |      Vol_XIII-0093                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    some gold may be distributed throughout the entire gravel bed, or at least

    in a certain portion of the lower gravels.

            If the gravel bed, from surface to bedrock, is shallow, the prospector

    may work it by sluicing, in which case he will construct sluice boxes, or

    flumes, about three feet wide and eighteen inches deep, of one or one-and-

    a-half inch lumber, the bottom of which will be paved with wooden blocks to

    prevent the bottom from wearing out. Each sluice box may be from twelve to

    sixteen feet long, added end to end as the ground ahead is washed away.

    Sufficient water almost to come to the top of the sluice boxes is now diverted

    to run through, and gravel is thus washed through with the water. In addition,

    gravel is shoveled into the boxes from the sides, depending upon how many

    men are engaged in the operation. Such gold as there is in the gravel, no

    matter how fine it may be, will lodge in the interstices between the paving

    blocks and will rarely be found to have moved farther down the flume than a

    few feet from where it entered.

            Where the gravel is too deep and where most of the gold lies on or near

    the bedrock, such ground can best be worked by sinking a shaft to bedrock and

    then taking out the gold-bearing gravel by means of a drive or tunnel driven

    upstream along the gutter of the channel. The gravel is hoisted to the

    surface by a windlass and there run through sluice boxes as described above.

    When ground is worked in this manner, it will be necessary to pump the water

    that will otherwise accumulate in the workings. In such case, pumps may be

    of local construction and operated by water wheels. Shafts and drives must

    be timbered to prevent caving, all of which adds to the expense and labor

    of the operation, and, of course, requiring richer ground.

            Sometimes, where the extent of gravel is large and the gold widely dis-

    011      |      Vol_XIII-0094                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdas: British Columbia: Subarctic

    tributed through it, the mine is worked by hydraulic method. In this

    process, water is brought by ditch to a point near the proposed workings

    at a level that will allow of the maximum pressure. The water is then fed

    through a penstock into an iron pipeline, ranging in size from four to six

    inches to two or three feet in diameter, depending upon the scale of the

    operation. At the end of the pipeline, a long nozzle, or monitor, is

    connected by a swivel joint. This monitor compresses the water into a tight,

    compact stream, which, according to the pressure, will tear down and wash

    away a bank of gravel. From then on the process is somewhat like sluicing,

    except that much more gravel is handled.

            The hydraulic process, like the use of dredges, usually comes with a

    later stage in the life of a mining camp. At present these methods are

    almost the only ones employed in Cariboo and the Klondike; but they were not

    used to any great extent in Cassiar. The mining methods used there were

    mostly confined to sluicing, shoveling in, and drifting. When the white man

    finds the going too unprofitable for him, he is usually succeeded by Chinese,

    who work over ground already mined, or undertake new operations in ground not

    considered rich enough to tempt the white man.

            Sometimes their operations are conducted on such a small scale that all

    the gravel they handle is washed in a rocker, a contrivance somewhat like a

    baby's rocker'cradle. Its principal feature is a wooden riffle-frame resemb–

    ling a washboard, which is placed in an inclined position within the rocker.

    Over this riffle-frame a piece of blanket is spread. Water is brought from a

    nearby stream in a small flume or pipe which empties into the rocker where it

    can spill over the blanketed riffle-frame. Gravel is then poured onto the

    riffle-frame so that, as the contrivance is rocked from side to side, the gravel,

    012      |      Vol_XIII-0095                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: British Columbia: Subarctic

    with the aid of the running water, moves down the incline, leaving the

    gold in the meshes of the blanket. At intervals the blanket is replaced

    by another and the one removed is then burned and its ashes panned to

    secure the gold.

            Ca A ssiar's second gold strike was in 1872, when Henri Thibert, a French–

    Canadian, and his partner, McCulloch, a Scotsman, advancing from the MacKen–

    zie and prospecting up the Liard and Dease rivers, reached Dease Lake.

    Hearing that miners were still working on the Stikine, they crossed the

    height of land and for a time tried their luck on that river, but without

    much success. On their way back to the Liard, the following spring, they

    discovered gold on a creek flowing into the western side of Dease Lake, near

    its northern end, which they called Thibert Creek. Other prospectors joined

    them, and soon gold was discovered on Dease Creek, another stream flowing

    into the west side of Dease Lake, a few miles south of Tibert Creek. At the

    mouth of Dease Creek, a small settlement grew up called Laketon. On several

    tributaries of Dease River, gold was also discovered, and one of these McDame

    Creek, was for a time relatively rich. In fact, to McDame Creek goes the

    record for the largest all-gold nugget ever produced in British Columbia,

    when in 1877 a lump of gold was taken out which weighed 72 ounces and was

    valued at $1,300.

            While no figures are obtainable showing actual production in Cassiar

    District during the period of greatest activity — because it is easy for

    gold in the form of nuggests and dust to be taken out of the country without

    any record being kept — the British Columbia Department of Mines estimates

    that the total production in 1874 was about $1,000,000, which may be somewhat

    high. The estimate for the following year is $830,000 which, by 1876, had

    013      |      Vol_XIII-0096                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    dropped to $556,474. Value of production dropped by gradual degrees until

    by 1885 the annual output of the whole region was estimated at only slightly

    more than $50,000. Some gold still comes g from Cassiar, but the amount is

    negligible, and total production to date since 1873 is placed at about


            On the other hand, the geological structure of the country — and experi–

    ence in Cariboo — suggests that profitable lode mines might be looked for

    in the district, but so far very little systematic prospecting for minerals

    has been done. Lode mining lacks the attraction for prospectors that placer

    mining holds. In most cases the placer miner needs only a few sluice boxes

    for which he himself can saw the lumber from timber growing nearby. Within

    a short time he can get his hands on the gold itself; and with it he can buy

    whatever further equipment he needs. In a word, he is independent of anyone


            The lode miner, on the other hand, after locating a promising deposit,

    must interest a broker or capitalist to secure the money necessary for pros–

    pecting at depth by means of diamond drilling, or geophysical examination,

    either of which requires a considerable amount of money. Quite often, the

    prospector fails to interest a broker or capitalist; accustomed to the hills,

    he does not often know the ways of cities. It may be that the scene of his

    discovery is too remote to attract capital, or perhaps the prospect of

    eventual success does not appear sufficiently alluring to tempt the investor.

    Supposing, however, that the prospector does succeed in interesting someone

    with money, and assuming that further exploitation confirms the prospector's

    belief that he has a possible mine, there is still the question of transpor–

    tation and the availability of an adequate labor supply. Many a prospector

    with a good mine has been compelled to wait indefinitely till the general

    014      |      Vol_XIII-0097                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    advancement of the country has made possible the development of his property.

    Such, at present, is the situation in Cassiar.

            One other part of the section we are discussing has passed through a

    mining boom and is now awaiting the general development of the country to

    make t possible the adequate exploitation of its lode mines, although it

    has made greater progress in that regard than Cassiar. In 1898, when the

    Klondike boom was at its height, placer gold was discovered in the Atlin

    district, in the northwestern corner of the province, within less than fifty

    miles of the British Columbia-Yukon boundary.

            The first gold was discovered by Fritz Miller and his companions, who

    staked Discovery Claim on Pine Creek, a small stream, eleven miles long,

    which flows into Atlin Lake, about halfway up its east shore. Since nearly

    all the other productive creeks flowed into Pine Creek, it was the center of

    the Atlin diggings, an area roughly about fifteen miles north and south, by

    twenty miles east and west. The gold, fairly coarse and described as about

    the size of flax seed, was found in layers of gravel on or near the bedrock.

    Some of it was much heavier than that mentioned above. One nugget, found on

    Spruce Creek, composed partly of quartz, weighed 85 ounces, valued at $800;

    while another, found on Birch Creek, weighed 73 ounces and was valued at

    $1,200. Some gold was obtained from a few creeks outside the Pine Creek

    radius, but the productive area was not extensive, and eventually became

    worked out, as in other placer camps. The total production of the Atlin

    placer diggings to date is estimated at about $12,000,000.

            Atlin City, located on the eastern shore of Atlin Lake, about halfway

    up the lake, a mile north of the mouth of Pine Creek, was the metropolis of

    the gold fields. During the first year or two after the strike there were

    015      |      Vol_XIII-0098                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    between 1,500 and 2,000 men working on the various creeks and prospecting

    nearby. During its heyday, Atlin was a booming community, but for a long

    time now it has settled down to patient waiting for what the future holds.

    And that future seems reasonably certain. Unlike Cassiar, many promising

    mineral properties have already been discovered, and while few of them have

    yet been developed to any extent, there is much to show that when transpor–

    tation and markets are available, Atlin will take its place as one of the

    principal mining areas of the province.

            In one sense, however, Atlin is not as inaccessible as might appear.

    It is only 140 miles away from Skagway, Alaska, on tidewater at the head

    of Lynn Canal with which it is connected partly by rail and partly by water;

    but the barrier of an international boundary, while theoretically not an

    obstacle, nevertheless does act as a bar to easy commercial intercourse.

    The hope of the Atlin country, as with every other part of the section of

    the province being treated here, lies in the joint development of the

    northern part of the province and Yukon Territory in conjunction with that

    of regions to the south and to the east. Extensions of the Alaska Highway

    to tap the Stikine and Atlin regions would seem to be the logical develop–

    ments of the near future, although this is not to be considered as a propheay!

            Except for pulpwood in a great many places throughout the section, there

    is little merchantable timber concentrated in such a manner as to constitute

    an export lumber industry, but almost everywhere there is more than enough

    timber to provide for whatever local needs may reasonably be expected for

    any conceivable length of time. The area about Atlin is perhaps typical of

    much of the territory west of the Mackenzie Mountains, and east of the Coast

    Ranges. There the valleys are generally well forested, the timber often

    016      |      Vol_XIII-0099                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    extending up the slopes of hills or mountains to a height of from 1,500 to

    2,000 feet above the level of the valley. The chief species are white

    spruce (Picea alba), black spruce (Picea nigra), Balsam fir (Populus tremul–

    oides), balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera), willows, dwarf birch (Betula

    glandulosa) and a species of alder.

            Black and white spruce, about equally prominent, are the most abundant

    and often are found in valley bottoms running from two to three feet on the

    stump. Balsam fir usually climbs higher up the slopes than most other

    species and even when quite near the timber line sometimes measures from

    twelve to eighteen inches on the stump. The black pine is less plentiful,

    and its dimensions do not usually reach the size of either the spruces or

    the balsam fir.

            In the Stikine valley, east of the Coast Ranges, where the climate is

    of the "dry belt" variety, the principal trees are black pine and aspen

    poplar, with occasionally white birch along the benches and lower slopes

    of the mountains; while in the valley-bottoms are alder and willow.

            Farther east, along the Dease and Liard, to these are added the

    larch, or tamarac (Larix Americana). Farther east still, beyond the moun–

    tains, in the region drained by the Fort Nelson River, where considerable

    muskeg exists, the trees are poplar, tamarack and black pine. Some parts

    of this region are quite heavily timbered, but the timber is of a size

    only suited for pulpwood. Generally, along the river bottoms, the chief

    trees are cottonwoods, often reaching large size. It is these that gave

    the Liard its name.

            As might be expected when such a vast extent of territory is being

    considered, the climate varies considerably with the location, but certain

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    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    characteristics are to be expected. In the first place, since none of it

    touches the sea, the climate over the greater part of the area is of the

    continental type, and, because of the high latitudes, with long days in

    summer and correspondingly short days in winter. Summer temperatures run

    high, but without humidity; while winter temperatures at times drop extremely

    low. Over most of the region, the precipitation is light, requiring in some

    places irrigation for the growing of crops. Only on the western slopes of

    the mountains is the precipitation more than average. The dryest territory,

    on the other hand, is that which lies on the eastern side of the Coast Ranges;

    and this condition is reproduced, although to a lesser degree, in the lee of

    the Cassiar-Omenica mountains. In the Atlin district and along the Stikine,

    placer mining operations are usually able to get underway realy in May and

    continue (if water is available) till the first of November.

            Except in part of the plains area, agriculture, as such, does not exist.

    In most of the valleys, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and cabbage can be grown

    without much difficulty. In some places coarse grains will ripen, and in

    occasional spots even wheat. At Telegraph Creek and in its vicinity on the

    Stikine, east of the Coast Ranges, between latitudes 57° and 58°, wheat,

    barley, oats, potatoes, and other vegetables, have been grown since the

    early mining days, but irrigation is necessary. On the coastward side of

    the mountains, however, most of these crops cannot be grown successfully. In

    the triangle, east of the Mackenzie Mountains, particularly in its southern

    part, there are considerable areas which, after being cleared, would be

    suited to agriculture; and some of this area is already being farmed. There

    are few places, outside of this same area, where wild hay can be cut, and

    not many where any considerable quantity of hay could be cultivated. For

    018      |      Vol_XIII-0101                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    this reason, although there are some spots in the sheltered valleys east

    of the mountain ranges where horses and cattle could be wintered out,

    stock raising is not possible. A year of exceptional snow, with no reserve

    of hay, would be fatal.

            The whole section produces great quantities of wild berries, chief of

    which are blueberries, saskatoons, raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries,

    bearberries, cranberries, both high and low bush, and several varieties of

    wild cherries.

            The most profitable commodity which the section now produces is undoubtedly

    fur, as has been the case since the earliest days. The marten is perhaps the

    most common of the fur-bearing animals, and next the mink and lynx, but their

    incidence varies with the locality. It is generally a good area for foxes,

    cross, black, silver and red. Wolverines and weasels are also plentiful. At

    one time the beaver was the principal fur animal, but its mode of living rendered

    it too easy a prey to the hunter and, while the country in places still abounds

    in beaver, the number caught each year has dropped considerably from its one-

    time high level. Wolves are to be found all over, but they are not specially


            Perhaps the most common game animal is the moose, which is found prac–

    tically everywhere from east of the Coast Ranges to east of the Mackenzie

    Mountains. It and the caribou, which is almost as ubiquitous, provides the

    bulk of the food requirements of the Indians. Mountain goats and mountain

    sheep (both Ovis dalli and Ovis Fanninii) are to be found on all the mountain

    ranges, including the Coast Ranges and the Mackenzie Mountains, but they do not

    contribute much toward providing the natives with food. The small black-tailed

    deer (Cariacus Columbianus) is occasionally seen in some of the valleys of the

    019      |      Vol_XIII-0102                                                                                                                  
    EG-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    Coast Ranges, but never to the eastward of them. Black, brown and grizzly

    bears are common throughout.

            Next to commercial trapping, the area seems to offer possibilities for

    fur farming; but like many other industries of the future, it must await

    better transportation facilities.

            In view of the widespread incidence of caribou, large parts of the

    section would appear to be ideally suited for reindeer. But this is not an

    industry that can spring up spontaneously; and unless the initiative is

    taken at the governmental level it is not likely ever to become established,

    no matter how logical it may seem to be.

            At present, except for the Alaska Highway, cutting across the northeast–

    ern portion of the section; the Stikine River, navigable for river steamers

    as far as Telegraph Creek, 138 miles from the coast; and access to the far

    northwestern corner from Skagway or Haines, Alaska, the section is almost

    inaccessible. It is a country of magnificent scenery, and — as soon as

    there is a way for them to get into the country — should attract its share

    of tourists. The line of airports paralleling the Alaska Highway, known as

    the Northwest Staging Route, will ultimately offer an opportunity for tourists

    to reach that part of the country through which it runs; and it would not

    be a difficult matter to open up other areas with the aid of additional airports;

    but up to the time of writing there is no indication that either the British

    Columbia or the Federal Government has any such idea in mind.

            The British Columbia Government owns a railway which for thirty years has

    ended at Quesnal, on the 53rd parallel, in Cariboo District. During World War II,

    it was decided to extend the road to Alaska. Plans to that end had been adopted

    when the Japanese were driven from the Aleutians and the necessity for such a

    020      |      Vol_XIII-0103                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    railway become much less urgent. Since then, the British Columbia Government

    has announced its intention to extend the railway through Pine Pass to the

    Peaca River area east of the Rocky Mountains. Many persons in Alaska and

    the United States who are interested in Alaskan affairs would like to see an

    extension of this line from the nearest point west of the Rockies through to

    Alaska. If they get their wish, such an extension would traverse the section

    of British Columbia with which we are here concerned, and thus provide a means

    for tourists and others to enter the country. If and when this occurs, the

    big-game hunter will find a country that for some time to come will continue

    to be the resort of the mountain sheep and goat and the grizzly bear, all of

    which are bagged only by hunters equipped with patience and skill. Further–

    more, the country is a fisherman's paradise.

            For the mountain climber, the territory offers climbs to suit every

    taste, from peaks that an amateur might attempt with impunity, to some of

    the most formidable to be found anywhere. At present, none within the section

    is sufficiently accessible to tempt amny climbers; but as peaks more easily

    reached succumb to the skill and endurance of alpinists, these giant northern

    British Columbia peaks will undoubtedly find challengers.

            It is conceivable that some day the remarkable group of lakes, some of

    them interconnected, in the northwestern corner of the province will become

    one of the choice playgrounds of North America. While there are a number of

    smaller lakes in the immediate district, three larger ones constitute the

    chief features of this group. Tagish Lake, comprising 139 square miles,

    lying like a strip of cobalt between lofty mountains, spread out into many arms

    and inlets, is the westernmost. It is connected with the Yukon River system,

    which means that with but one three and a half mile interruption north of

    021      |      Vol_XIII-0104                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    White Horse, it is at the head of a navigable waterway 2,500 miles long,

    culminating in Bering Sea. Next on the east, and connected with Lake Tagih

    by a river two and a half miles long, is Atlin Lake, 60 miles in length and

    342 square miles in area, a gem of rare beauty lying at the feet of its

    bordering mountains; and, finally, lying farther east, Lake Teslin, 246

    square miles in extent. All three are cut by the British Columbia — Yukon

    boundary. Teslin is divided exactly evenly, but Atlin and Tagish are both

    mostly in British Columbia.

            Some of the great glaciers in North America are to be found in this

    section of British Columbia, chiefly in the valleys of the Coast Ranges,

    within easy reach of both Telegraph Creek and Atlin, and they will doubtless

    one day attract their share of enthusiasts.

            Except for an occasional trading post, and now the airports along the

    Northwest Staging Route, there are only two places that can be considered as

    communities. The first of these, Telegraph Creek, has been established since

    the early 60's of last century. It has gone through various vicissitudes,

    but its most exciting period was undoubtedly during the gold mining era on

    the Stikine River, when it was in the middle of the gold-bearing stretch of

    the river. According to the 1941 census, its total population, including

    the adjacent district, was only 218 persons, of whom only 50 were in the town.

            The other community of consequence is Atlin. It, too, as described

    above, has seen its days of excitement and once was a busy and thriving

    town. Although, in 1947, its population consisted of only 518 persons, it

    is still the metropolis for a large extent of country. It is a well-built,

    modern community, despite its remoteness from outside contacts; and since

    its hopes for the future are founded on lode mining, rather than the effemeral

    022      |      Vol_XIII-0105                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    glories of placer mining, its future should be reasonably well assured.

            The native peoples who inhabit subarctic British Columbia belong to

    the Athapaskan or Dene tribe, made up of two principal groups, the Tahltan,

    who live along and north of the Stikine River, and the Kaska, who live far–

    ther east. The Tahltans' territory adjoins on the south that of the Tshim–

    shian Indians, who live in the area comprised by the Nass and Skeena water–

    sheds. Likewise, the Kaskas adjoin the territory of the Sekanis, who live

    immediately to the south of them.

            Probably because of their isolation, these Indians are more primitive

    than most others in British Columbia. Those living near the coast are cut

    off from the sea by the high mountains of the Coast Ranges; few deep inden–

    tations, such as characterize the coast farther south, are to be found there;

    and the rivers are also few with drainage areas that do not extend very far

    from the coast.

            Physically, these people are inferior to most others in the province.

    Tahltan men attain a maximum stature of about five feet, seven and a half

    inches, and are small of bone. The Kaskas are even smaller people, and are

    described as timid, under-sized and of poor physique. Dawson and McConnell,

    of the Geological Survey of Canada, traveling through their territory in

    1887, found them lazy and untrustworthy.

            They count kinship through the mother; the father is not even considered

    a blood relative. They are divided into two castes, the Birds and the Bears;

    a man who is a Bird must marry a Bear; but his children belong to the Birds,

    although his mother's people inherit his effects.

            Before the whites arrived, polygamy was practised, but not many had more

    023      |      Vol_XIII-0106                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    than one wife. Divorce was easy, although not particularly common. A

    killing must be avenged by the relativesofthe person who was killed.

    They had no particular religion, but, like many other Indians, were bound

    pretty rigorously by the edicts of their medicine men.

            Unlike the Haidas and other coast Indians, these interior Indians

    had developed very little art. They did not have totem poles like their

    neighbors along the coast farther to the south. Occasionally, one of them

    might make a mask, obviously copied from their neighbors. They made birch

    bark baskets, which were used for cooking pots before the advent of trade

    goods; and they wove blankets and rugs from the hair of the mountain goat,

    which they decorated with bright colors.

            Since there was no agriculture, they lived almost entirely by hunting

    and fishing. Their habitat was one of the best game countries on the con–

    tinent; add the streams and lakes were well stocked with fish, especially

    the rivers flowing into the Pacific where each season salmon came up from

    the sea to spawn.

            Until they became possessed of metal tools, their canoes were made of

    spruce bark, although some living nearer the eastern border of the section

    learned to make canoes of birch bark. After tools were secured, they made

    dugouts out of cottonwood logs, burning and cutting out the wood. The

    gunwales were flared by wedges inserted across the top, the length being

    increased as the canoe spread, the final set remaining as thwarts.

            Like other Indians farther south, they used sweat houses. These were

    usually made of willow or other pliable rods pushed into the ground at each

    end and fastened across each other with withes to form a hemispherical structure,

    which was then covered with skins. Into a hole in the ground just inside the

    024      |      Vol_XIII-0107                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    entrance red-hot stones were cast, upon which water was then thrown. When

    the bathers were soaked with sweat, they would often rush out and plunge

    into a pool of cold water. These steam baths were not always indulged in

    for remedial or hygienic purposes; more often they had a much deeper meaning.

    In some cases they were intended to invoke the good offices of spirits on

    behalf of a hunting or trapping expedition; in others, the bath was an

    expression of atonement for some transgression against another person or

    for some breach of a tribal custom.

            Never very numerous, the natives have dwindled since the first contact

    with the white man; and while, even before that, they seemed to have degene–

    rated to a point far lower then most of the Indians of Canada, contact with

    whites has not tended to improve them, any more than it has with other native


            While this section cannot compare with the one next to the south in

    variety of resources, such as wide and fertile valleys, broad rolling plains

    and foothills and a lake-studded landscape, nevertheless this northern section

    has its points. Its potential mineral resources are probably greater; while,

    in the area lying to the east of the Mackenzie Mountains the possibilities

    for coal and petroleum are probably as great as those in the corresponding

    area farther south.

            Since, from present indications, it would seem that its future economy

    is likely to be centered about the production of minerals and subsidiary

    industries associated therewith, the frequent rapids and waterfalls which

    interrupt practically every stream will make available an adequate supply

    of power whenever it shall be required.

            Consequently, despite the fact that it is shut off from the sea; that

    025      |      Vol_XIII-0108                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: British Columbia: Subarctic

    that it consists mainly of a succession of mountain masses; and that it

    possesses relatively few lakes, it can be said that this subarctic section

    of British Columbia, at present practically unpopulated, could some day

    provide homes and the means of livelihood for many hundreds of thousands

    of people. But before that is possible, it will need to be consolidated

    with the regions adjoining, south, north and east of it, so that it may

    develop, not as an isolated outpost, but as an integral part of a larger,

    self-contained entity.


            Bulletin No. 21, British Columbia Department of Mines, Victoria, B.C., 1946.

            George M. Dawson. Report on an Exploration in the Yukon District, N.W.T.

    and adjacent Northern Portion of British Columbia, 1887,

    Geological Survey of Canada, 1898.

            Summary Report on the Operations of the Geological Survey

    for the Year 1899, by the Director, 1900.

            Summary Report on the Geological Survey Branch of the

    Department of Mines for the Calendar Year 1910, Ottawa,


            Canada Year Book, 1946.

            Alice Ravenhill. The Native Tribes of British Columbia, 1938.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0109                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The British Mountains, northwestern Canada, are the eastern extension

    of the mountains of northern Alaska known as the Brooks Range. Commencing

    at about latitude 68° 20′ N., longitude 138° 50′ W., they continue north–

    westward for about 80 miles to the boundary between Alaska and Yukon Terri–

    tories, where they attain their maximum width of about 45 miles. The area

    in Canada is triangular in shape, with the apex of the triangle toward the


            The British Mountains are said to consist chiefly of sedimentary rocks,

    and are probably similar in structure to the Richardson (q.v.) and Mackenzie

    Mountains (q.v.), but they differ in that they also contain some intrusive

    rocks. They are flanked on the north, east, and southeast by the Arctic

    Plateau, and on the south by the Porcupine Plateau. The British Mountains

    attain their highest elevations near the International Boundary, where they

    reach heights of about 6,000 feet. Most of their ridges trend nortwestward,

    with the general line of the mountains, but those at the southeast bend next

    southward as though to parallel the ridges of the Richardson Mountains. The

    Firth River has cut a wide valley through the British Mountains from southwest

    to northeast, on its way to the Arctic Ocean. Several small rivers, of which

    the Babbage is the chief, have their rise in the British Mountains and flow into

    the Arctic Ocean; while on the southwestern side of the watershed, the Old Crow

    River, which flows into the Porcupine River (q.v.), is the principal stream.


    Bostock, H.S. Physiography of the Canadian Corcillera, With Special Reference

    to the Area North of the Fifty-fifth Parallel
    ; Geological

    Survey of Canada, Memoir No. 247, 1948.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0110                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Broadback River, in northwestern Quebee province, Dominion of Canada,

    drains an area lying between the watersheds of the Rupert River (on the

    north) and the Nottaway River (on the south), and flows in to the same

    estuary in the southwestern angle of James Bay as do the two above-mentioned

    rivers. Its source is in Asinika Lake, a sprawling complex of arms and bays,

    the northern shores of which are in latitude 50° 30′ N., its eastern portion

    cut by longitude 75° W. Issuing from the northwest angle of Asinika Lake,

    the Broadback flows irregularly westerly and northerly, receiving a number

    of tributaries, chief of which drains a string of connected lakes south of

    its general course, consisting of Lady Beatrix Lake, an irregular aggrega–

    tion of bays and arms, which connects by a short, rapid-filling stream with

    Kenoniska Lake, long and narrow, which empties into the Broadback through

    several outlets. Beyond the Kenonisk [ ?] outlets, the Broadback flows westward

    for 25 miles into the eastern side of Lake Evans, the largest lake in its

    course, like all others in the region, composed of long, narrow bays and

    arms. It has a length in its longest part of 30 miles and a maximum width

    of 18 miles. The Broadback leaves Lake Evans at its northwestern extremity,

    flowing shortly into Sandy Lake, which has a length of about nine miles.

    From the outlet of the latter, the river flows slightly north of west to its

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0111                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Broadback River

    mouth, a distance of about 100 miles, through a well-defined valley. No

    figures are available concerning its total length, but the Canada Year

    Book gives its drainage area as 9,800 square miles.

            It traverses a country underlain by Pre-Cambrian rocks in which hills

    rise in places from 400 to 800 feet above the general level, but mainly the

    country consists of an elevated plain, dropping by a series of terraces

    gradually to the level of James Bay, In cutting its channel from one level

    to the next, it flows over many falls and cataracts in the process. The

    country is in general heavily timbered with white and black spruce, poplars,

    tamarack and Jack pine, suitable mainly for pulp, but some stands of merchant–

    able timber are to be found here and there.

            While no important mineral occurrences have yet been discovered along

    its course, the geological structure is favorable for the deposition of gold,

    copper and other valuable ores.


    Geological Survey of Canada. Various reports and maps.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0112                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Buffalo River, in southern Mackenzie District, northwestern Canada,

    flows into the western end of Great Slave Lake, about midway between the

    mouths of Hay and Little Buffalo rivers. It rises in the maze of small

    lakes and muskegs bordering the foothills of the Caribou Mountains,

    slightly south of latitude 60° N., and runs in a generally northwesterly

    direction to Buffalo Lake, 35 miles long by about 10 at its widest. Issuing

    again from the northeastern angle of Buffalo Lake, Buffalo River flows mainly

    northeasterly to Great Slave Lake, a distance of 75 miles. Its drainage area

    is limited because it is closely paralleled on the west by Hay River and on

    the east by the Little Buffalo River, with whose headwaters it interlocks.

    The proximity of the Caribou Mountains on the south is also a limiting factor.

            Buffalo river and lake were explored and mapped in 1917 by Dr. A. E.

    Cameron of the Geological Survey of Canada; and since it is not on any

    traffic route, it has not been very much traveled in the interval. Considerable

    sections of the surrounding country have agricultural possibilities, but since

    most of it is in the Wood Buffalo Park, there is not mcuh likelihood that it

    will be available for settlement, even after much more desirable sections,

    such as the Hay River Valley, have been occupied. Its underlying geological

    formations are such as might be favorable for petroleum.


    Cameron, A.E. Summary Report . Geological Survey of Canada, 1917.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0113                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Burntwood River rises in Burntwood Brutnwood Lake and flows in a generally

    easterly direction to Split Lake, an expansion of the Nelson River, about

    250 miles in length. Burntwood Lake is a sprawling expanse of bays and

    inlets in latitude 56° 30′ N. and longitude 100° 15′ W., a short distance

    south of the height of land which divides the Saskatchewan-Nelson watershed

    from that of the Churchill. A shallow, rapid stream in its upper reaches,

    it is broken by many rapids; and although winding about considerably, it

    maintains a generally northeasterly course until it empties into Threepoint

    Lake, which in its main section, is about four miles each way, with a long,

    narrow arm hanging from its northeast corner. From the lower extremity of

    this arm, the river again continues, now on a southeastward course. In the

    twenty miles between Threepoint Lake and Wuskwatin Lake, only one rapid is


            The latter lake, eight miles long by four wide, with a long bay-like

    extension running off to the west from its southern end, abounds in whitefish

    and small sturgeon. It is also the center of a considerable area of clay land

    well suited to agriculture. Below the lake are the Wuskwatin Falls; and a

    few miles beyond, the river widens into Opegano Lake. Shortly below are

    the Kepuche Falls, in a stretch of river in which the current is strong.

            The next ten miles to Manazo Falls consists of a long, narrow lake-like

    expanse, bordered by rocky walls. At Mazano Falls, the river tumbles over a

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0114                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Burntwood River

    ledge of rock; and then, for the next twenty-eight miles the river continues

    through another narrow, rock-bound stretch, from half a mile to a mile in

    width, more like-like than suggestive of a river.

            From immediately below the Kepuche Falls, the river has followed a generally

    northeasterly course, which direction it continues to its mouth, except that,

    about eight miles from its destination it makes an abrupt turn, almost at

    right angles, and for two miles runs directly westward. At the point of

    this westward turn, the Odei River flows in from the west, after having run

    a parallel course with the Burntwood for a considerable distance, at one

    point coming to within a mile, and separated by a ridge of rock from a hun–

    dred to a hundred and fifty feet high.

            The Burntwood flows generally through a forested country, but one that

    has been repeatedly burned over, and in which very little timber of commercial

    grade can now be found. It is a country if low elevation; and although it is

    generally underlain by Pre-Cambrian rocks, it is thickly covered by a clay

    deposit left by the ancient glacial lake that once occupied a large section

    of what is now northwestern Manitoba.


            McInnes, William. Geological Survey of Canada, Summary Report , 1906.

            ----. Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir No. 30, 1913.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0115                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography – Canada

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Burwash Landing is situated near the north end of Kluane Lake about

    186 miles west of Whitehorse. It is served by the Alaska Highway and is

    also on the route of air lines operating from Whitehorse to Fairbanks.

    The settlement contains a trading post and an emergency landing field,

    and is an outfitting centre for big game hunting parties. Kluane Lake,

    situated in southwestern Yukon, is one of the largest and most beautiful

    bodies of water in the Territory. The lake lies northeast of the St. Elias

    Mountains, whose snowy summits and glistening glaciers may be seen from

    points along the Alaska Highway. Discoveries of gold on a number of

    streams entering the lake caused a small gold rush in 1903-04. There

    are small Indian settlements at Kluane, situated at the southeastern end

    of the lake, and at Burwash Landing.


    From: Nor' West Miner

    March, April 1950

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0116                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Camsell River, in MacKenzie District, northwestern Canada, drains a

    considerable area south of Great Bear Lake, flowing into the latter. It

    rises in Sarah Lake, in latitude 63° 40′ N., longitude 117° 10′ W., and

    flows through a series of lakes connected by short stretches of river in

    a direction slightly west of north. In its course, the extent of lake,

    which is estimated at approximately 6,000 square miles, far exceeds the

    amount of river (on the basis of lineal measurement), but the Camsell River

    holds a common name throughout the whole distance, even though the river

    sections in most cases are extremely short.

            Sarah Lake lies at an elevation of 760 feet above sea level and is

    about eight miles long, lying in a north-south direction. Its outlet is

    from a bay at its northeastern angle, the river passing over a succession

    of rapids just below the lake, soon flowing into Faber Lake, which is only

    seven feet lower than Sarah Lake. It is about 20 miles long, by about 10

    miles wide, and has an area of 163 square miles. A short stretch of river

    and then Rae Lake expands, island-studded and spreading into innumerable

    bays and inlets, the river entering at the extreme southern end. From Rae

    Lake, Camsell River drops into Lac Ste Croix. These lakes, typical of their

    kind in the Canadian Shield, with long bays extending in all directions from

    a narrow central — if such a term can be used — section, are hard to describe

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0117                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Camsell River

    since it is so hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. The

    Camsell River, so-called, after flowing through the lakes enumerated and

    several others, reaches Hardisty Lake, at an elevation of 699 feet, having

    made a descent of 61 feet from its source in Sarah Lake in an airline dis–

    tance of approximately 55 miles. The principal lake in this series is

    Hottah Lake, about 40 miles long by about 10 in width, with an area of 377

    square miles. It is a magnificent sheet of clear water, studded with high

    rocky islands, but it does not spread in all directions like most of the

    lakes in this series. Tapering to a point at its southern end, it is

    broadest at its northern extremity. The Camsell River flows in at the

    southern end and flows out at the eastern side about five miles south of

    the northern end. After a short rapid course the river expands into Grou–

    ard Lake, about 16 miles in length by about three miles wide and spreading

    into a number of arms, rendering it difficult to discover the outlet. Clut

    Lake, six miles long, with a large island in its center, comes next, after

    which the river, now flowing swiftly, drops over a steep rapid, 10 feet high —

    the first stage in the drop to the level of Great Bear Lake. Thred miles

    farther northwest, the river cascades for almost a quarter of a mile over

    a series of syenite rocks, known as White Eagle Falls, for a total drop of

    54 feet, where it is estimated that hydro-electric power of 22,000 horse–

    power could be generated.

            Two more drops, of five and four feet, respectively, occur in the short

    stretch of river leading to Rainy Lake, six miles long, through which the

    river now passes, and half a mile below enters Conjuror Bay, the southern–

    most extremity of McTavish Arm of Great Bear Lake. At its mouth, the Camsell

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0118                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Camsell River

    River has a width of about 75 yards.

            Camsell River was first explored in 1900 by Dr. J. Mackintosh Bell of

    the Geological Survey of Canada, who was accompanied by Charles Camsell,

    who was later to become a noted geologist and was from 1920 till his re–

    tirement in 1946 Dep u ty Minister of Mines for Canada. Bell named the river

    after his young assistant. Since then various parties of the Geological

    Survey of Canada and prospectors for various mining companies have been over

    the ground, but it is still largely a terra incognita . The area drained by

    the river in underlain entirely by Pre-Cambrian rocks, and since such rocks

    elsewhere contain minerals of economic importance, it is more than likely

    that the region will some day become much more than the wilderness it now

    is. This the juxtaposition of hydr o -electric power and possible mineral

    resources would seem to indicate.


    Bell, J. Mackintosh. Annual Report , Geological Survey of Canada, 1900.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0119                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Since practically all of Canada lies north of the 45th parallel, it

    is distinctly a northern country; and since more than two-thirds of its

    area drains into arctic waters, it might with equal propriety be described

    as preponderantly subarctic. The total area of Canada, including newly-

    acquired Newfoundland, is approximately 3,843,144 square miles, while the

    area that drains into arctic waters (including Bering Sea) totals 2,453,538

    square miles. Canada is one of the few countries whose exact land area is not

    definitely known; as late as the autumn of 1948, two islands were discovered

    in Hudson Bay which added approximately 5,000 square miles to the Dominion's

    area; and it is possible that still other islands in different parts of the

    Canadian North remain to be discovered, which will further increase the pro–

    portion that lies within the arctic and subarctic regions.

            Although the arctic watershed extends as far south as the headwaters of

    Red River, in the Dakotas and Minnesota, and reaches to within a few miles of

    the north shore of Lake Superior, the region considered here as constituting

    arctic and subarctic Canada does not go so far south. Generally speaking, the

    line of permafrost is looked upon as the southern boundary of the subarctic

    regions; but for the purpose of this article the line has been extended to

    include geographical features that, while south of the permafrost line, defi–

    nitely form an integral part of the area to the north of them, such, for

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0120                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    instance, as Nelson River, which cuts across the line of permafrost. Further–

    more, while permafrost serves a useful purpose in indicating the general

    boundary, the exact location of the permafrost line over the greater part of

    the region is not definitely known, and, owing to a h variety of factors, is

    subject to considerable fluctuation.

            Consequently, for the purpose of this Encyclopedia, the area considered

    as constituting the arctic and subarctic regions of Canada consists of that

    part of the Province of British Columbia lying generally north of latitude

    57° N., which includes the watersheds of the Stikine and Liard rivers; all

    of Yukon Territory; and Mac K enzie, Keewatin, and Franklin Districts; the part

    of the Province of Alberta which includes most of the watersheds of the Atha–

    baska and Peace rivers; that part of the Province of Saskatchewan which

    includes the watershed of the Churchill River; that part of the Province of

    Manitoba including the watersheds of the rivers emptying into Hudson Bay,

    excluding rivers that flow into Lake Winnipeg; that part of the Province of

    Ontario that includes the watersheds of rivers flowing into Hudson and James

    bays; that part of the Province of Quebec that drains into Hudson and James

    bays or Hudson Strait; and that part of Newfoundland-Labrador beyond latitude

    57° N.

            The outstanding characteristic of this vast region is undoubtedly the

    great Canadian Shield consisting mainly of Pre-Cambrian rocks, which encloses

    Hudson Bay as in a horseshoe, extending from the Atlantic on the east to the

    Mac K enzie Valley on the west; and from the southern boundary of the region as

    above described to and including many of the islands of the Arctic Archipelago,

    wholly or in part. The second characteristic of the region is the Arctic

    Archipelago itself, which contains some of the largest islands in the world.

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0121                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    Hudson Bay, bringing the ocean almost to the heard of the continent, is

    also worthy of mention as an outstanding characteristic of the region; while

    by no means of lesser importance may be mentioned such great rivers as the

    Yukon and the Mackenzie, which are entirely within the arctic and subarctic

    regions. Furthermore, the myriads of lakes of all sizes and shapes which

    cover most of the area, and which include such giants as Great Bear, Great

    Slave, and Athabaska lakes, constitute an additional remarkable characteristic.

            Climatically, the region is subject to every variation of northern tem–

    perature, from cool, chilly summers to hot, dry ones; and from relatively

    mild winters to extremelycold ones. In some of the valleys of northern

    British Columbia, [ and ?] in the lee of the high Coast Range, the winters are

    so mild that horses commonly winter out of doors, and similar conditions

    extend into southern Yukon Territory. The Rocky Mountains provide a like

    service for sections of northern Alberta, resulting in relatively mild winters;

    while the July isotherm of 59° F. extends down the Mackenzie Valley as far

    as latitude 64° N. The great Pre-cambrian area to the eastward — between

    the Mackenzie Valley and Hudson Bay — is subject to a typical continental

    climate; hot summers and cold winters, except in the vicinity of Hudson Bay,

    where the presence of such a great expanse of water affects extremes both in

    summer and in winter. Subarctic Quebec is caught between the waters of the

    Atlantic and of Hudson and James bays, and consequently the climate over most

    of that area, while subject neither to extremes of hot nor cold, is generally

    cool (except inland in the southern section) and is more subject to violent

    wind storms than other parts of the region under consideration.

            Agriculturally, the region varies, but, generally speaking, with the

    exception of one or two areas, agricultural possibilities are not extensive.

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0122                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    The most important agricultural area is in northern Alberta, along the

    valleys of the Athabaska and Peace rivers and in the Mackenzie River Valley,

    which are extensions of the central plains section of North America. When

    better transportation facilities are provided, and when the adjacent mineral

    and petroleum resources are more fully developed, the area drained by the

    Mackenzie River and its tributaries will undoubtedly provide homes for a

    considerable agricultural population. With respect to the production of

    livestook, the region, while generally beyond the northern limit of lands

    suited to cattle, contains one of the world's greatest reserves of grazing

    lands eminently suited to the production of reindeer and musk oxen — if the

    latter should ever be domesticated.

            The greatest possibilities of the region, however, lie in its mineral

    resources. In northern British Columbia and Yukon Territory, most of the

    mineral wealth so far recovered has been in the form of placer gold, and

    possibly the richest of these deposits have already been exhausted. Neverthe–

    less, these sections contain important lode-mining possibilities, although

    transportation and other costs have so far prevented exploitation, except in

    a few favored localities. The rocks of the Canadian Shield provide the great–

    est storehouse of mineral wealth. On the western edge of the Shield, north

    of Great Slave Lake, the development of a great gold-mining region is in

    progress with Yellowknife as the center. South of Great Slave Lake, extensive

    deposits of zinc and lead ores are known to exist, the development of which

    awaits only the provision of adequate transportation. At Flinflon and Sherridon,

    in northwestern Manitoba, immense deposits of copper sulphide ores are being

    mined on a large scale. In northern Ontario, extending into Quebec, is one

    of the greatest mining areas of the world. The mines along this zone are

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0123                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    principally gold producers, but silver, nickel, copper and other metals

    are also being produced in quantity. In the Ungava section of northern

    Quebec and in Newfoundland-Labrador deposits of iron ore extending over

    wide areas are being developed which it is expected will take the place

    in the North American iron and steel industry of the fast-diminishing

    deposits in Minnesota and Michigan. During World War II, an oil field was

    brought into production in the lower Mackenzie Valley, not far from the

    Arctic Circle, while surveys show that geological formations over a large

    portion of the Mackenzie Valley and some of its tributaries are favorable

    to the concentration of petroleum. In the same regions and in parts of

    northern British Columbia, in Yukon Territory, and on many of the islands

    of the Arctic Archipelago extensive coal measures exist. Especially in the

    Canadian Shield sections, where the streams are generally obstructed by

    rapids and waterfalls, numerous waterpower sites exist.

            Practically all the streams and lakes in the region contain large

    quantities of excellent fish, the chief of which are whitefish and lake

    trout, while arctic trout, sturgeon, salmon, both Pacific and Atlantic,

    and many others are also found in quantit i y . Fisheries on some of the more

    southerly lakes have for some time been supplying fish for the large North

    American cities, the fish, in many cases, making the first lap of the

    journey by air.

            The fur trade brought the earliest Europeans to this great region and

    the fur trade is still important, although with the spread of settlement

    wild life — and with it the trapper — withdraws farther into the wilder–

    ness. Large areas, however, are suited to the breeding of fur-bearing

    animals in captivity, and it is likely that this industry will continue

    and expand.

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0124                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

            The greater part of continental arctic and subarctic Canada is

    forested, the density varying with the locality, depending upon such factors

    as shelter, soil water, etc. The uniformity of the boreal cover is perhaps

    its most striking characteristic. The same species are found over practi–

    cally the entire region, differing only in size and density of distribution.

    Considering the size of the region and the extent of the forested area, the

    amount of merchantable timber is relatively small, but vast areas exist that

    are capable of providing large quantities of pulpwood; and over the greater

    part of the region timber sufficient for local construction requirements is


            Except in a number of localities where mining development has produced

    quickly-growing towns and cities, much as Yellowknife, Flinflon, Timmins and

    Kirkland Lake, it is a region practically destitute of people. The northern

    coast and some of the islands of the Arctic Archipelago are thinly populated

    by Eskimos, south of which a few Indians endeavor to follow their traditional

    pursuits in the face of advancing white settlement. According to figures

    derived from the Canada Census, 1941, the total population of the whole

    region, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Coast Range, and from the southern

    boundary of the subarctic region to the Arctic Ocean and the islands that

    lie within it, is probably not more than 85,000, of whom 37,557 are Indians

    and 7,205 are Eskimos. Most of the people other than Indians and Eskimos

    live in the cities and towns that have been built around the mines along

    the southern edge. Churchill may yet prove an exception if its importance

    as a seaport should ever become sufficiently recognized.

            Aside from the Cordilleran section of the West, the mainland part of

    the region is a land of low relief. The Cordilleran section, however,

    constitutes a mountainous zone about 600 miles in width. The Mackenzie

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0125                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    and Richardson mountains form the boundary between the District of Mackenzie

    and Yukon Territory; the Cassiar and other smaller chains rise above the

    inland plateau; the granitic Coast Range, fringing the Pacific, contains the

    highest mountains in Canada and some of the highest on the continent.

            The portion of British Columbia here considered as subarctic comprises

    about 109,000 square miles. Unlike that part of the province farther south,

    its eastern boundary is not formed by the Rocky Mountains, but by the 120th

    meridian of west longitude, which constitutes the boundary north of the point

    where it intersects the crest of the mountains, as far as latitude 60° N.

    Consequently, British Columbia, at this point, possesses territory east of the

    mountains as well as west of them; and it is in this section that the most

    extensive agricultural possibilities in subarctic British Columbia are to be

    found, for this area belongs to the great central plains section of Canada.

            Subarctic British Columbia, as here defined, is drained principally by

    two rivers which, together, practically extend in an east-west direction from

    the Pacific Coast to the eastern border of the province. The Stikine River,

    335 miles in length, rises between latitudes 57° and 58° N., and, after a big

    bend to the north, turns southwestward and flows into the Pacific Ocean. Since

    this part of the province is fronted by the Alaska Panhandle, the Stikine

    passes out of British Columbia about 35 miles from the coast to cross this

    strip before discharging into the sea. Near the big bend of the Stikine, the

    Dease River has its rise in the lake of the same name and flows northeasterly

    for 180 miles to its junction with the Liard, which occurs a short distance

    below where the latter crosses the boundary between British Columbia and Yukon

    Territory. The Liard continues its course southwesterly and then northeasterly

    until it again crosses the 60th parallel at about the point where the boundary

    008      |      Vol_XIII-0126                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    between Yukon and Mackenzie territories impinges upon the 60th parallel. In

    the southern corner of the area, the Finlay River has its rise, the most

    distant tributary of the great Peace River; its waters eventually mingle with

    those of the Liard after both have become part of the mighty Mackenzie roll–

    ing on its way to the Arctic Ocean.

            Aside from a few small lakes like Dease Lake, already mentioned, the area

    has relatively few lakes, but in its northwestern corner, lying partly in

    British Columbia and partly in Yukon Territory, are a group of lakes of con–

    siderable size of which Tagish, Atlin, and Teslin are the largest. They lie

    roughly parallel to each other and consist of long narrow arms winding between

    high mountains and they are of wuch beauty that their loveliness cannot forever

    remain hidden.

            Telegraph Creek, once the center of extensive placer-mining operations,

    and the head of river transportation on the Stikine, and Atlin, on the lake

    of the same name, also once an important placer-mining center, are the only

    communities of any size within the area, and they are both small places.

    According to the 1941 Census, the district including Telegraph Creek had a

    total population of 218 persons of whom but 50 lived in the town. Atlin, in

    1947, had a population of 518 persons. The Alaska Highway (q.v.), cutting

    across the northeastern corner of the province, may result in other more

    populous communities if it should also make possible the development of the

    resources of the area.

            Yukon Territory lies north of British Columbia, extending westward to

    the 141st meridian, which constitutes the boundary between Yukon and Alaska

    territories, and north to the Arctic Ocean. The crests of the Mackenzie

    and Richardson mountains form its eastern boundary. Since the mountains lie

    009      |      Vol_XIII-0127                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    in a northwest-southeast direction, Yukon Territory has but a short strip

    of arctic coastline. Yukon Territory occupies the extreme northwestern

    corner of the Dominion of Canada, comprising 207,076 square miles.

            Yukon Territory consists of three parallel physiographic provinces,

    running northwest and southeast. The most easterly one consists of the

    Mackenzie and Richardson mountains; next, to the west, is the Yukon, or

    Interior, Plateau, a region of upland cut into masses of hills or low

    mountains by the streams o that feed the great river which forms its axis;

    farther west, the Coast Range provides the third physiographic province, con–

    sisting of high, granitic mountains bordering the Pacific Ocean. This section

    does not continue along the western boundary of Yukon Territory, but fades

    into the Yukon Plateau section and occupies only the extreme southwestern

    angle of the Territory.

            The Yukon River, rising near the boundary between Yukon Territory and

    British Columbia, runs northwesterly through the Yukon Plateau and crosses

    the boundary into Alasla Territory, in which both river and physiographic

    province are continued westward to the sea. Yukon River, fifth largest

    on the North American continent, is navigable for the greater part of its

    length, and provides a highway which, with its navigable tributaries, renders

    the greater part of both Yukon and Alaska territories accessible.

            Yukon Territory first came into prominence in the late nineties of the

    nineteenth century when placer gold was discovered in the gravels of certain

    tributaries of the Yukon River in the area that soon became world famous as

    the Kondike (q.v.). Within a few years, millions of dollars in gold were

    washed from the Klondike gravels, after which the thousands of gold seekers

    and the other thousands who live on the results of the miners' efforts drifted

    away; former booming cities and towns became ghost towns, consisting largely

    010      |      Vol_XIII-0128                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    of empty shacks occupied by the few whose hope never expires, and others

    in the employ of huge corporations engaged in re-working the old diggings

    by means of giant dredgers. Previous to and following World War I, lode

    mining was begun in the Mayo district, in the Stewart River valley, where

    rice silver-lead ores were discovered. For a time high hopes were enter–

    tained that a new lease of life had been gained for Yukon Territory. The

    high-grade ore was shipped to smelters in the United States and development

    largely ceased when this ore became exhausted. From time to time copper

    properties have been operated near Whitehorse, but ore reserves sufficient

    to justify the building of a smelter have never been accumulated, and with–

    out a smelter the existing ores cannot be mined at a profit.

            Along the Yukon River, north of Whitehorse, deposits of excellent

    bituminous coal exist in almost unlimited quantities; but without a market

    it is of little value. Geological conditions are favorable for other coal

    measures in both the Interior Plateau and Mountain sections, but without

    any prospect of market for the coal, prospectors are not interested in

    searching for further deposits.

            According to the Census of 1941, Yukon Territory had a population of

    4,914 persons, of whom 1,508 were Indians, yet in the days of the Klondike

    boom the Census of 1901 registered 27,219 persons, most of whom were in

    and about Dawson and Whitehorse. With the slackening of the boom, the

    population of both places dwindled until Dawson had less than 1,000 and

    Whitehorse about 600. During World War II, Whitehorse became an important

    point, with a greatly augmented population. Since the end of the war,

    however, it has returned to its previous condition as a frontier community

    too far from markets for the development of its resources, but hopefully

    011      |      Vol_XIII-0129                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdas: Canada, Dominion of

    awaiting the day when transportation facilities and other requirements

    shall be available.

            The Yukon River provided the first highway when, in gold-rush days,

    numerous steamers of all sorts and sizes plied from St. Michael, on Bering

    Sea, to Dawson and Whitehorse. Also during the first years of the gold

    rush, a narrow-guage railway was built from tidewater at Skagway, Alaska,

    northward to Whitehorse, the head of transportation on the Yukon River, a

    distance of 111 miles. The railway — the White Pass and Yukon — is still

    being operated. The Northwest Staging Route, consisting of a line of air–

    ports maintained by the Government of Canada, crosses the Territory to con–

    nect with airlines in Alaska. Regular mail and passenger services are main–

    tained by Canadian Pacific Airlines from Edmonton and Vancouver to White–

    horse and Dawson. The Alaska Highway, which connects Dawson Creek, B.C.

    with Fairbanks, Alaska, also crosses Yukon Territory.

            Yukon Territory has a typical continental climate, hot in summer and

    cold in winter. Although the precipitation is light, the presence of

    permafrost ensures an adequate supply of moisture at the roots of plants.

    While horses winter on the range in southern Yukon, the Territory is not

    suited to ordinary stock-raising, but large areas are suited to reindeer

    grazing. Field crops can be successfully grown in some of the valleys in

    southern Yukon; wheat planted on a farm in the Yukon River valley has been

    harvested in 87 days. Forest growth is typical of other parts of subarctic

    Canada, thinning out toward the Arctic Circle, and absent on the coasta l


            The District of Mackenzie, comprising an area of 6 527,490 square miles,

    adjoins Yukon Territory on the east, and, like it, extends from the 60th

    parallel to the Arctic Ocean. Its eastern boundary is formed by the 102nd

    012      |      Vol_XIII-0130                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    meridian, which also constitutes the boundary between Saskatchewan and

    Manitoba, to the south. Like Yukon Territory, it consists of three dis–

    tinct physiographic provinces; a strip of the Canadian Shield from about

    350 miles to 500 miles wide and about 630 miles long; the Mackenzie Lowland

    section, about 300 miles wide at the 60 parallel and tapering to the north,

    providing a background for the great river from which it receives its name;

    and the Cordilleran physiographic province, made up of the Mackenzie Mountains

    extending to about 66° N., when they merge into the Richardson Mountains, both

    extensions of the great Rocky Mountain chain, but differing from it in some


            The Mackenzie River, with its system of lakes, constitutes the predomi–

    nating features of Mackenzie District. The Athabaska and Peace rivers, which

    contribute most to its volume, have their rise far to the southwest, beyond

    the southern border of Mackenzie District. Lake Athabaska is also south of

    the border, but the two largest lakes, Great Slave and Great Bear, are wholly

    within the district, East of these lakes lies across the contact between the

    Pre-Cambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield and the Palaeozoic rocks which pre–

    dominate to the westward; and it is along this contact that the most important

    mineral occurrences have been found, and along which the prospect of other

    discoveries seems most promising.

            The Mackenzie River proper flows out of the western end of Great Slave

    Lake in latitude 61° N., longitude, 117° W., and follows a generally north–

    westerly course for slightly over 1,000 miles, discharging into the Arctic

    Ocean through an extensive delta in latitude 69° N., longitude, 134-136° W.

    Its southern tributary, the Athabaska, rising in the Rocky Mountains south

    of latitude 53° N., empties into Athabaska Lake, which is drained into Great

    013      |      Vol_XIII-0131                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    Slave Lake by Slave River, 300 miles in length. Had the Mackenzie name been

    extended to apply to the latter, it would not have been inconsistent with

    the practice elsewhere throughout the region, e.g .the Churchill, Thelon, Back,

    etc. The Slave, about 30 miles below its source, takes in the Peace River

    after its course across the Alberta Plateau from the gap in the Rocky Mountains

    through which it flows from its sources on the western flank of that great

    mountain chain. Liard River, also rising far to the west of the mountain

    barrier through which it likewise cuts a path, joins the Mackenzie about 200

    miles below the outlet of Great Slave Lake. Many tributaries flow into the

    Mackenzie from both sides, but most of them are short because of the proximity,

    on the east, of the height of land not far from the western edge of the Cana–

    dian Shield, and of the mountains on the west. One of these, short, but not

    inconsequential, is Bear River, flowing in from the east with the drainage from

    Great Bear Lake. Peel River, which like the Liard, cuts through the mountains

    from its sources in Yukon Territory, enters the Mackenzie below the beginning

    of the Mackenzie Delta, and is an important stream.

            Since such a large part of Mackenzie District is comprised within the

    Canadian Sh ie ei ld, it contains myriads of the type of lakes which occupy de–

    pressions gouged out of the rocks by the glaciers during the Ice Age. These

    are connected by short, rapids- and falls-filled streams, the whole forming

    a maze-like network covering the country. In a class by themselves are Great

    Slave (11,170 sq. mi.) and Great Bear (11,660 sq. mi.) lakes. They differ

    from the lakes in the Canadian Shield because they occupy basins partly

    gouged out of the softer Palaeozoic rocks, and also because they provide

    great reservoirs for the waters of the Mackenzie system. This is more par–

    ticularly true of Great Slave Lake, through whose basin pour the waters from

    014      |      Vol_XIII-0132                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    great rivers entering from the southwest, as well as other smaller streams

    flowing in from every side. Great Bear Lake, on the other hand, although

    larger than Great Slave, is fed only by the drainage from a relatively small

    area surrounding its shores.

            Like other parts of northern Canada, Mackenzie District first attracted

    the attention of early fur traders, and although the areas which drain into

    the Arctic Ocean were not included in the great trading preserve granted to

    the Hudson's Bay Company in 1760 by King Charles Ii of England, it was an

    officer of that company, Samuel Hearne, who was the first European to visit

    what later became Mackenzie District when, in 1770-72, he made his historic

    visit to the Coppermine River. In 1778, Peter Pond, an officer of the

    Northwest Company, competitor of the Hudson's Bay Company, reached Lake

    Athabaska, and subsequently Great Slave Lake. He was followed in 1788 by

    Alexander Mackenzie who, the following year, descended the Mackenzie River

    to its mouth. Thenceforth the river was an important artery of the fur trade,

    and the principal establishments along its course were built by fur traders

    and, even now, most of them are devoted principally to the fur trade.

            The first attempt at commercial development on any considerable scale

    was made in 1920, when Imperial Oil Limited, through a subsidiary company,

    drilled a number of oil wells in the Mackenzie River valley at Norman Wells,

    50 mils below the mouth of Bear River. Although oil in commercial quantities

    was discovered, no market for it existed at that time, and the wells were

    capped to await the advent of a market. This field was greatly extended

    during World War II, when, under the Canol Project (q.v.), oil was secured

    from Norman Wells for transmission by pipe line to a refinery built at

    Whitehorse for use on the Alaska Highway and the Northwest Staging Route.

    015      |      Vol_XIII-0133                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

            In the meantime, a limited local market had been established. In 1930,

    Gilbert LaBine (q.v.) had flown to Great Bear Lake from Edmonton and had

    located, on the southeastern shore of Great Bear Lake, veins containing silver

    and pitchblends, the ore from which radium and uranium are extracted. This

    subsequently became the Eldorado mine at Port Radium, operated by a private

    company until 198 1944 when, because of the importance of uranium as a source

    of atomic energy, the mine and the whole undertaking of the company were expro–

    priated by the Government of Canada. As a source of power for mining operations,

    oil from the Norman Wells field greatly facilitated the development of the

    Eldorado mine, and to meet this need Imperial Oil Limited set up a small re–

    finery at Norman Wells in 1931, which was enlarged in 1939.

            About 1934, gold was discovered in considerable quantities in the vicinity

    of Yellowknife River, which flows into the bay of the same name on the east

    side of the North Arm of Great Slave Lake. In succeeding years other dis–

    coveries were made in the area and within a short while several mines were

    in operation, resulting in the establishment of a considerable community.

    Because of shortage of manpower and equipment, the mines were largely shut

    down during World War II, but since the cessation of hostilities, and es–

    pecially after machinery and other necessary materials have become more

    available, development of the area has advanced rapidly. The town of

    Yellowknife is an important center; and the field which it serves has been

    extended northwestward for more than 200 miles, promising eventually to

    become one of the greatest mining regions on the continent.

            The greater part of Mackenzie District is forested. The northern limit

    of trees crosses the eastern boundary of the district almost due east of

    Great Slave Lake and runs slightly north of west until northwest of the

    016      |      Vol_XIII-0134                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    eastern end of that lake, continuing then in a northwesterly direction to

    within a few miles of the western end of Coronation Gulf, thence, a few

    miles inland, parallel to the Arctic Coast across the Mackenzie Delta west–

    ward into Alaska. The area west and south of that line is more or less

    heavily forested, depending upon such factors as soil, water, shelter,

    altitude, etc. The principal varieties consist of eight, five conifers and

    three deciuous trees. Of the former, white spruce is the most important;

    it can be found as far north as trees grow, and also shoots tongues eastward

    along the valleys of streams into the tundra lands of the Canadian Shield.

    It grows best in the river valleys, and even in the Mackenzie Delta trees

    measuring 18 inches and over on the stump and 100 feet high are not uncommon.

    Black spruce is usually found wherever the white variety grows, but never

    reaches the dimensions of the latter. In some sections of the district it

    is sufficiently plentiful to provide ample supplies of pulpwood, if and when

    transportation conditions make its manufacture commercially feasible. Bank–

    sian pine, growing on sandy or gravelly ridges, is found generally throughout

    the Mackenzie Lowland. Balsam fir grows chiefly in the valleys of the

    mountain section and on the lower slopes of the mountains. Balsam poplar,

    aspen, and white birch are found over most of the forested area, depending

    upon the nature of the land.

            In moist spots and along the borders of lakes and streams, dense growths

    of alders and willows are widely distributed within the forested area; and

    these, dwarfed considerably, are found pretty generally throughout the tundra

    region as well. Associated with them, both in the forest and tundra regions,

    are Labrador tea, bog rosemary, mountain cranberry and other shrubs. Berry-

    producing shrubs other than those mentioned above are common all over the

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    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    district. Grasses and sedges grow profusely in places where sufficient

    soil has accumulated; while the rockiest land is carpeted with ma n y species

    of mosses.

            The vegetation of the Arctic regions, both within the forested area

    and on the tundra, provides an immense grazing area capable of supporting

    an extensive reindeer industry. Once vast herds of caribou roamed the

    greater part of Mackenzie District, and wherever they found sustenance

    reindeer can also thrive. In 1935, the Canadian Government took delivery of

    a herd of 2,370 Alaskan reindeer that had been driven overland from Alaska,

    and they were settled in a selected area on the eastern side of the Macken–

    zie Valley, not far south of the arctic coast. By the summer of 1948, they

    had increased to 6,500 head, and could easily, if properly cared for, become

    the means of stocking the tundra lands throughout the Canadian North.

            Large areas of good agricultural land can be found in the southern

    and southwestern parts of Mackenzie District, especially along the river

    valleys. The agricultural possibilities of the Mackenzie Valley itself are

    considerable, and as far north as the Arctic Circle, and even considerably

    beyond, vegetables and forage crops have for a great many years been raised


            Until the coming of the airplane, the principal artery of communication

    into and through Mackenzie District was the Mackenzie waterway system, which,

    in summer, provides an uninterrupted course for river steamers of over 1,300

    miles from Fort Smith, below the cataracts on Slave River, 100 miles north

    of Lake Athabaska, to the Arctic Ocean. Above the rapids, where a 16-mile

    portage is necessary, Slave River, Lake Athabaska and the Athabaska River

    provide an additional 300 miles of good river navigation from the end of steel

    018      |      Vol_XIII-0136                                                                                                                  
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    at Waterways. Above that point, with the exception of 90 miles suited only

    to navigation by small boats, the Athabaska River is navigable for small

    steamers to Athabaska Landing (now the town of Athabaska) and beyond.

    Athabaska, 100 miles north of Edmonton, was connected with the latter by

    road in 1885 and by rail in 1912. The railway again tapped the Athabaska

    River in 1921 when it reached Waterways, on Clearwater River, a tributary

    which enters the Athabaska at Fort McMurray, a few miles to the west.

    This largely put an end to heavy river traffic from Athabaska Landing.

            The first highway to reach any part of Mackenzie District from out–

    side points was completed between Grimshaw, Alberta, on the Northern Alberta

    Railway, and Hay River, at the mouth of the river of the same name, near

    the outlet of Great Slave Lake, in 1948. It was used before then as a

    winter road for tractor trains carrying supplies to the mining region at

    Yellowknife; but the Federal and Alberta governments have cooperated to

    convert it into an all-year road.

            Mackenzie District abounds in waterpowers. The cataracts on Slave

    River, with an estimated capacity of 500,000 h.p., are just south of the

    boundary line, but the power developed there would naturally be available

    within the district. Perhaps the most suitable stream for for power

    development is the Lockhart River, which, between Artillery Lake and the

    eastern end of Great Slave Lake, a distance of 25 miles, has a drop of

    700 feet. A succession of lakes above Artillery Lake would provide

    reservoirs for water storage. Hay River, which enters Great Slave Lake

    near its western end, is interrupted by two falls, of 140 and 52 feet,

    respectively, between 40 and 50 miles above its mouth. Taltson River,

    019      |      Vol_XIII-0137                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    entering Great Slave Lake from the south, a few miles east of the mouth

    of Slave River, drops over a series of falls, at one point providing a

    head of about 130 feet. Snowdrift River, which also flows into the south

    side of Great Slave Lake, has a fall of about 500 feet in about six miles.

    Bear River, Coppermine River and Camsell River are potential sources of

    waterpower in the northern portion of the district, while in the southwest

    corner of the district, the South Nehanni River, at Virginia Falls, pro–

    vides a head of 315 feet. The first hydro-electric power actually developed

    within the district was for the purpose of supplying mines and other con–

    sumers at Yellowknife when 4,700 h.p. was generated on the Yellowknife River

    between Bluefish and Prosperous lakes, about 20 miles northeast of the town.

    This was subsequently augmented by a power installation on Snare River,

    about 90 miles northwest of Yellowknife. The Prosperous Lake project was

    built by the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada, Limited,

    but the Snare River installation was financed by the Federal Government.

            According to the Census of 1941, the population of Mackenzie District

    was 5,360, of whom 4,090 were Indians belonging to the various subdivisions

    of the Athapaskan nation, and 379 were Eskimos, inhabiting the northern

    coastline. Since 1941, however, the population of the district has largely

    increased owing to the development of mines in the Yellowknife field, as well

    as through increased activity at Port Radium and Norman Wells.

            Mackenzie District is administered by the Government of Canada as part

    of the Northwest Territories. The administrative body, made up of senior

    civil wervants at Ottawa, consists of a commissioner, a deputy commissioner,

    five council members, and a secretary. Although administrative offices are

    maintained at Fort Smith, just within the southern boundary of the district,

    020      |      Vol_XIII-0138                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    and at Yellowknife, the coundil sits at Ottawa. For purposes of parliamentary

    representation, the district is merged with Yukon Territory, the two being

    represented in the House of Commons at Ottawa by a single member.

            The airplane has been an important factor in the development of Macken–

    zie District since its use was initiated by Imperial Oil Limited in 1920-21.

    The principal commercial service is now maintained by Canadian Pacific Air–

    lines, which provides a daily service from Edmonton to the principal centers,

    with less frequent services to other points as far north as the Arctic Ocean.

    All mail is now carried by air, with daily service to the more important

    points and others less frequently depending upon the need.

            The District of Keewatin, comprising 228,160 square miles, occupies the

    territory north of the 60th parallel of north latitude, extending to the

    Arctic Coast, between the 102nd meridian of west longitude and the west

    shore of Hudson Bay. It also includes three islands in Hudson Bay, but

    excludes Boothia and Melville peninsulas, which are included in Franklin

    District. It consists mainly of a rolling plateau, sloping eastward to

    Hudson Bay and northward to the Arctic; north of latitude 65° N. the drain–

    age is toward the Arctic, while south of that line it is eastward to Hudson

    Bay. The principal river in the Arctic watershed is the Back River, 605 miles

    long, which rises west of the boundary between Keewatin and Mackenzie districts,

    and, like most rivers within the Canadian Shield, forms the connection between

    a series of lakes in its course to the ocean, which it enters at Chantrey

    Inlet, in latitude 67° 07′ N., longitude, 96° 40′ W.

            The principal river in the Hudson Bay drainage system is the Thelon,

    which, with its tributary the Dubawnt, cuts across the whole width of the

    district, discharging into Baker Lake, at the head of Chesterfield Inlet.

    021      |      Vol_XIII-0139                                                                                                                  
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    It is navigable for the greater part of its length and provides a means of

    access into the heart of the Canadian Shield. Farther east, the Kazan River

    flows into Baker Lake from the southwest, draining an area to the south and

    east of the Thelon-Dubawnt watershed.

            Keewatin District is covered by a maze of lakes, connected in charac–

    teristic Canadian Shield fashion by rapid streams. The largest of these is

    Dubawnt Lake, 1,600 square miles in extent, which is both fed and drained by

    the Dubawnt River; Garry Lake, 980 square miles, is one of the many lakes

    in the Back River system; and Yathkyed Lake, 860 square miles in extent, is

    the largest of many in the Kazan system. All are wll stocked with excellent

    fish, of which the chief are lake trout, whitefish, and salmon trout, although

    many others also abound.

            The climate over the greater part of Keewatin District is continental,

    with hot summer days and extremely cold weather in winter. Agricultural

    possibilities are negligible, limited to the growing of hardy vegetables

    in more favored spots. The greater part of the district is north of the

    tree line, which cuts the coast of Hudson Bay south of its border. Some

    distance inland from the coast, the line curves northward to about 62° 32′ N.,

    and then bears off to the westward into Mackenzie District. Spruce, both

    white and black, and tamarack are the principal trees found in the Keewatin

    forest. The tundra area is covered with the usual carpet of grasses and

    sedges, where the ground is not covered with mosses. Owing to the prevalence

    of the latter, Keewatin District is particularly well suited to the reindeer

    industry, if and when it becomes established.

            The chief possibility for commercial development in the district lies

    in its Pre-Cambrian rocks, which underlie practically the whole area. So far,

    022      |      Vol_XIII-0140                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    very little of value has been discovered, but lack of transportation which

    makes prospecting difficult will doubtless postpone any large-scale develop–

    ment until other more accessible and more favorable areas have been exploited.

    Formations favorable to mineral occurrences have been discovered over a con–

    siderable area along the coast of Hudson Bay, south of Chesterfield Inlet,

    and it is possible that development will begin in that quarter since it is

    readily accessible from the sea.

            While the subarctic region cannot be considered as including any very

    considerable portion of the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba,

    their northern parts more definitely belong to the territory lying to the

    northward of them than to that farther south. Lake Athabaska, for instance,

    is part of the arctic watershed; and while its agricultural lands and mineral

    and oil resources will undoubtedly be developed in connection with the more

    southerly portions of the Province of Alberta, they will also contribute in

    considerable measure to the development of the areas farther [ ?] north.

    They will also provide justification for an extension of transportation and

    other facilities still farther north.

            Historically, the Athabaska country has always been considered as part

    of the Mackenzie system. In the days of the fur trade, the canoe route to

    the Mackenzie crossed Methye Portage from the headwaters of Churchill River

    to the Athabaska River by means of Clearwater River. The Churchill River,

    which rises near the western boundary of the Province of Saskatchewan and

    flows in a generally easterly direction across the northern parts of Sas–

    katchewan and Manitoba, discharges into Hudson Bay at the port of Churchill

    in latitude 58° 47′ N. This river, about 1,000 miles in length, is charac–

    teristic of those in the Canadian Shield, connecting as it does numerous lakes

    023      |      Vol_XIII-0141                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    by short stretched of river filled with rapids and waterfalls. The Churchill

    in its course receives many tributaries on both sides which, like the master

    stream, consist of short bits of river obstructed by rapids and falls drain–

    ing series of lakes.

            Considerable areas of good agricultural land, varying in accordance

    with the depth of soil, moisture and other factors, exist south of the

    Churchill River, especially in northwestern Saskatchewan; while in its lower

    stretches, in the Province of Manitoba, extensive tundra areas suggest the

    possibility at some future day of fairly large-scale reindeer grazing. The

    chief resource of the area, however, is likely to be its minerals; and while

    little mining activity has yet occurred along the Churchill River, extensive

    deposits of copper sulphides have been [ ?] discovered a short distance to

    the south, at Flinflon and Sherridon, just east of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba

    boundary; and at Wekusko (Herb) Lake, farther east, gold mines are in opera–

    tion. Power for the operation of the mines at Flinflon and Sherridon comes

    from installations on the Churchill River. Farther east still, in the Knee

    Lake, God's Lake and Snow Lake areas of Manitoba, a number of producing gold

    mines are in operation, while many other prospects await the provision of

    cheaper transportation facilities.

            The building of the Hudson Bay Railway, finished in 1929, from The Pas,

    near the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border, to Churchill, a distance of 400 miles,

    has helped considerably to open up the region lying west of Hudson Bay, but

    lack of connecting railways or highways still leaves a huge area without

    the transportation facilities required for proper development.

            While the Saskatchewan River, whose waters ultimately discharge into

    Hudson Bay, is in that sense part of the subarctic region, it is almost

    024      |      Vol_XIII-0142                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    entirely linked to the prairie section of Canada and cannot therefore be

    included in this account; but the Nelson River, which drains Lake Winnipeg

    and carries the waters of the Saskatchewan and many other rivers that dr a in

    the prairie sections into Hudson Bay, may definitely be included.

            The northern and northwestern parts of the Province of Ontario, since

    they drain into Hudson and James bays, may also be included in the subarctic

    regions of Canada. This area consists of a fringe of territory extending

    from the Manitoba-Ontario boundary southward along the shores of Hudson

    and James bays to the Ontario-Quebec boundary. A lowland belt from 200 to

    250 miles wide extends along the shores of Hudson and James bays which is

    underlain by Palaeozoic rocks. Part of this south and west of James Bay,

    consisting of about 16,000,000 acres, is known as the Clay Belt, and is

    considered to be good [ ?] arable land. A large part of it is fairly heavily

    timbered, containing large tracts of pulpwood. To the west and south of

    the Clay Belt, the country is part of the Canadian Shield, covered with

    lakes and the usual network of small streams broken by rapids and waterfalls.

    Most of the rivers flowing into Hudson and James bays rise within the Cana–

    dian Shield, descending an abrupt escarpment, dropping in some places as

    much as 500 feet within a few miles, in order to attain the lowland level.

    The principal rivers flowing into Hudson Bay are the Severn and the Winisk,

    while the Albany and Moose (with the latter's important tributary the Abitibi)

    flow into James Bay.

            Commencing in 1903, the Government of the Province of Ontario began the

    building of a railway, the Timiskaming and Northern Ontario (since known as

    the Ontario Northland), northward from North Bay on Lake Nipissing, to tap

    the Clay Belt and eventually James Bay. Built by stages, the railway reached

    025      |      Vol_XIII-0143                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    James Bay at Moosonee, at the mouth of Moose River, in 1932. While it

    had been projected mainly to open up an agricultural region, the first

    fruits of its building were the discovery of valuable silver deposits at

    Cobalt, little more than 100 miles from North Bay, and later the discovery

    of the extremely rich Porcupine and Kirkland Lake goldfields. The National

    Transcontinental line of the Canadian National Railways from Quebec City

    to Winnipeg connects with the Ontario Northland at Cochrane, which is

    within the Clay Belt. The National Transcontinental, built largely through

    Canadian Shield territory, in northern Ontario, traverses the southern edge

    of the Clay Belt before again reaching the Canadian Shield to cross an

    area in which a number of producing gold mines have been developed. This

    section of northern Ontario produces large quantities of pulpwood and impor–

    tant mills are located at Iroquois Falls and at Kapuskasing, both of which

    are within the limits of the Clay Belt.

            Subarctic Quebec consists of an area of about 343,259 square miles

    comprising the territory north of the height of land which separates the

    St. Lawrence watershed from that of Hudson and James bays and Hudson Strait,

    usually referred to as the Ungava Peninsula. It consists of an elevated

    tableland which attains its greatest elevation along its eastern border and

    slopes northward to Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay and westward to Hudson and

    James bays. The descent occurs in a succession of steps and the many rivers

    fall over rocky escarpments, resulting in much potential waterpower.

            Ungava, with Newfoundland-Labrador, forms the northeastern angle of the

    Canadian Shield. In many places it is known to be highly mineralized, but

    lack of transportation has until recently prevented development. Gold is

    found at widely separated places, as well as copper and lead; but the mineral

    026      |      Vol_XIII-0144                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dom in ion of

    that is bringing about the development of the country is iron, extensive

    deposits of which are being opened up by large corporations operating

    under concessions from the Quebec and Newfoundland governments. Properly

    to exploit these iron deposits, a railway is being built northward a dis–

    tance of 360 miles from the St. Lawrence River, and will make possible the

    development of other nearby mineral areas.

            The principal rivers flow westward into James and Hudson bays. Because

    of the many falls along their courses many portages are required, and they

    are navigable only for canoes. The Koksoak, the chief river flowing northward,

    which, with its tributary the Kaniapiskau, is 535 miles in length, discharging

    into the southern end of Ungava Bay, is deep enough to accommodate ocean-

    going boats for some distance above its mouth.

            Typical of Pre-Cambrian country, Ungava is a land of sprawling, irregular,

    island-studded lakes, ranging in size from mere ponds to Lake Mistassini,

    840 square miles in extent. Nearly always, they occupy rocky depressions

    and rarely have sand or gravel beaches, with very little weeds or swamp.

            The southern part of the area, northward to latitude 54° N., is heavily

    forested; but, except in isolated spots, the trees thin out beyond that line;

    and a short distance south of Ungava Bay the grass- and moss-covered tundra

    begins. The principal trees, as elsewhere in subarctic Canada, are white

    and black spruce, balsam fir, tamarack, Banksian pine and balsam and aspen

    poplar. In the southern sections, considerable stands of merchantable timber

    exist, but distance from market prohibits its use. Vast areas of pulpwood

    also exist, which are likewise still beyond the range of marketability. The

    railway referred to above will open up some of these timber areas.

            Except in the southern section and along the southeastern coast of James

    027      |      Vol_XIII-0145                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    Bay, the possibilities for agriculture are negligible. The tundra regions,

    which once grazed huge herds of caribou, may some day provide pasturage for

    reindeer, but that day is probably far in the future considering the extent

    of grazing lands in other parts of the Canadian North much more accessible

    to market.

            The lakes and rivers abound in fish, lake trout and whitefish being

    perhaps the most common, while salmon, brook and arctic trout and sturgeon

    are found in many of the rivers. Codfish are abundant along the coast of

    Hudson and James bays, while the white whale, a species of porpoise, is also

    common there.

            The first trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company was

    built at the mouth of Rupert's River, which flows into the southeastern

    angle of James Bay, and it has been in continuous operation since 1668. The

    fur trade has been the principal occupation of the people of Ungava for

    almost three centuries and is still their chief business. Excessive trapping

    and forest fires in recent years have greatly reduced the numbers of fur bearing

    animals, but it is likely that, in certain parts of the country, the fur

    trade will continue for a considerable time to be an important industry.

            The chief geographical feature of the peninsula is undoubtedly Ungava

    Bay which, like a miniature Hudson Bay, extends for about 140 miles southward

    from the south shore of Hudson Strait and is about the same distance wide at

    its mouth. A number of important rivers, including the Koksoak, discharge

    into the bay, which contains many islands.

            The only part of the Province of Newfoundland which may be included in

    subarctic Canada is that portion of the eastern mainland of Canada lying

    between the watershed dividing the Hudson Bay and Atlantic drainage basins,

    028      |      Vol_XIII-0146                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Domion of

    northward to about latitude 57° N., to the northern tip of Labrador at Cape

    Chidley, in latitude 60° 30′ N. This stip of coast is rugged and high,

    mountains which rise abruptly from the sea attaining in places altitudes

    up to 5,000 feet.

            The District of Franklin comprises the islands of the Arctic Archipelago

    lying north of the northeastern part of the Canadian mainland as well as

    Melville (24,156 square miles) and Boothia (12,960 square miles) peninsulas,

    having atotal area of 549,243 square miles. The Arctic Archipelago occupies

    a huge triangular area with its apex at the top of Ellesmere Island in lati–

    tude 83° 05′ N., its base extending east and west from longitude 61° W. to

    125° W. It contains 17 islands each with an area of more than 1,000 square

    miles; about 40 with areas of over 100 square miles each; and many smaller

    ones. The largest, Baffin Island, with an area of 197,754 square miles, is

    the easternmost of the group, extending from longitude 61° W. to 90° W., and

    lying in a northwesterly direction. Its extent north and south is from 61°

    61° N. latitude to 74° N. [ ?] Next in size are Victoria Island, with 80,340

    square miles, and Ellesmore Island, with 77,392 square miles. Immediately

    north of Baffin Island, separated from it by Lancaster Sound, is Devon Island

    (21,606 square miles), and north of the latter is Ellesmere, separated from

    Greenland on the east by a narrow channel.

            The Arctic Archipelago is divided into two general groups by the line of

    Lancaster Sound, Barrow Strait, Viscount Melville Sound and McClure Strait.

    Somerset Island (9,594 square miles) lies west of the northern end of Baffin

    Island, immediately north of Boothia Peninsula, with Prince of Wales Island

    (13,736 square miles) to the west of Somerset Island. Victoria Island,

    extending from longitude 100° 30′ W. to 126° 30′ W., lies west of Prince of

    029      |      Vol_XIII-0147                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    Wales Island, with Banks Island (25,675 square miles) still farther west.

    These islands are all in the southern group. North of the Lancaster Sound -

    McClure Strait line, Axel Heiberg Island (13,583 square miles) lies immediately

    west of Ellesmere Island, while Bathurst and Melville islands ( islands 16,503 square

    miles) lie directly west of Devon Island, with Prince Patrick Island to the

    northwest of Melville Island.

            From a geological standpoint, the Arctic Archipelago is largely part of

    the Canadian Shield, but Palaeozoic rocks and some of later age from a belt

    through the central islands and include most of the western and far northern

    islands. Along the east coast of Baffin Island, from Cumberland Sound on the

    south to Lancaster Sound on the north, a rugged mountain range of Pre-Cambrian

    rocks rises in places to altitudes of 10,000 feet, with an average from 5,000

    to 7,000 feet. Mountains similarly high are also found in Ellesmere Island.

    The northwestern part of Baffin Island as well as most of Somerset Island

    consists of sedimentary rocks. Devon and Ellesmere islands are underlain by

    granitic rocks along their eastern coasts, but these dip below sedimentary

    formations toward the west, where the coasts are low.

            Much or all of the Arctic Archipelago was covered with ice during the

    last Ice Age, and areas of permanent ice caps, glaciers or snowfields still

    cover large sections of Ellesmere Island, much of Devon and parts of north–

    eastern Baffin Island.

            While very little search has yet been made for economic minerals; native

    copper has been found on Baffin Island, and coal has been found on a number of

    the islands in the regions underlain by Palaeozoic rocks. In the same regions,

    the prospects for oil are considered good.

            Outside of a few trading posts and government stations no settlements

    030      |      Vol_XIII-0148                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of

    yet exist in Franklin District. The population consequently consists almost

    entirely of Eskimos. Each summer the Government of Canada dispatches in

    supplies, and providing passage for personnel going to and from the different

    stations as well as for a few others having some reason to visit the North.

            During World War II, an air base was established under the joint aus–

    pices of Canada and the United States of Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island, which

    is linked with other similarly established bases on islands in Hudson Bay

    and on the Canadian mainland; but no commercial air bases have yet been

    established. Also under joint auspices, meteorological stations, connected

    with the outside world by radio, have been set up on a number of islands in

    the Arctic Archipelago, the most northerly being one on Ellesmere Island.

            The discovery and exploration of the Arctic and subarctic regions of

    Canada were due largely to the search for the Northwest Passage; and conse–

    quently sections of the map devoted to those regions were fairly well filled

    in while immense areas farther south still remained blank. In this respect,

    it is perhaps significant that the arctic coast had been reached overland

    before the Pacific was likewise reached. The shores of Hudson Bay were well

    known before the Great Lakes had properly taken their place on the map.

    Even after all hope of finding the Northwest Passage in that quarter had

    been abandoned, Hudson Bay still remained the gateway to the heart of the

    continent. All the great rivers of the interior ran toward the Bay, while

    a 13-mile portage connected the Hudson Bay and arctic watersheds. Chipewyan,

    on Lake Athabaska, was an important center long before many of the great

    cities of southern Canada were even thought of. The railway has seemed for

    a time to set at nought the importance of geographical factors; but it is

    possible that the airplane is about to restore the balance. Certainly, since

    the airplane's advent the worth of Canada's arctic regions has greatly in–

    creased in the scale of world values.

    031      |      Vol_XIII-0149                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Dominion of


            Back, George. Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition to the Mouth of the

    Great Fish River, and along the Shores of the Arctic Ocean in

    the years 1835 1833, 1934 and 1835 . London, 1836.

            Bethune, W.C. Canada's Western Northland: Its History, Resources, Popula-

    tion and Administration. Ottawa , 1937.

            Burpee, L.J. The Search for the Western Sea: The Story of the Exploration

    of North Western America. Toronto, 1908. Revised edition:

    Toronto, 1936.

            Camsell, Charles and Malcolm, W. The Mackenzie River Basin. Geological

    Survey of Canada, Memoir No. 108; 1921.

            Dawson, C.A. The New North-West. Toronto; 1947.

            Dawson, George M. Report on an Exploration in the Yukon District and Adjacent

    Northern Portion of British Columbia, 1887 . Geological Survey

    of Canada, 1898.

            Franklin, John. Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea in the

    years 1825, 1826 and 1827. London, 1828.

            ----. Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Polar Sea in the years

    1825, 1826 and 1827. London, 1828.

            Low, A.P. Report on Explorations in the Labrador Peninsula along the East–

    main, Koksoak, Hamilton, Manikaugan, Portions of Other Rivers

    in 1892-93-94-95. Geological Survey of Canada, 1895.

            MacKay, Douglas. The Honorable Company: A History of the Hudson's Bay Company .

    Toronto, 1938.

            Mackenzie, Alexander. Voyages from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence Through

    the Continent of North America to the Frozen Ocean and the Pacific

    in the years 1789 and 1793. London, 1801.

            Morice, A.G. The History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia (formerly

    New Caledonia) 1660-1880. Toronto, 1904.

            Ogilvie, William. Early Days on the Yukon. Toronto, 1908.

            Robinson, J.L. An Outline of the Canadian Eastern Arctic, its Geography, Peoples

    and Problems . Ottawa, 1944.

            Stefansson, V. My Life with the Eskimo . New York, 1913.

            ----. The Friendly Arctic . New York, 1921.

            Tyrrell, J.W. Across the Sub-Arctic of Canada. Toronto, 1908.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0150                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The Canadian Cordillera is an extension of the mountain systems that

    border the west coast of North and South America. In Canada, it forms a

    northwesterly-trending belt varying from 350 to 400 miles in width, occupy–

    ing the territory between the Great Plains, on the east, and the Pacific Ocean

    and Alaska boundary, on the west. It constitutes the watershed between the

    Pacific Ocean, on the west, and the Arctic Ocean, on the northeast. The

    southern limit of the arctic and subarctic section is taken as approximately

    the 60th parallel of north latitude, which is also the boundary between Yukon

    Territory and the Province of British Columbia.

            The Canadian Cordillera falls into three general systems: an Eastern System,

    presenting a mountainous barrier to the Great Plains; and even more formidable

    western mountain wall along the Pacific and the Alaskan boundary; and inter–

    mediate Interior Section, consisting of less continuous mountain ranges and


            The term system is here used to designate more than one range of mountains,

    or mountain area, as well as adjacent plateau and plain sections. The term

    area is here used to designate a constituent part of a system, and includes

    plateaux and plains regions, as well as more than one mountain range.

            The three systems differ considerably in their geological structure, as

    well as their topographical character. The Eastern System consists almost

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0151                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canadian Cordillera

    entirely of sedimentary strata; the Interior System comprises a mixture of

    volcanic, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks invaded by numerous intrusive

    bodies; while the Western System, although similar in a general way to the

    Interior System, consists chiefly of great bodies of intrusive rocks.

            In the Arctic and Subarctic Section, the Eastern System is made up of

    the Mackenzie Mountain (q.v.) and Arctic Mountain (q.v.) areas. While it

    is frequently thought that the Rocky Mountains, as such, continue northwest–

    ward to the Arctic Ocean, they actually end at Liard River (q.v.), south of

    latitude 60° N. Neither are the Mackenzie Moutains, which succeed the Rockies,

    an extension of the latter. The Mackenzie Mountains lie about 80 miles east

    of a line projected northwestward from the northern extremity of the Rocky

    Mountains. The Mackenzie Mountain area curves in a great arc from Liard River

    to Peel River (q.v.), near latitude 66° N. From that point, the Arctic

    Mountain area extends north, and then west, to the 141st Meridian. The

    Arctic Mountain area includes the Richardson Mountains (q.v.) and the British

    Mountains (q.v.), as well as plateaux and plains regions.

            The Eastern System is out lengthwise by the Mackenzie River. A section

    along the 64th parallel would show, from west to east, the Mackenzie Mountains,

    with a width of about 140 miles, the Mackenzie Plain, 40 miles wide, and the

    Franklin Mountains (q.v.), east of the Mackenzie River, about 30 miles wide.

    The Mackenzie River enters the system near the mouth of the North Nahanni

    River, and flows out of it again a short distance south of the Ramparts.

    The Liard, Peel, and Arctic Plateaux are included in the Eastern System.

            The Interior System, north of the 60th parallel, consists of a major

    mountain and a major plateau area as well as several minor ones. What once

    passed for the western part of the Mackenzie Mountains is now called the Selwyn

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0152                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canadian Cordillera

    Mountains (q.v.), and is included in the Interior System. The reason is that

    it is considered advisable to separate mountains formed wholly of sedimentary

    rocks, such as the Mackenzie Mountains, from those, such as Selwyn Mountains,

    which consist of metamorphic and intrusive rocks. The Selwyn Mountains and

    the adjoining Yukon Plateau constitude the chief features of the System, north

    of which are the Ogilvie Mountains (q.v.), with Porcupine Plateau and Plain

    farther to the north. The Pelly Mountains (q.v.), consisting of various lo [ c ?] al

    ranges, in the south-central portion of the Yukon Plateau, are composed mainly

    of intrusive rocks. Some peaks in the Pelly Mountains reach a height of about

    8,000 feet.

            The Western System of the Canadian Cordillers, in its arctic and subarctic

    section, includes a belt of mountainous country with an average width of 100 miles

    lying to the southwest of the Interior System. In British Columbia, to the

    south, this system is much more complex; but in Yukon it consists merely of

    the northern stub of the Coast Mountains, which terminate in latitude 60° 25′

    W., and the St. Elias Mountains (q.v.), extending from the vicinity of Mount

    Fairweather to the 141st Meridian. These mountains, which are mainly granitic

    in structure, contain some of the highest peaks on the continent.


            Camsell, C. Report on the Peel River and Tributaries, Yukon and Mackenzie .

    Geological Survey of Canada, Annual Report, Vol. XVI, 1906.

            Keele, J. A Reconnaissance Across the Mackenzie Mountains on the Pelly

    Ross, and Gravel Rivers, Yukon and Northwest Territories .

    Geological Survey of Canada, Publication No. 1097, 1910.

            Bostock, H.S. Physiography of the Canadian Cordillers, with Special Reference

    to the Area North of the Fifty-fifth Parallel. Geological

    Survey of Canada, Memoir No. 247, 1948.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0153                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography Canada


            Carcross, at the northern end of Bennett, is the first town reached

    on entering Yukon Territory by the White Pass and Yukon Railway. It has

    a landing field, suitable water area for a seaplane base, Church of

    England and Roman Catholic churches, a post office, a day school, and an

    Indian residential school. Connection may be made at Carcross during the

    summer months with a steamer that operates on Taglish Lake and Taku Arm.

    "Carcross" is a contraction of the name "Caribou Crossing", so called on

    account of the great number of caribou that once crossed the narrows

    between Lakes Bennet and Nares. Carcross is connected with Whitehorse and

    the Alaska Highway by motor road. Lake Bennettlies astride the British

    Columbia-Yukon Boundary and is one of the beautiful lakes in the Territory.

    The eastern shore is skirted by the White Pass and Yukon Railway line, from

    which may be observed the remarkable colouring of the mountains which, capped

    with snow, rise along each side. Lake Bennett and its companion body of

    water to the south, Lake Lindeman, were points of embarkation for thousands

    of gold-seekers who crossed the Chilcoot Pass and launched rough boats for

    their perilous voyage down the Lewes and Yukon Rivers to the gold-fields in



    From: Nor' West Miner

    March, April 1950

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0154                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography: Canada


            Carmacks, on the west bank of the Lewes River about 110 miles north

    of Whitehorse, is an Indian settlement containing a post office, a trading

    post, and an emergency landing field. It is also the first junction of the

    water and overland routes north from Whitehorse. In the vicinity are large

    deposits of coal which were worked for a number of years. A few miles

    downstream on the Lewes River are the famous Five Fingers Rapids, which

    provide a thrilling experience for river steamer passengers.


    From: Nor' West Miner

    March, April 1950

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0155                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography: Canada


            Champagne, situated about 56 miles west of Whitehorse on the Alaska

    Highway, is an Indian village and contains a trading post. About 42 miles

    west is the junction of the road from Haines, Alaska.


    From: Nor' West Miner

    March, April 1950

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0156                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The Chandalar River is a tributary of the Yukon River, entering that

    stream about 20 miles below Fort Yukon, in Alaska. The name is derived

    from a corruption of the term, gens de large , applied by Hudson's Bay Company

    traders to the Indians who lived within its watershed because the Indians

    seemed to have no permanent place of abode. Since the Chandalar flows into

    the Yukon at almost its most northerly point, and since it flows almost

    directly from the Endicott Range, at no great distance to the north, its

    course is one of the shortest of any of the Yukon's tributaries having any

    considerable volume. For this reason, it is swift and practically unnavigable.

    At one time river boats, with great difficulty, worked their way for about

    100 miles up its tortuous and shifting course, but in recent years there has

    been no necessity for such effort and no boats now attempt to stem its current.

    The main stream flows at first southeastward and then southward and then south- ward,

    swinging again to the southeastward, continuing thus to its junction with the

    Yukon. All its principal tributaries flow directly southward from different

    passes in the Endicott Range; but since the lower reaches of the Chandalar

    are separated from the Yukon by only a short distance, practically all of

    which lies within the Yukon Flats region, where the drainage is all into the

    Yukon itself, no tributaries flow into the Chandalar from the south.

            The Chandalar drainage basin, in a north and south direction, is narrow,

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0157                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog [ ?] . LeBourdais: Canada, Chandalar River

    and is not very extensive in the opposite direction. Since it joins the

    Yukon from the northwest at an acute angle, its drainage, except for that

    brought in by the Christian, entering its mouth from slightly east of north,

    is all farther west than its mouth; and since its headwaters interlock with

    those of the Koyukuk, which reach far to the eastward, the Chandalar's drain–

    age area is limited in that direction also.

            The main stream of the Chandalar rises among the high peaks of the

    Endicott Range, considerably north of latitude 68° N., and for its first

    few miles is a rugged mountain torrent. This leads, however, to a wide

    valley where for 30 miles the river meanders through extensive gravel flats,

    flowing then into Chandalar Lake, narrow and eight or nine miles long, between

    mountain ranges. Swinging slightly to the southeast for a distance of about

    25 miles, it receives Big Creek, and ten miles farther down, the West Fork,

    a short tirbutary from the west, comes in. Ten miles farther on, it receives

    the Middle Fork, flowing down from the Endicott Range, roughly parallel with

    the main stream, but separated from it by high mountains.

            Ten miles below the mouth of the Middle Fork is the site of the one-

    flourishing town of Caro, the center of the Chandalar gold fields, Eighteen

    miles below Caro is another abandoned place where once all was activity,

    known as Chandalar Station, where the Northern Commercial Company had its

    depot and store to accommodate the miners who thronged the sand bars and

    terraces above this point. Twenty miles below the abandoned Caro, the East

    Fork comes in. This stream might, by reason of its size, have been considered

    the main branch of the Chandalar, but, probably because of the discovery of

    gold on the other forks, it has been largely overlooked, and in consequence

    has been little traveled and is relatively unknown. The Chandalar emerges

    from the mountains which into the Yukon Flats region through a narrow gap

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0158                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Chandalar River

    in the mountains which seem otherwise to present an unbroken front. After

    debouching into the Yukon Flats, the Chandalar turns more directly to the

    southeast and for the final 100 miles of its course meanders through a

    dreary waste of gravel, driftwood and scrub timber landmarks or other dis–

    tinguishing features. Shortly before it discharges into the Yukon, it re–

    ceives its last tributary, the Christian River, flowing in from a direction

    slightly east of north. The Christian, like the other branches or forks of

    the Chandalar, rises in the Endicott Range and flows at first through a

    mountainous region and then breaks through into the Yukon Flats for its

    final lap.

            The Chandalar River came into prominence in the winter of 1906-7 and

    the following summer when gold was struck on a tributary of the Middle Fork,

    and a stampede occurred. Alaska and Yukon Territory were still full of

    miners who had failed to "strike it rich" in the Klondike, at H N ome or at

    Fairbanks, and consequently the stage was set for a feverish gold rush.

    Soon the river was lined with prospectors, and a town grew up below the

    Middle Fork which was called Caro. By 1910, however, the placer diggings

    had declined to such an extent that Chandalar could be listed with other

    abandoned placer camps, when a revival occurred, causing hopes again to soar

    at the prospect of riches through lode mining; but these hopes, too, were

    soon doomed to disappointment. One result of this second boom was the build–

    ing by the Alaska Road Commission of a road 80 miles in length, from "Beaver

    City," on the Yukon, almost directly north of Caro.

            Whether, when reduced transportation costs lower [ ed ?] the costs of mining

    operations, it will be possible to revive hopes based on mining prosperity,

    cannot now be determined; and in the meantime the Chandalar River finds a

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0159                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada, Chandalar River

    place among that considerable number of placer creeks where sufficient

    gold has been found to awaken hopes, but which eventually proved insuffi–

    cient to provide the basis of a permanent community. It may be that those

    who termed its first dwellers, gens de large , had a truer insight than

    perhaps they realized.


    Stuck, Hudson. Voyages on the Yukon and Its Tributaries. New York, 1917.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0160                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Chibougamau Lake, northern Quebec, Dominion of Canada, is one of

    the sources of the Nottaway River, which empties into the lower end of

    the eastern side of James Bay. It lies almost at the height of land

    separating the Hudson and James bays drainage basin at an elevation of

    1,230 feet above sea level. Its greatest length is 16 miles and it is

    about six and a half miles at its width, with a total area of 138 square

    miles. It lies in a northeast-southwest direction, roughly rectangular

    in shape, its northwestern and southeastern sides fairly regular in outline,

    but its northeastern and southwestern ends are indented by many inlets and

    bays. Its southernmost point is in latitude 49° 44′ N.; its northernmost

    point in latitude 49° 59′ N.; its easternmost point is in longitude 74° W.;

    and its westernmost point is in 74° 24′ W. Lying parallel to it, on its

    northwestern side is Lake Dore é , 12 miles long by about two miles wide

    at its widest, from which it is separated by a narrow ridge of granitic

    rock, called Gouin Peninsula, and an apparent extension of the penin c s ula

    called Ile du Portage, three miles long by about two miles in width.

            Gouin Peninsula extends in a northeasterly direction for about 11 miles

    and, with Ile du Portage, provides most of the western shore of Chibougamau

    Lake. At its southernmost end, a short distance from its base, Gouin

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0161                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada: Chibougamau Lake

    Peninsula is only a quarter of a mile wide, expanding to about a mile and

    a half at its widest, with an average of about half a mile. It is separated

    from Ile du Portage by a narrow passage, about 200 yards long, in which the

    drop is 12 feet. Ile du Portage, except for a bay between it and the

    mainland north of Chibougamau occupies the northwestern angle of the main

    portion of the latter and forms as well the north shore of Lake Dore é it

    is separated from the mainland on the west by a narrow channel, and from

    the north end of the main part of Chibougamau Lake by Portage Bay, about

    a mile wide at its entrance. Both Gouin Peninsula and Ile du Portage con–

    tain several small lakes. Part of Ile du Portage is covered with glacial

    drift, but otherwise both Gouin Peninsula and Ile du Portage consist

    chiefly of granitic rocks. Gouin Peninsula is low in elevation, but Ile

    du Portage, at its highest, rises to about 250 feet in a bare rocky hill,

    called Paint Mountain, from the rusty color of the rocks.

            The southern end of Chibougamau Lake is divided into three bays by

    two narrow points, the longer of which, called Devlin Peninsula, is three

    and a half miles long. A high rocky promontory, about four and a half miles

    wide at its base, projects 7 miles into the lake from the northern end,

    dividing that portion of the lake into two bays, of which the eastern, called

    Islands Bay, is the larger, being about six miles deep and about one and

    a half miles wide. The western indentation extends seven miles northeastward

    from the northeastern end of the main part of the lake to which it is

    connected by Valiquette Narrows, which expand into Contact Lake, contract–

    ing again to the McKenzie Narrows which expand into Gunn Bay, extending

    eastward for about a mile and a half, then into McKenzie Bay, extending three

    miles to the westward, narrowing again into Rapid Bay, one and a half miles

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0162                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Chibougamau Lake

    deep from the entrance to McKenzie Bay. This indentation, extending north–

    eastward from the northwestern angle of the lake, is surrounded by high

    rocky hills, arranged in sharp ridges parallel to the direction of the lake.

    The highest of these are the Sorcerer and Juggler mountains. The former

    is situated toward the southern end of the northern promontory, and is

    situated to rise to a height of 500 feet above the water; the latter lies

    a short distance north of Rapid Bay; it ends in a sharp cone, having per–

    pendicular sides 50 feet high. From its resemblance to the tents used by

    the Indian conjurors, it has been called the "juggler's house," and is

    supposed to be the dwelling place of evil spirits. The outline of the

    hills in this locality is sharply serrated, in marked contrast to the

    rounded outline usually seen in Laurentian hills.

            Chibougamau Lake is studded with numerous islands, most of which are

    low and rocky, especially those along its eastern side and in the northeast

    bay; a few are also scattered along the western shore. The shores of the

    lake are generally low, formed either of solid rock or of large rounded

    boulders, often found piled up in low walls by the action of the lake ice,

    The land rises gently from the eastern side to the height of land.

            The country about the lake is well timbered, with black spruce pre–

    dominating, but white spruce i [ ?] also found in considerable quantities.

    Balsam fir, tamarack and Banksian pine also occur, together with medium–

    sized birch, aspen and a few cedars. Unfortunately, much of the country

    has been burnt over, and reference to timber must be made with a reserva–

    tion concerning the likelihood of fire.

            Chibougamau Lake, like the others in the same territory, is well

    stocked with fish, chief of which are lake trout and whitefish, although

    pike, pickerel, brock trout and suckers also abound. The region has produced

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0163                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdaise: Canada - Chibougamau Lake

    excellent furs for over a century and is still productive, but the fur–

    bearing animals have been greatly reduced in numbers by excessive trapping.

    The Hudson's Bay Company has maintained a post on Gouin Peninsula for many


            It is likely, however, that mineral production will eventually become

    the principal resource of the region. Gold-bearing copper sulphide and

    gold-quartz deposits occur at different points in the area. Some of these

    deposits and also small amounts of asbestos and low-grade iron ore were

    discovered as early as 1903, but distance from the railway and other factors

    have hampered systematic exploration. Nevertheless, a considerable amount

    of exploratory work has been done by a number of different mining companies;

    and while nothing sensational has been discovered, enough has been disclosed

    to indicate that when better transportation facilities are available, the

    Chibougamau area will prove to be an important mining center. Until these

    facilities are available, most of the companies holding properties in the

    district are marking time. With railway transportation now b w e ing provided

    for the exploitation of iron deposits in the Ungava Peninsula, northeast of

    the Chibougamau area, that time may not be so far off.

            Chibougamau Lake has been known to fur traders, missionaries and

    explorers seeking a route from Lake St. John to James Bay for over 150 years,

    but no great interest was taken in the area until the early years of the

    present century when Peter McKenzie, in 1903, discovered t w hat were believed

    to be valuable deposits of asbestos, copper and gold. These discoveries led

    to a wider interest in the area and the Quebec Government was pressed to

    provide railway transportation. Before undertaking to supply this, however,

    the Chibougamau Commission, consisting of Dr. A. E. Barlow, Special Lecturer

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0164                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Chibougamau Lake

    in Economic Geology at McGill University, Montreal, as Chairman, E. R.

    Fairbault, of the Geological Survey of Canada, and J. C. Gwillim, Professor

    of Mining at Queen's University, Kingston, was appointed by the Government

    to make an authoritative report on the mineral possibilities of the district.

    The report, published in 1911, stated that no asbestos deposits of economic

    importance existed, and that although the country gave promise of reward to

    the prospector, none of the gold or copper deposits so far found was commer–

    cially valuable, even with railway facilities. This report dampened interest

    in the region for many years.

            This was before the great discoveries were made at Porcupine and Kirkland

    Lake, in northern Ontario, and at Noranda and other points in northern Quebec,

    which directed fresh attention to the possibilities of the Pre-Cambrian rocks

    of northern Canada. Further prospecting in Chibougamau uncovered other mineral

    occurrences and there is now little doubt in the minds of Canadian mining men

    that the Chibougamau district will one day take its place among the important

    mining regions of Canada.

            The area early attracted the attention of the Geological Survey of Canada,

    and the first of many investigations by members of the Survey staff was made

    by James Richardson in 1870. Between 1884 and 1905, Dr. A. P. Low did his

    great work in Ungava, which includes surveys of the region about Chibougamau

    Lake. J. B. Mewdaley began detailed geological work in the region in 1927,

    which was continued in 1930, and this was followed by further mapping in 1934

    by G. W. R. Norman. J. A. Retty, in 1929, also did geological work in the

    area for the Quebec Bureau of Mines. In addition to that done by various

    surveyors in the employ of the Quebec Department of Survey, topographic

    work was conducted for the Geological Survey of Canada by A. C. Tuttle in 1929;

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0165                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Chibougamau Lake

    and serial photographic work was carried out in 193 e 4 by the Royal Canadian

    Air Force.


            Low, A. P. Report of Explorations in the Labrador Peninsula Along the East

    Main, Koksoak, Hamilton, Manicuagan and Portions of Other Rivers

    in 1892-93-94-95. Geological Survey of Canada, Annual Report,

    Vol. VIII; 1895.

            Maudsley, J.B., and Norman, G.W.H. Chibougamau Lake Map-area, Quebec .

    Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir No. 185; 1935.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0166                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Churchill Lake, northwestern Saskatchewan, Dominion of Canada, is

    one of a number of lakes forming the source of the Churchill River, which

    flows into Hudson Bay, 1,000 miles farther east. It is about 24 miles

    long by about 12 miles at its widest, with an area of 213 square miles, and

    lies at an altitude of 1,381 feet above sea level. Its southernmost point

    is in latitude 55° 48′ N., and its northernmost point is in latitude 56° 11′

    N.; its easternmost point is in longitude 108° 05′ W., and its westernmost

    point is in longitude 108° 30′ W. It is connected to Peter Pond Lake at its

    southwestern angle by a short passage in which no current exists, and it

    might have been consi [ ?] d ered as part of the latter, or vice versa . It drains

    Frobisher and Turnor lakes, to the north, through Simond's channel, bu [ ?]

    otherwise it receives no tributaries of consequence. It is drained at its

    southern extremity by Churchill River.

            Churchill Lake, unlike its companion-lake, Peter Pond, is characteristic

    of lakes in the Pre-Cambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield, in that its shores

    contain many indentations and it has many islands. It occupies a transitional

    position between Frobisher Lake, to the north, with its long arms and bays and

    many rocky projections and islands, which exhibits the extreme type of Pre-

    Cambrian lake, and Peter Pond Lake, to the west, whose low, swampy shores

    hafe few indentations, and which contains almost no islands.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0167                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Churchill Lake

            Churchill Lake is set in a region of low relief; to the westward the

    terrain consists mainly of sand interspersed with boulders; but to the

    northward and eastward rounded knobs of granitic rocks rise irregularly

    above the general level. The country on both sides is sparsely timbered

    with small black spruce, Banksian pine, white birch, and occasional stands

    of tamarack in swampy spots.

            The first person other than an Indian to see Churchill Lake was Peter

    Pond, a fur trader and partner in the Northwest Company who, in 1778, under–

    took an expedition from the farthest point hitherto reached by fur traders

    along the Churchill River to the headwaters of the latter, thence across

    Methye Portage to the Athabaska. His course was soon followed by others,

    and it rapidly became the regular canoe route between the Saskatchewan and

    Athabaska-Mackenzie districts. Thereafter, until steamboats on the Saskat–

    chewan in 1875 and the railway in 1891 put an end to the long canoe route s ,

    all trade goods for the Athabaska-Mackenzie region were taken in by that route

    and all the fur went out the same way. It is still the local highway for the

    fur traders and prospectors.


    Innis, H.A. Peter Pond Fur Trader and Adventurer. Toronto, 1930.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0168                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Churchill River, 1,000 miles in length, runs approximately eastward

    from the eastern border of the Province of Alberta, across the province of

    Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and empties into Hudson Bay. It drains an area

    of 115,500 square miles, comprised in a long, rather narrow, strip of

    territory lying to the north of the Saskatchewan-Nelson drainage basin and

    south of the region drained by several other streams flowing in Hudson Bay.

            Before present-day highways across the continent were thought of,

    Churchill River was on the main traffic route between the eastern portions

    of Canada and the far northwest. It was by way of the Churchill, sometimes

    called the English River, that Alexander Mackenzie traveled to the Athabaska

    and eventually reached the Arctic and Pacific oceans. For many years there–

    after the Churchill was an important link in that chain of streams and lakes —

    to say nothing of portages! — by which supplies for the distant Mackenzie

    posts — some even as far away as the Yukon — reached their destination;

    and by which the furs received in exchange were taken out.

            The voyageurs who first located the traffic routes across the continent

    were dependant upon the lakes and streams for their highway, and they could

    not afford to run against the contour of the country; they could go upstream

    and they could go downstream; but they could not go very far across the lines

    of drainage. It was left to the railways to do this; and for half a century

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0169                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Churchill River

    trans-Canada traffic has largely ignored the principle to which the voyageurs

    were forced to adhere. Now, with an ocean port at its mouth that shortens

    the distance from the heart of Canada to the principal overseas markets by

    1,000 miles, it is possible that the Churchill may once again become an impor–

    tant part of a traffic route across the continent. Although the port of

    Churchill is already a railway terminus, it is quite probable that some day

    a transcontinental railway will traverse the Churchill valley as part of what

    would be the shortest rail - and-water route between Europe and the Far East.

            The Churchill's entire course, except for about 150 miles near its mouth,

    which is underlain by Palaeozoic rocks, is within the great Canadian (Laurentian)

    Shield, comprising the oldest exposed rocks on the globe. The surface of this

    area, almost lacking in relief, gouged and pitted by the relentless force of

    the icecap, is studded with lakes, irregular and sprawling, from the size of

    mere ponds to those several hundred square miles in extent, connected by streams

    most of which, in their devious courses, flow down rapids or else fall over

    cliffs of varying heights.

            The Churchill wends its winding way through such a country, forming the

    thread upon which lake after lake is strung; and where it does not itself form

    the thread for certain lakes, they hang pendant to it by connecting streams.

    It is there [ ?] ore almost as navigable in one direction as in the other; the lakes,

    of course, have no current, and considerable stretches occur in which the

    current is not strong. On the other hand, numerous rapids and falls exist.

    In many cases the rapids can be safely run, and can be surmounted on the

    upstream course by tracking or poling. In other cases, going either upstream

    or downstream, portaging is necessary; some of the portages are short, but

    others extend up to a mile or more. As rivers go, the Churchill provides a

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0170                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Churchill River

    very suitable course for canoe and boat travel; it is not suited to any–

    thing larger.

            The Churchill rises in latitude 57° N., longitude 110° W., in La Loche

    Lake, within a few miles of the height of land separating the Hudson Bay

    drainage basin from that of the Mackenzie. Flowing southeasterly out of

    Lake La Loche, after twenty-four moles of a shallow and turtuous course,

    the river enters Buffalo, or Peter Pond Lake, thence to Clear Lake and, by

    a connecting stream, into Ile a La Crosse Lake, the first considerable

    expansion of the Churchill. Ile a La Crosse, about 35 miles long, is shaped

    like a pot-hook and lies roughly north and south. Beaver River flows into

    its southern extremity, bearing, from the south, the outflow from Lac La Plonge.

    Debouching from the northern end of Ile a La Crosse Lake, the Churchill starts

    on a southeasterly course through a succession of lakes and river-extentions,

    including Knee, Sandy and Snake lakes, till it makes another major expansion

    in Black Bear Island Lake, made up of narrow channels, deep bays and many

    islands. From the head of Black Bear Island Lake to the outlet at Birch

    Portage, which circumvents rapids with an eight-foot fall, is thirty-six miles.

    A mile below the foot of Birch Portage, another expansion called Trout Lake

    begins and continues for ten miles, terminating in another fall. About a

    mile and a half below Trout Fall the river divides into two channels which

    come together some seven miles farther on in an expansion known as Dead Lake.

            Below Dead Lake a series of rapids is encountered known as the Devil's

    Rapids and Big Devil's Portage. The former, although dangerous because of

    boulders, can be run, but the latter must be portaged, a distance of about

    1,400 yards. At the foot of the rapids the river spreads into Devil's Lake,

    from which it again proceeds by dropping twenty feet to the level of Otter Lake,

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0171                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Churchill River

    where a [ ?] portage of about 700 yards is necessary. Otter L a ke is about

    thirteen miles in length, following which an island-studded contraction

    of the stream is reached where short portages known as Mountain and Stony

    Mountain lead to Rock Lake, at the southeastern end of which is Stanley Mission,

    maintained by the Church of England, and a Hudson's Bay Company's post that was

    established during the early days of the fur trade. Thirteen miles farther

    east, Rapid River, dropping over a fall of about thirty feet, brings in the

    drainage from Lac La Ronge, lying a few miles to the south. The country

    about Lac La Ronge has excellent agricultural possibilities and should one

    day be a populous part of the province.

            Pine Rapid follows, requiring a portage of sixty-five yards, and leads

    to Drinking Lake, beyond which is another portage, this time two hundred and

    twenty yards long, before Keg Lake is reached. Keg Lake is eight miles long

    and is divided into several narrow channels divided by equally narrow islands.

    Two miles farther on, in the course of which there are two rapids requiring

    portages of sixty-five and five hundred and seventy yards, respectively,

    island-dotted Trade Lake, thirteen miles long and averaging a mile and a

    half in width, is reached. At the lower end of Trade Lake is Frog Portage,

    [ ?] terminus of the route from the Saskatchewan established during fur-trading

    days. Several other routes led between the Saskatchewan and the Churchill,

    but this was the principal one.

            The route runs northwesterly from the Saskatchewan River across [ ?] umberland

    Lake and its northern extension, Namew Lake, into the Sturgeon-weir River,

    which leads to Amisk Lake. Crossing this lake to where the upper reaches of

    the Sturgeon-weir River enters, that stream is followed to Mirond and Pelican

    lakes. Several portages are required on this part of the route, but none of

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0172                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Churchill River

    of any great length. Three more portages are encountered before Woody Lake

    is reached. Frog Portage, two hundred and eighty five yards in length,

    connect t s Woody Lake with the Churchill.

            At Frog Portage, the Churchill, hitherto following a southeasterly

    course, turns sharply northward and then northeastward through a number of

    expansions until a drop of seventeen feet occurs at Kettle Falls, where a

    portage of about ninety yards is required. This leads to the expansion into

    which Reindeer River empties. Reindeer River drains Reindeer Lake, 2444

    square miles in extent, lying about 75 miles north of the Churchill valley.

            The expansion which receives the waters of Reindeer River is terminated

    by a fall of fifteen feet at Attik Rapid. From this point for about sixty

    miles there is much rough water which includes Wintego Rapids and a number

    of others, requiring several portages, the longest of which is about a mile

    and a half in length. Just west of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba line, the

    Nemei River comes in from the south. Also before the Saskatchewan-Manitoba

    line is reached, the Churchill provides 90,000 h.p. of hydro-electric energy

    at the Island Falls installation of the Churchill River Power Company Limited

    to supply power for the great Flin Flon mine about 75 miles to the south.

            For the next 120 miles, the river flows through a succession of lakes

    requiring only four portages, none of which is very long. Cut by the Saskat–

    chewan-Manitoba boundary, at the angle where the river ends its northward

    stretch and once more turns eastward, is Sisipuk Lake, a sprawling extension

    of the river, bending back parallel to the river's course, somewhat like the

    chord of an arc. Leaving Sisipuk Lake, the river tumbles down Bloodstone

    Rapids, a few miles before Pukkatawagan Lake is reached. From here on, to

    about longitude 100° 30′ the river continues its easterly course; but at this

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0173                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Churchill River

    point, in latitude 55° 45′, it turns northward, flowing in that direction for

    some distance and then inclining in a northeasterly direction until, at the

    outlet of Southern Indian Lake, in latitude 57° 25′ and longitude 98° 30′,

    it again continues it a flow eastward.

            In its northerly stretch, the river flows through some of the largest

    lakes in its course. Granville Lake as a length of fifty miles, while

    Southern Indian Lake is a huge, sprawling complex of channels and bays,

    extending in all directions from the river's line of flow, if such a stream

    can be said to have a 'line of flow.' Its greatest length is ninety miles,

    and its extreme width about fifteen. William McInnes, of the Canadian

    Geological Survey, who surveyed it in in 1908, estimates that it has a length

    of shoreline, disregarding bays and points of less extent than half a mile,

    exceeding 700 miles. He charted the approximate [ ?] positions of eight hundred

    islands, varying in area from twenty-five square miles to quite small.

            The portages in this stretch are few and insignificant, except for one

    above Granville Lake, where the descent is twenty-five feet in a vertical drop,

    and the Missi Fall, at the outlet of Southern Indian Lake, which has a drop

    of twenty feet. Below Missi Fall, the river continues in a generally easterly

    direction to the mouth of the Little Churchill, coming in from the southwest,

    about 105 miles in a direct line from the bay. In this stretch it expands

    into Northern Indian Lake, which has a length of about twenty miles and an

    average width of about ten miles, and, like most of these lakes, is studded

    with islands. Following a U-shaped bend to the north, Churchill Lake, about

    seven miles in length, and Billiard Lake, four miles long, are the last of the

    river's many expansions. From a short distance below here, it flows through

    more definitely defined banks, averaging about one-third of a mile in width.

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0174                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Churchill River

    Beyond the mouth of the Little Churchill, it winds about considerably, running

    generally in a northerly direction. Then, turning northeastward, and running

    fairly straight, when about forty-five miles from the sea, it turns directly

    north and flows without deviation into the bay. From the mouth of the Little

    Churchill the average width has been about half a mile, with no expansions of

    consequence and few islands, except in the last twenty-five or thirty miles,

    when it widens to two miles or more and contains many islands. The tide

    extends upwards for about seven or eight miles, beyond which the final rapid

    on the river prevents its flow. The banks along a considerable portion of

    the river below the Little Churchill are covered with ice until quite late

    in the season, and for this reason, coupled with the swiftness of the current,

    the Indians usually avoid this stretch, preferring to take one of a number of

    portages across to the Nelson.

            The river narrows near its outlet, where it flows through banks of solid

    rock. The western shore extends farther into the bay than its opposite, and

    is called Eskimo Point. Here was the original location of the Hudson's Bay

    Company's post, the Mission, and the headquarters of the local detachment

    of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Nearby are the ruins of Fort Prince

    of Wales. The townsite of Churchill, the Hudson Bay Railway terminals, the

    docks, warehouses and terminal elevator are all on the eastern bank.

            Until the tundra, which extends some distance back from the bay, is

    reached, the Churchill flows through a generally well-wooded region in which

    the principal trees are white and black spruce, white birch, poplar, tamarack

    and jack pine. In some sections, where conditions are favorable, trees of

    considerable size can be found, but as a rule most of the timber is not of

    merchantable dimensions. Unfortunately, large areas have been burned over

    008      |      Vol_XIII-0175                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Churchill River

    during comparatively recent times, and the second growth, while heavy, is

    not of sufficient size to provide either merchantable timber, nor, in ma n y

    cases, even pulpwood.


            Mackenzie, Alexander. Voyage from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence through

    the continent of North America to the Frozen and

    Pacific Oceans in the years 1789-97; with a preliminary

    account of the use, progress and present state of the fur

    [ ?] trade of the country. 1801.

            Bell, Robert. Geological Survey of Canada; Report of Progress, 1875-76.

            McInnis, William. Geological Survey of Canada; Summary Report, 1908.

            ----. Geological Survey of Canada; Memoir No. 30, 1913.

            Alcock, F. J. Geological Survey of Canada; Summary Report, 1915.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0176                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Claire Lake, in northeastern Alberta, with an area of 545 square miles,

    in post-glacial times, part of Athabaska Lake, but has since been cut off

    by silt brought down by the Athabaska River, and also probably by Peace

    River. Its easternmost point is now 10 miles west of the westernmost point

    of Athabaska Lake, into which it drains. The intervening land is, of course,

    low and contains many small lakes. Claire Lake itself is very shallow and

    its banks on all sides are low and swampy. While its level is no longer

    influenced by the vagaries of Athabaska River, it receives, in addition to

    several smaller ones, three large streams from the west and southwest, each

    of which contributes its share of alluvium to reduce further its inconsider–

    able depth. It lies between latitude 58° 16′ N. and 58° 52′ N., and longi–

    tude 111° 40′ W. and 112° 30′ W.

            Birch River, which flows in from the west, drains an area as far west

    as longitude 114° W., receiving in its course four large creeks, all from

    the south, is building up a considerable delta at its mouth. Steepbank and

    McIvor rivers, both of which enter Claire Lake at its southern end, are

    smaller, but they both carry a considerable volume.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0177                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            The Clay Belt of northern Ontario-Quebec, Dominion of Canada, is the

    most extensive unsettled area within the arctic watershed of North America

    capable of supporting a large population. Centered as it is upon the 49th

    parallel of north latitude, it is also the most southerly, since its southern

    edge lies farther south than the northern boundary of such states as Minnesota,

    North Dakota, Montana, and Washington. Yet this region is drained by rivers

    which flow into James Bay, and is definitely part of the arctic drainage


            The main part of the area known as the Clay Belt extends from slightly

    east of Lake Abitibi, on the east, to near Lake Nipigon, on the west, reaching

    as far south in places as latitude 48° N., and northward beyond latitude

    50° N. The Clay Belt is underlain by the Pre-Cambrian rocks of the Canadian

    Shield, but, unlike most other parts of the Shield, rock is only occasionally

    exposed. Above bedrock lies a thick mantle of glacial deposit, which, in the

    southern part, consists chiefly of glacial till, while farther north, the

    covering consists of marine clays.

            The region has a general elevation of about 1,000 feet above sea level,

    rising in the vicinity of Lake Abitibi to about 1,200 feet, with a maximum

    altitude of about 1,400 feet farther west. The higher spots, however, usuaoly

    consist of rocky upshoots through the general overburden. The country slopes

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0178                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Clay Belt

    gently northward and eastward toward James Bay, the Clay Belt ending, however,

    along a line from 75 to 150 miles distant from the Bay, where the Pre-Cambrian

    rocks dip steeply beneath overlying Palaeozoic rocks of the Hudson (James) Bay

    lowland. Atk At the point of contact between these two physiographic provinces,

    the elevation is about 300 feet, which slopes gradually to tidewater, continuing

    at about the same gradient as the bottom of James Bay, which is consequently

    very shallow.

            The Clay Belt is the result of lake formation during the post-glacial

    period, when lakes, very extensive in area, formed in front of the retreating

    icesheet, and the immense quantities of glacial detritus, gath r e red by the ice

    in planing down the face of the country, were deposited in the lake bottoms.

    With the final retreat of the ice, the lakes, which occupied no rock-bound

    basins, were drained by the stream-system that eventually developed. Subse–

    quent rising of the land brought the present lowland region above the sea, and

    the Clay Belt to its present elevation.

            Existence of this great potential agricultural region was little more than

    suspected until about the turn of the present century when the Ross Government,

    then in power in Ontario, decided to investigate its possibilities. In 1901,

    ten survey parties were put into the field, consisting of land surveyors,

    soil experts, timber cruisers, and geologists. The results of their explora–

    tions put the Clay Belt on the map, and for a time caused great expectations

    in the way of settlement.

            Shortly afterward, however, the settlement of the western plains began

    in earnest, and intending homesteaders were diverted to that area. The

    prairies seemed to have an average over northern Ontario because no clearing

    was necessary; over large sections of the region, the plough could be put

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0179                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Clay Belt

    immediately into the soil and land could be seeded and harvested the first

    season. The Clay Belt of northern Ontario was, for the most part, heavily

    timbered; no market existed for the timber, which, from the standpoint of

    settlement, was considered a liability. On the other hand, railway building

    was at its peak on the prairies, and the homesteader, in the intervals of

    farming, could earn the money that in most cases was needed to eke out the

    income that could be expected from farming.

            The Ontario Government also began to build a railway. In 1902, a line

    was proposed which would run northward from North Bay, on Lake Nipissing,

    on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and eventually reach James

    Bay. Tidewater on the Bay was eventually reached in 1932, but in the interval

    the emphasis had shifted somewhat from agriculture to mining. The Temiskaming

    and Northern Ontario Railway, now the Ontario North [ ?] and Railway (q.v.), had

    scarcely passed its 100th mile post when rich silver ore was discovered at

    Cobalt, which for the next 30 years was one of the world's greatest silver


            The Cobalt discovery encouraged prospectors to explore the country farther

    north, west and east, with the result that in the next few years the great gold

    mines of Porcupine and Kirkland Lake had been discovered. Such settlers as

    had been content to remain on the farm found the mining communities a good

    market for their produce, but the great agricultural communities that had

    been envisaged at the beginning of the century did not materialize.

            While the Ontario Northland Railway was finding profitable traffic in

    supplying the mining regions, and the pulp and paper communities which had

    also been established, another railway was built which runs through the entire

    length of the Clay Belt from east to west. In the early years of the century,

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0180                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Clay Belt

    the Government of Canada, then headed by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, decided that

    a second transcontinental line was needed. In consequence of this, an

    agreement was concluded with the Grand Trunk Railway Company, whose lines

    up to that time were confined to eastern Canada (except for some in the

    United States), under which the Government of Canada was to build [ ?] from

    Moncton, New Brunswick, to Quebec City, thence westward through virgin

    territory to Winnipeg, where it would connect with a line which the Grand

    Trunk, by means of a subsidiary, would build a new port that would be

    established on the North Pacific. These railways were built, but, in the

    process, the Grand Trunk Railway became so heavily involved financially that

    the Government of Canada finally acquired all its lines, which now form part

    of the Canadian National Railways System.

            The line between Quebec City and Winnipeg, then known as the National

    Transcontinental, first enters the arctic watershed when it crosse d s the

    height of land at the headwaters of the Nottaway River, in northwestern

    Quebec Province. The line continues slightly north of west from that point

    to Winnipeg, practically all of which is within the arctic watershed. The

    line is the longest railway wholly within the arctic drainage basin in

    North America,

            The line connects with the Ontario Northland Railway at Cochrane,

    Ontario, which, at present, is the center of the principal settlement within

    the Clay Belt proper. Larger settlements exist farther south, on [ ?] southerly

    extensions of the belt, where railway connections have been available for a

    longer period, and where better markets are available. Two communities, in

    particular, farther west than Cochrane, have attained some size. Kapuskasing,

    about 70 miles from Rochrane, has a large pulp and paper mill as well as an

    agricultural experimental station maintained by the Dominion of Canada.

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0181                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Clay Belt

    Hearst, 60 miles farther west, is a smaller place, but it is the present

    northern terminus of the Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway, whose

    southern terminus is at Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.

            The Clay Belt is drained mainly by the Moose River system of streams,

    and the Harricanaw, which flows for the greater part of its course through

    the northwestern part of the Province of Quebec. The Moose River system

    comprises the French, Little Abitibi, Abitibi, Mattagami, and Missinaibi,

    with their numerous branches, whose waters are discharged into James Bay

    through Mo [ ?] se River (q.v.), whose entire length of 165 miles lies within

    the Hudson (James) Bay lowland, and consequently beyond the northern limits

    of the Clay Belt. The latter contains no large lakes, and such lakes as do

    exist are generally shallow. Its rivers, flowing over the rugged contours

    presented by the underlying Pre-Cambrian rocks, are swift, and broken by

    many rapids and falls. Where they expand into lakes, the latter are usually

    long and narrow, following the general slope of the country.

            Generally speaking, the Clay Belt is heavily timbered. In its southern

    parts, many stands of merchantable timber may be found, but the great bulk

    of its timber is more suited to pulpwood, much of it already being devoted

    to that purpose. At Iroquois Falls, on the Abitibi River, are the large

    mills of the Abitibi Power and Paper Company Limited; while at Kapuskasing

    the mills of the Spruce River Pulp and Paper Company are located. As the

    territory is opened up farther north, especially of transportation is pro–

    vided, other mills will undoubtedly be established at various points.

            Although the territory is, as has been said, underlain by Pre-Cambrian

    rocks, and these are similar to those which, in other places, contain

    valluable mineral occurrences, except for the mines at Porcupine and Kirkland

    Lake, on its southern border, no mines of consequence have yet been located

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0182                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Clay Belt

    in Clay Belt territory. This, however, is probably due more to the great

    amount of overburden which covers the bedrock than to any difference in the

    mineral content of the rocks. Undoubtedly, as geophysical and other forms

    of scientific prospecting become more generally used, the rocks that now lie

    below the covering left by the glaciers will give up their secrets as they

    have done elsewhere in the great Canadian Shield.

            As is to be expected in an area which covers such a wide expense of

    territory, the land varies in different localities in its fertility and

    general suitability for agriculture. Samples that have been analyzed by

    the Ontario Government indicate that on the whole the soil is fertile and

    suited to a wide variety of crops. In the southern part of the region, both

    the soil and the climate seem for some reason to be suited to seed production;

    considerable acreages have been sown to clover and an important clover-seed

    industry has already developed. A by-product of clo b v er-growing is bee-culture,

    which has proven to be another field particularly well suited to the Clay Belt.

    While the average production of honey for all Ontario is 75.7 pounds per colony,

    the production in the Clay Belt is 170.3 pounds per colony.

            Since wild berries grow profusely throughout the area, it is perhaps

    natural that cultivated berries should also do well. Strawberries up to

    three and a half inches in diameter have been grown in the area, while other

    berries do proportionately well. Vegetables of all sorts grow very well, and

    the country in the vicinity of Cochrane is particularly well suited to the

    growing of potatoes. At the experimental farm at Kapuskasing, timothy hay

    grows to a height of four feet, and oats, barley, and alfalfa produce heavy


            With such a profusion of forage crops, it is but natural that livestock

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0183                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Clay Belt

    should thrive, and the portions of the Clay Belt already settled are producing

    many fine herds of dairy and beef cattle. Dairying is another industry which

    seems destined to expand as additional and better facilities are provided.

            The climate is of the continental type, in which hot summers and cold

    winters prevail. At Kirkland Lake, and at other points along its southern

    border, some of the lowest winter temperatures in Canada have been recorded,

    but the real criterion is the amount of sunshine. The Clay Belt has an

    annual average of about 263 days of sunshine, with an average frost-free

    period of 119 days. The Clay Belt can therefore produce as wide a variety

    of crops as most lands in the North Temperate Zone, and, in amount of yield,

    surpass most of them.

            Here is a land which is estimated as capable of providing homes for

    upward of 1,000,000 people. That it may be along time before this objective

    is attained, is perhaps evidenced by the slowness with which settlement has

    been effected during the half-century since the attempt began. Undoubtedly,

    the Clay Belt of northern Ontario-Quebec is the largest area within the

    arctic drainage basin in North America that is capable of such extensive



            Ross, George W. Getting into Parliament and After . Toronto, William Briggs,


            Bell, J. Mackintosh. Economic Resources of Moose River Basin. Report of

    the Bureau of Mines, 1904. Toronto, The King's Printer,


            Williamson, O.T.G. The Northland Ontario . Toronto. the Ryerson Press, 1946.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0184                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Clearwater Lake, in Ungava District, now known as the New Quebec

    section of the province of Quebec, lies in the angle formed by latitude 56°

    and longitude 75° at an elevation of 750 feet above sea level. Its great–

    est length is 45 miles and its greatest width 20 miles, with an area of

    410 square miles. It is the source of Clearwater River which flows west–

    ward into Hudson Bay. The lake lies in a northwest-southeast direction,

    and is separated into two sections by a rocky point that juts out from its

    northeastern shore, off which are a number of large islands. Its shoreline

    is irregular, cut by many indentations; its surface is broken by innumerable

    islands, most of which are grouped near its center.

            No stream of importance enters the lake, the largest of which is the

    Noonish, flowing into the northeast corner, nevertheless, the voluem of

    water that discharges through the Clearwater River is considerable. The

    lake lies in a region of rounded Laurential hills that rise from 200 to

    500 feet above the water. The highest hills are around the western and

    southern portions of the lake, the land becoming lower and flatter to the

    north and east, especially about the southeastern end, where the country

    is low and swampy.

            Clearwater Lake was explored in 1896 by Dr. A. P. Low of the Geological

    Survey of Canada; but in the interval no further exploration of which any

    record exists has been undertaken. With the possible development of the

    mineral resources in the vicinity of Richmond Gulf, however, this condition may

    soon be changed.


    Department of Mines, Quebec. Extracts from Reports on the District of Ungava

    or New Qu [ ?] bec, 1929.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0185                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Clearwater River, in Ungava Peninsula, District of New Quebec, in the

    Canadian Province of Quebec, is a large stream despite its short course.

    It rises in Clearwater Lake, about 45 miles long at its greatest length,

    and about 20 miles wide, lying in the angle formed by latitude 56° N. and

    longitude 75° W., at an elevation of 750 feet. Clearwater River issues from

    the northwestern end of the lake by three different outlets, and flows in

    a westerly direction into Richmond Gulf. The three streams combine about

    two or three miles below the lake, continuing as a sluggish stream for two

    miles and breaking over a heavy rapid into a lake about seven miles long

    by about half a mile wide, called Stillwater Lake. Below this, rapids are

    continuous as the stream cuts its way down to the level of Hudson Bay.

            The country between Clearwater Lake and Richmond Gulf consists of a

    plateau about 750 feet above the level of the sea, its surface broken by

    rounded ridges of granitic hills that rise from 100 to 400 feet above the

    general level. Between the ridges, the valleys are filled with long, narrow

    lakes, connected by short stretches of rapids. In its upper reaches, the

    Clearwater, like most other streams in the area, flows almost on the surface,

    but in its final 50 miles it descends by a series of falls to sea level. The

    country is thinly forested, such timber as exists being confined to the

    margins of lakes and the lower portions of the valleys. The greater part

    of the timber consists of black spruce, with a few tamaracks scattered among them.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0186                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Clearwater River

            Clearwater River, in its lower reaches, cuts across an area of late

    Pre-Ca l m brian rocks similar to those exposed in the Ungava Depression in

    which valuable mineral occurrences have been discovered. If similar

    values are discovered along the Clearwater, it is possible that the region

    might one day be of considerable economic importance, especially in view

    of the close proximity of almost unlimited potential power owing to the

    fact that all the streams flowing into Richmond Gulf drop over falls of

    varying heights.


    Dept. of Mines, Quebec. Extracts From Reports on the District of Ungava

    or New Quebec . 1929.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0187                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Clinton-Colden Lake, in the District of Mackenzie, northwestern

    Canada, is one of the series of lakes comprising the Lockhart River system.

    The Lockhart River rises in Mackay Lake to the west and after flowing

    through a series of connecting lakes passes through Aylmer Lake, which

    empties into Clinton-Colden Lake by means of a short stretch of the river at

    Thanakoie Narrows. The Lockhart emerging from the southeastern extrimity

    of Clinton-Colden Lake, enters Ptarmigan Lake and then Artillery Lake and

    finally reaches Great Slave Lake after a circuitous course of 300 miles,

    entering at its eastern end.

            Clinton-Colden Lake, with an area of 253 square miles, has an elevation

    of 1,226 feet, just four feet lower than that of Aylmer Lake, which it re–

    sembles with respect to the nature of its surrounding country. Rocky ridges

    showing up as hills along its borders ex x t end into the lake as points and

    islands, separating long winding bays. The timber on its shores is small,

    and the great extent of rock outcrop precludes any agricultural possibilities.

    Any future economic importance that the surrounding country may have will

    very likely be in the field of mining, since the country is underlain by

    the Pre-Cambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield, which in other places have

    proven productive. However, very little prospecting has yet been done in

    the vicinity owing to its relative inaccessibility and the greater appeal

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0188                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Clinton-Colden Lake

    of areas of equal promise nearer to the necessary transportation facilities.

            Clinton-Colden Lake was named and first explored by George (later Sir

    George) Back, who, in 1833-35, headed an expedition searching for the lost

    British explorer, Sir James Ross, who turned up in England a considerable

    length of time before Back himself returned. In 1900, J. W. Tyrrell, on

    an expedition to explore the Thelon River for the Geological Survey of

    Canada, passed up the lake and portaged across the divide from its northeast



            Back, George. Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition to the Mouth of the

    Great Fish River, and Along the Shores of the Arctic Ocean

    [ ?] n the Years 1833, 1834 and 1835 ; London, 1836.

            Tyrrell, J. W. Annual Report ; Geological Survey of Canada, 1900.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0189                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Cochrane River, northeastern Saskatchewan and northwestern Manitoba,

    Dominion of Danada, drains Wollaston Lake, which lies wholly in the Province

    of Saskatchewan, into Reindeer Lake, which lies on the boundary between that

    province and Manitoba. It flows out of the norther n extremity of Wollaston

    Lake, in latitude 58° 30′ N., longitude 103° W., and flows by a circuitous

    course of about 200 miles into Reindeer Lake, which it enters in latitude 57° 55′

    N. and longitude 101° 30′ W. Its whole course thus lies within one degree of

    latitude and but one and a half degrees of longitude. Wollaston Lake bears

    the distinction of dividing its waters between the Mackenzie River watershed,

    by means of the Fond du Lac River, flowing into Athabaska Lake, and the Hudson

    Bay watershed, by way of the Cochrane River, whose waters are drained into

    Churchill River by the Reindeer River, which discharges Reindeer Lake. And

    since both Wollaston and Reindeer Lakes are so near the height of land them–

    selves, Cochrane River, which flows from one to the other, has few branches;

    and consequently its drainage area is practically restricted to its own

    actual valley. On the west, the Fond du Lac drains the bulk of the territory;

    on the north, the headwaters of the Thlewiaza and Kazan rivers approach close

    to its valley; while, on the east, several rivers flowing into Hudson Bay

    restrict it in that direction. Nevertheless, it carries a considerable

    volume of water, most of which comes from Wollaston Lake.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0190                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Cochrane River

            It is a typical Canadian Shield river, consisting of lakes and lake-

    extensions joined by short stretches of rapid-filled stream. Leaving

    Wollaston Lake, it flows northward, for ten or twelve miles, in a wide

    channel bounded by rocky shores in which many bays occur. It then swings

    northeastward for 10 miles, still quite wide and lake-like, after which it

    turns eastward through several lake-expansions, between two of which it

    flows over the Big Stone Rapids. Two shore stretches of river and two small

    lakes in this eastward course lead to Charcoal Lake, 16 miles long and about

    two miles wide at its widest, lying in a northeast-southwest direction. From

    the northeastern end of Charcoal Lake, the river continues in the same direction

    directly for 10 miles in which it tumbles over Caribou Rapids with a fall of

    25 feet. Another small lake-expansion occurs just as the river crosses the

    102nd parallel of west longitude, which constitutes the boundary between the

    provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Continuing a northeasterly course for

    12 miles, in which two rapids occur with descents of six and three feet, res–

    pectively, Cochrane River reaches its northernmost point in latitude 59° 07′

    N., and then turns abruptly southward through a number of lakeexpansions and

    and a rapid with a drop of seven feet, Shortly after rec or ro ssing the 59th

    parallel, it swings g t o the southwestward for five miles, and then after

    going over a rapid with a four-foot drop, tur s n s sharply to the east, expanding

    again into a winding, lake-like stretch, continuing thus for five miles into

    a small pear-shaped lake. From the southern end of this lake, Cochrane River

    flows southwestward for four miles and then enters the northwestern angle

    of a lake, five miles long, lying in a northwest-southwest direction. This

    lake spills almost directly into Misty Lake over a rapid with a drop of

    five feet. Misty Lake, seven miles at its greatest length by about five

    miles wide, contains several large islands and its shores are indented

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0191                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Cochrane River

    by a number of long arms and bays. Flowing out of the southern side of

    Misty Lake, the river runs southwestward for two and a half miles in a com–

    paratively narrow channel in the course of which it flows over White Spruce

    Rapids, with a fall of six feet. Making a sharp turn to the northeastward,

    it flows in this direction between wide banks, and then again turns south–

    westward to enter a narrow lake 10 miles in length, lying northeast and

    southwest, which does not seem to have a name. Flowing out of the southeastern

    side of this lake, the river proceeds southward with many twists and turns

    for five miles to Lac Brochet, 15 miles long by about five miles at its width

    widest. This lake lies in a northwest-southeast direction, and is heavily

    indented, especially on its northeastern shore, and contains a number of

    islands. Leaving Lac Brochet at its southeastern extremity, the river is

    tortuous, running over three rapids within a short distance, the third of which

    has a fall of 17 feet. It than flows in a generally easterly direction through

    a series of lake-expansions; and, shortly after going over Chipewyan Falls,

    with a drop of six feet, it turns southeastward to enter a narrow, indented

    lake, 15 miles long, lying approximately north and south. After leaving

    this lake, the river flows slightly west of south for 12 miles in a compara–

    tively narrow channel and then enters two parallel lake-expansions, each about

    five miles in length, joined together at their northernmost ends, between which

    a rapid occurs with a fall of four feet. Below the second of these expansions,

    the river flows through a continuous series of expansions, holding a generally

    southwesterly course, broken, however, by only one four-foot rapid until, in

    the final 10 miles, it narrows and rushes between rock-bound walls with a

    drop of 40 feet. Wollaston Lake has an altitude of 1,300 feet and Reindeer

    Lake is at 1,150 feet above sea level, the river thus having a total drop of

    150 feet.

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0192                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Cochrane River

            Cochrane River was first explored by A. B. Cochrane, of the Geological

    Survey of Canada, who ascended it in 1881 from Reindeer Lake to its source

    in Wollaston Lake. Formerly called Ice River, its present name was suggested

    by Cochrane's colleague, Dr. J. B. Tyrrell, and has since been adopted.

    Cochrane's report was not published, but most of the details on available

    maps are derived from his notes.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0193                                                                                                                  

    (Herma Briffault)


            Fort Confidence, 66° 54′ N., 118° 49′ W., at the northeast end of

    Great Bear Lake, immediately west of the outlet of Dease River. In ruins

    at the present time, only gall chimneys stand, like monoliths, where once

    were a group of log houses that served as wintering quarters in 1837 and

    1838 for Thomas Simpson and Peter Warren Dease, who named the place and

    set up the first buildings when commanding the Hudson's Bay Company expe–

    dition sent out to survey arctic coastlines westward from Franklin's

    farthest west and eastward from his farthest east. A large island fronting

    it (Fishing Island) shelters the locality from winds, as do the trees of

    the region. It is one of the few well-wooded spots on the northern shores

    of Great Bear Lake. Over a long period of years, it was a strategic point

    from which to explore the Dease River so that suitable portages for crossing

    to the Coppermine could be laid out. Fort Confidence provided wintering

    quarters for several Franilin search expeditions. Altogether, the site

    is important in the history of the exploration of northern Canada.

            The first constructions, described by Simpson, formed three sides of

    a quadrangle, of which the main building was 40 feet long by 1 e 1 wide, com–

    prising a central hall flanked by two bedrooms. Besides this there was the

    "men's house," a structure 30 feet long and 18 feet wide; a "store," a kitchen,

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0194                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geogr. Briffault: Canada - Fort Confidence

    and "an observatory," the latter two buildings being erected in 1838. No

    nails were used in the buildings, skillful dove-tailing being relied upon

    to give them both neatness and durability. The original buildings were

    subsequently destroyed by fire and were rebuilt by John Bell and Sir John

    R o i chardson in 1848, when wintering on the Franklin search expedition of

    1847-49. "All the houses erected by Dease and Simpson had been burnt

    down," writes Richardson, "except part of the men's building. Mr. Bell reached

    the site on the 17th August and immediately set to work." He constructed

    a storehouse, two men's houses, a house for the officers. Richardson has

    some particular remarks to make on the chimneys: "In the log houses, which

    are commonly erected in this country, the chimneys are massive affairs of

    tempered clay and boulder stones, and require to be leisurely constructed."

    Hence their durability. Dr. John Rae, of the same expedition, wintered

    at Fort Confidence in 1849-50. The buildings were still standing in 1899,

    when Dr. Robert Bell's expedition reached the site in July of that year,

    they were surprised, J. Macintosh Bell relates, "to find the log houses of

    the fort still in good condition, although nearly half a century had

    elapsed since their occupation." When David Hanbury reached the place in

    August, 1902, the buildings were again in ruins, having been burnt a second

    time. The walls and roofs were standing, however, and portions of the

    buildings were capable of being made habitable. When Stefensson reached

    the mouth of the Dease River in the autumn of 1910 (on his expedtion of

    1908-12), nothing remained but the tall chimne [ ?] s. In striking contrast

    to this scene of desolation were the neat stacks of firewood, left by

    Richardson's men and looking as if cut but the previous year, an illustration,

    as he remarks, of the slowness of decay in far northern latitudes. George

    Douglas, in the late autumn of 1911, pitched his tent one night on the old

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0195                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. Briffault: Canada - Fort Confidence

    site, among the ruins.

            C. D. Melvill and John Hornby built their house in 1910 on Bear Lake

    itself, a half mile east of the site of Fort Confidence. The house of

    another famous frontiersman, John Hodgson, also built in 1910, is on the

    east bank of the Dease River, not far away.


            Baird, P. D. "Expeditions to the Arctic," The Beaver , Winnipeg, The

    Hudson's Bay Company, June-September, 1949.

            Bell, J. Macintosh. Report on the Topography and Geology of Great Bear

    Lake and of a Chain of Lakes and Streams thence to Great

    Slave Lake. Geological Survey of Canada, Part C, Annual

    Report, vol. xii. Ottawa, 1901.

            Douglas, George M. Lands Forlorn, a Story of an Expedition to Hearne's

    Coppermine River , New York, G. P. Putnam's, 1914.

            Great Britain, House of Lords, Sessional Papers, Arctic Papers, vol. v, 1852.

    Contains letters from Dr. John Rae to (1) the Secretary of

    g t he Admiralty and (2) Sir George Simpson, dated Nov. 14, 1850

    and April 15, 1851, from Fort Confidence.

            Greely, A.W. A Handbook of Arctic Discoveries , Boston, Roberts Brothers, 1895.

            Hanbury, David T. Sport and Travel in the Northland of Canada , London, Edw.

    Arnold, 1904.

            Richardson, Sir John. Arctic Searching Expedition (etc), London, Longman,

    Brown, Green, 1851.

            Simpson, Thomas. Narrative of the Discoveries on the North Coast of America ;

    Effected by the Officers of the Hudson's Bay Company during

    the Years 1838-39 . London, Richard Bentley, 1843.

            Stefansson, Vilhjalmur. My Life with the Eskimo , New York, Macmillan Co. 1913.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0196                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Coronation Gulf, Mackenzie District, northern coast of Canada, is one

    of the largest indentations on the coast. It lies in an east-northeast

    direction, and is about 100 miles in length and about 55 miles wide, bounded

    on the north by the south coast of Victoria Island. It is entered from the

    west by way of Dolphin and Union Strait, which at the point of entrance is

    about 25 miles wide. Cape Krustenstern, in latitude 68° 28′, longitude

    116° 05′ W., is the eastern extremety of a hooked, rocky promontory rising

    about 100 feet above the water. From Cape Krus [ ?] nstern, the coast forming

    the northern part of the western end of Coronation Gulf runs southward for

    about 13 miles to Locker Point, which is low at the water's edge but is

    overlooked by a high bluff called Kikigarnak some distance back from the

    shore. At Locker Point, the coast turns abruptly westward and continues

    in that general direction for about 18 miles to the entrance to Basil Bay,

    about four miles wide at its mouth, which extends west-northward for about

    eight miles, tapering gradually to a point. The shores of this bay are low,

    with sandy beaches, rising gradually to low hills, which toward the head

    of the bay are covered with grass.

            Cape Hearne, a low shingly promontory, marks the southern entrance to

    Basil Bay. Here, as at Locker Point, the cliffs lie some distance back from

    the shore, rising at their highest to about 200 feet above the intervening

    land. Between Cape Hearne and Cape Kenall, about 14 miles southwestward, a

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0197                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Coronation Gulf

    triangular bay extends back from the line of the coast for about 10 miles

    in a west-northwesterly direction. The shores of this bay are generally

    low and grassy, with cliffs standing at some distance inland to the north.

    Cape Kendall, standing out boldly, about 200 feet above the water, marks the

    northern portal of Richardson Bay, which forms the southwestern extremity

    of Coronation Gulf. Its entrance, from Cape Kendall to Mackenzie Point,

    on the south shore of Coronation Gulf, is about seven miles across, and it

    extends about the same distance southwestward, receiving at its apex the Rae

    River, flowing in from the west. Richardson River, a smaller stream, flows

    into Richardson Bay on its south side. A mile east of Mackenzie Point,

    another, shorter, projection occurs, eastward of which, for four miles, the

    south shore of Coronation Gulf is low and sandy, rising to a gravelly clay

    bank about 100 feet high as the Coppermine River enters in latitude 67° 48′ N.,

    longitude, 115° 30′ W. The river, at its mouth, is about a mole wide; and

    on its southern side it has built up a sandspit which projects from a low,

    gravelly plain [ ?] lying at the foot of clay hills. The river, which rises

    about 500 miles to the southeastward, follows a course slightly east of north

    in its final stretch. The settlement of Coppermine (q.v.) stands on a ridge

    on the western side of the river, and is the most important community east

    of the mouth of the Mackenzie River.

            Eastward from the mouth of the Coppermine River, the coast of Coronation

    Gulf runs irregularly in an easterly direction with a slight bow to the

    southward; the shore is low, with sandy or gravelly beaches. Farther east,

    the coast becomes bolder, with bare, rocky cliffs, swinging to the east–

    northeast. Several rocky points project into the sea in this stre [ c ?] t ch, which

    is also broken by the mouths of several small rivers. Tree River, the largest

    of these, enters a narrow inlet called Port Epworth, extending five miles

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0198                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Coronation Gulf

    southward. The shores of Coronation Gulf and the shores of this inlet are

    from 400 to 500 feet in height, and on the eastern side of Port Epworth a

    granite mountain rises to a height of about 1,000 feet. Beyond Fort Epworth,

    the shore swings more to the northeastward and is roughly indented. Eighteen

    miles northeast of Port Epworth, a rocky promontory extends in the general

    direction of the coast, off the end of which is a large island called Hepburn

    Island. Grays Bay lies in the angle formed by the promontory, and is further

    protected by Hepburn Island. From the bottom of Grays Bay, the coast, still

    high and rocky, trends in a northeasterly direction to Cape Barrow, in

    latitude 68° 04′ N., longitude, 110° 54′ W.

            Continuing the line of the coast northeastward for 40 miles across an

    island-filled indentation, Cape Flinders, the [ ?] southwestern point of

    Kent Peninsula, is reached, marking the eastern extent of Coronation Gulf.

    But extending southward from the line between Cape Barrow and Flinders is a

    stretch of water about 40 miles wide and the same distance north and south.

    This expanse of water forms the entrance to Bathurst Inlet, extending south–

    ward for about 85 miles, as w e ll as the entrance to Melville Sound, extending

    in a northeasterly direction. It is indented on all sides, and might reason–

    ably be considered part of Bathurst Inlet into which it leads. Since, how–

    ever, it is generally considered as part of Cornation Gulf, it is described

    here as such.

            Cape Barrow is the northern extremity of a bold headland consisting of

    pink and grey granite, rising to a height of 340 feet, connected to the

    mainland by a low neck of land a mile or less in width. From Cape Barrow,

    the general trend of the shore forming the western side of this broad indenta–

    tion is southeasterly for about 40 miles, terminating in Kater Point. In this

    004      |      Vol_XIII-0199                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Coronation Gulf

    distance two indentations occur, Detention Bay, about seven miles south of

    Cape Barrow, and Daniel Moore Bay, about eight miles farther to the south–

    east. The latter is about six miles wide at its mouth and about the same

    distance to its bottom. Kater Point is a high, bold headland, which con–

    stitutes the northeastern extremity of a rounded promontory forming the

    western side of Arctic Sound. The latter extends southward for about 15

    miles, the final three of which constitute Baillie Bay, at the entrance to

    which Hood River flows in from the southwest. At the entrance to Arctic

    Sound, and for about seven or eight miles southward, the banks are high and

    rugged, after which they fall away, and the country becomes low and covered

    with grass. The eastern side of Arctic Sound is formed by a long, narrow

    promontory, extending in a north-and-south direction, terminating in Wollaston

    Point, which is generally taken to be the northwestern portal of Bathurst


            A line from Wollaston Point east-northeasterly to Everitt Point, a

    distance of 17 miles, marks the northern limit of Bathurst Inlet. Following,

    now, the eastern side of the indentation connecting Bathurst Inlet with

    Coronation Gulf proper, a shallow bay occurs between Everitt Point and

    Cape Croker, about six miles to the northward, across the mouth of which

    three islands form a chain. Cape Croker, which is on an island off the

    coast, is the southwestern portal of Melville Sound, which extends north–

    eastward for about 30 miles, where it connects by a narrow passage with

    Elu Inlet, which continues in the same general direction for a further

    40 miles, almost severing Kent Peninsula from the mainland. Opposite Cape

    Cro [ ?] er, and forming the northern portal of Melville Sound, are a group of

    islands which enclose Parry Bay on their north side. The western end of

    005      |      Vol_XIII-0200                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Coronation Gulf

    Kent Peninsula extends northward of this group of islands and is cut by

    two deep, narrow indentations, the western shore of the second of which is

    formed by the promontory terminating in Cape Flinders. A line northward

    from Cape Flinders, across the mouth of Dease Strait to the south shore of

    Victoria Island, is generally considered to mark the eastern end of Corona–

    tion Gulf.

            Conration Coronation Gulf, more perhaps than any other stretch of the Canadian

    arctic coast, is filled with islands of all sizes and shapes. A short

    distance off its western shore, just south of the entrance to Dolphin and

    Union Strait, the Duke of York Archipelago consists of a cluster of relatively

    small islands. As is the case with most of the principal islands and other

    geographic features of Coronation Gulf, itself named in honor of the coronation

    of King George IV of England, they were named by Sir John Franklin. The

    Lawford Islands lie off the southern shore of the Gulf, between the mouth

    of Coppermine River and Port Epworth. Hepburn Island, which helps to shield Grays

    Bay, remains a monument to John Hepburn, the seaman from Orkneys to whom the

    Franklin party owed so much. The section between Coronation Gulf proper

    and the entrance to Bathurst Inlet is particularly filled with islands. The

    Wilmot Islands are situated on the line between Cape Barrow and Cape Flinders,

    consisting of a large island and a cluster of smaller ones. Southwestward

    of this group lie the Chapman Islands, similar in characteristics to the

    Wilmot group; and southeast of these lie the Lewes Islands, containing the

    largest island of any in the three groups. Richardson Islands comprise a

    group, of which one is about eight miles in length by about five miles wide.

    These lie close to the Victoria Island shore, just west of a line running

    north from Cape Barrow. Murray Island, about three miles in length by about

    two miles wide, lies a mile or so west of the western end of the largest

    006      |      Vol_XIII-0201                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Coronation Gulf

    Richardson island. It stands out boldly, its southward-facing escarpment

    rising about 500 feet above the water.

            The most important river flowing into Coronation Gulf is, of course,

    the Ccoppermine (q.v.). About 12 miles west of Tree River, the Sallik River

    enters; and between the Sallik and Coppermine two other fairly large rivers

    flow in, the Kugaryuak and the Asiak. In the short stretch between Grays

    Bay and Cape Barrow three streams enter, none of which is of any considerable

    size, but Hood River, which flows into the bottom of Arctic Sound, is a fairly

    large stream.

            The timber line does not approach the coast anywhere along the shore

    of Coronation Gulf nearer than about 40 miles, except for isolated clumps of

    trees, and then only in the valleys of the streams. The land, however,

    except where the rock is exposed, is well covered with grass and lichens,

    and formerly provided pasturage for large herds of caribou and smaller numbers

    of musk oxen. Coppermine River, from the coast as far upstream as Bloody Fall,

    contains plentiful supplies of salmon, trout, and whitefish, which are dried

    by the Eskimos and sold to the Hudson's Bay Company for use at other less–

    favored posts. The region is also well stocked with furs, and the natives

    there are much better off than many others along the coast.

            Coronation Gulf was first explored by Captain (later Sir) John Franklin,

    whose party descended the Coppermine River in 1821 from their base at Fort

    Enterprise, northeast of Great Slave Lake, and then proceeded eastward in

    boats along the coast as far as Point Turnagain, on the northwestern shore

    of Kent Peninsula. On the return journey, the party ascended Hood River for

    some distance and then marched overland to Fort Enterprise, but were reduced

    to starvation before the survivors reached the post, only to find expected

    007      |      Vol_XIII-0202                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Coronation Gulf

    stores of food had not been provided. John Richardson, of the second Franklin

    expedition, explored the western shore of Coronation Gulf as far east as the

    Coppermine River. Thomas Simpson and Peter Warren Dease, conducting explora–

    tion on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1838 and 1839, traversed its

    eastern and southern shores. Stefansson, journeying eastward along the coast

    from his winter camp on the Horton River, traversed the [ ?] western end of

    the gulf as far east as the mouth of Coppermine River, which he ascended.

    The following year, he descended the river and followed the shore westward to

    Dolphin and Union Strait, crossing thence to Victoria Island. And in 1914-16,

    much of the south shore of the gulf was surveyed by members of the Stefansson

    Arctic Expedition 1913-18.


            [ ?] Franklin, John. Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea in

    the years 1819-20-21-22. London, 1823.

            Franklin, John and Richardson, John. Narrative of a Second Expedition to the

    Shores of the Polar Sea in the years 1825, 1826 and 1827 .

    London, 1828.

            Simpson, Thomas. Narrative of the Discoveries on the North Coast of America

    during the years 1836-39 . London, 1843.

            Stefaneson, V. My Life With the Eskimo . New York, 1913.

            O'Neill, J. J. The Geology of the Arctic Coast of Canada, West of the

    Kent Peninsula . Report, Canadian Arctic Expedition,

    1913-1918, Vol. II.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0203                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Cree Lake, in northern Saskatchewan, Dominion of Canada, lies in a

    northeast-southwest direction between latitude 57° 13′ N. and 57° 43′ N.,

    longitude 106° 01′ W. and 107° 13′ W., at an altitude of 1,570 feet above

    sea level, with an area of 350 square miles. It lies just north of the

    height of land separating the watershed of the Churchill River from that

    of the Mackenzie River, and is drained by the river of the same name north–

    ward into Black Lake, thence into Lake Athabaska by Fond du Lac River, and

    ultimately reaches the Arctic Ocean Sea by way of the Mackenzie River. Its

    shores are composed chiefly of Athabaska sandstone, which also composes many

    of the numerous islands with which its expanse is dotted. Its shores are

    heavily indented with the long, irregular inlets, divided by rocky points,

    that are characteristic of lakes in that region.

            The southwestern extremity of Cree Lake consists of two irregular bays,

    separated by a promontory. Similar bays and promontories line the shores,

    east and west and along the northern shore. Back from the shores, to the

    south and east, the country consists of sandy plains, wooded with small

    Banksian pine. Farther north, the country consists of gently rounded

    hills wooded with small pine, where an occasional sandy escarpment stands

    out. The hills and projecting points consist generally of gneiss, but these

    protrude through the overlying Athabaska sandstone. Cree Lake, like many others

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0204                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Cree Lake

    in the same line running northwestward from Lake of the Woods, on the south,

    to Great Bear Lake, on the north, marks the contact between the comparatively

    unaltered Palaeozoic and the highly altered Pre-Cambrian rocks.

            This lake, after the ice sheet had receded, stood at a much higher

    altitude, and was also much larger, as is shown by raised beaches to be seen

    at various places along its shores. The islands with which it is studded,

    except those of sandstone or gneiss, consist mainly of unassorted glacial debris,

    and lie in the same direction as the main axis of the lake. They are more or

    less oval in shape, rounding up from each end toward the middle, which is their

    highest part. The materials of which they are composed seem t o have been

    deposited by glacial streams discharging into crevasses in the ice, which thus

    became filled with unassorted sand and gravel that was left in the shapes now

    seen when the ice melted away from their sides. For these deposits, not quite

    the same in form or composition as eskers, which are also found in many places

    where glacial drift has accumulated, Dr. J. B. Tyrrell has suggested the

    Indian tern ispatinow . The largest island in Cree Lake, of this type, is

    called Ispatinow Island.

            Cree Lake was first explored in 1892 by J. B. Tyrrell, of the Geological

    Survey of Canada, when he ascended the Mudjatik River from Churchill River,

    crossed the divide to a stream flowing northward into Cree Lake and then,

    after traversing the west shore of the lake, descended Cree River to Black

    Lake and the Fond du Lac River, g thence to Lake Athabaska.


    Tyrrell, J. B. Report on the Country Between Athabaska Lake and Churchill

    River. Geological Survey of Canada; Annual Report, Vol.VIII.


    001      |      Vol_XIII-0205                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Cree River, northern Saskatchewan, Dominion of Canada, drains the lake

    of the same name into Black Lake, and is this part of the Mackenzie River

    draindge system. It rises in about latitude 57° 42′ N., and leaves the lake

    as a broad, shallow stream flowing over a bed of broken sandstone fragments

    with a current of from six to eight miles an hour. Six miles below Cree Lake,

    the river drops from 30 to 40 feet in a distance of two miles over what is

    called the Hawk Rapids, and half a mile farther down rushes swiftly between

    walls of sandstone 10 feet in height. The country through which it runs con–

    sists of low hills covered with boulders and thinly wooded with Banksian pine.

    For several miles beyond the swift water last mentioned, the river alternately

    expands into wide bits of quiet water and rushes down stony rapids. Following

    this, it enters a region of morainic hills composed of boulders which rise in

    places to about 100 feet in height, after which a further stretch of sandy

    country occurs. This type of river continues for 20 miles — heavy rapids

    where the stream runs very swiftly, then gradually expanding and running over

    a wide bed of gravel and boulders. At no point does it flow through a

    definitely marked valley, which indicates, of course, the recent nature of

    the channel, and the shortness of time, from a geological standpoint, since

    the recession of the ice sheet. This shortness of time is accentuated by the

    fact that streams in this latitude are frozen for the greater part of the year

    and consequently only during the summer time is much erosive action possible.

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0206                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Cree River

    As the Cree River crosses the 58th parallel, Little Cree River flows in from

    the southwest. A few miles below the mouth of Little Cree River, the main

    stream flows for three-quarters of a mile over a heavy rapid, with another

    nine miles farther down stream. The country here consists of stony hills.

    Following this, the river holds a relatively straight course in a north-

    northeasterly direction, between low, marshy banks in a valley a third of

    a mile wide and 40 feet deep. Rapid River now flows in from the east, and

    four and a half miles below, a series of heavy rapids begins, each separated

    from the next by stretches of quiet water. This series is ended by a rapid

    three miles in length in which the drop is 40 feet. The valley here lies

    between hills of boulders rising from 100 to 150 feet on each side, and the

    bed of the river consists of boulders that have fallen into it from both

    sides. Deep and narrow in its upper part, the rapid spreads near its lower

    end over a wide, shallow, boulder-strewn flood-plain. For four and a half

    miles the river continues wide with low banks, after which a series of rapids

    begins, lasting for four miles to the mouth of the Bad-water River. From the

    mouth of Bad-water River, Cree River flows northward for three miles through

    undulating Trout River and then flows over the last rapid in its course.

            Below the mouth of Trout River, the Cree flows slightly east of north

    for 16 miles to the mouth of Sandy River. Beyond the mouth of the latter,

    Cree River turns sharply to the west and, flowing five miles in that direction,

    enters Wapata Lake, about three miles across, out of which it flows through a

    short lake-expansion before entering the long, narrow southwestern end of

    Black Lake. Cree River is 108 miles long, and in the distance between Cree

    and Black lakes falls 541 feet.

            Cree River was first explored in 1892 by J. B. Tyrrell of the Geological

    003      |      Vol_XIII-0207                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Cree River

    Survey of Canada, who descended it from its source to its mouth as part of

    a reconnaissance survey conducted by him in association with D. B. Dowling

    between Athabaska Lake and Churchill River. While it provides a link in a

    canoe route from Churchill River to Athabaska waters, its difficulties are

    such that few will be tempted to go that way, and consequently, unless

    valuable minerals are some day found along its course, it is likely to

    continue as unfrequented as in the past.


    Tyrrell, J. B. Report on the Country Between Athabaska Lake and

    Churchill River. Geological Survey of Canada,

    Annual Report, Vol. VIII. 1896.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0208                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography - Canada


            Dawson, administrative centre of Yukon Territory, is situated on the

    east bank of the Yukon River, north of its confluence with the Klondike

    River. It is named after Dr. G. M. Dawson, a geologist who explored the

    region in 1887. Dawson is a base of supply and distributing point for

    the Klondike gold-fields, and has a population of about 800. In addition

    to the Dominion Government administrative buildings, Dawson contains a

    Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment, two banks, a telegraph office,

    a Government radio station (Department of National Defence), a weather

    station, a post office, public and separate schools, a public library, a

    hospital, Church of Kngland and Roman Catholic churches, a motion picture

    theatre, stores, hotels, and substantial private residences. The town has

    electric light, telephone, and water services. A system of roads radiates

    from Dawson to the placer mining areas of the Klondike [ ?] istrict where

    large gold dredges operating in the creeks and valleys are of great interest

    to tourists. A ferry provides a means of crossing the Yukon River to West

    Dawson, and a truck and tractor road extends westward to the Alaskan

    boundary and beyond the dredge camps situated on upper Fortymile River in

    Alaska. A landing field for aircraft is located in Klondike River Valley,

    12 miles from Dawson.


    From: Nor' West Miner

    March, April 1950

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0209                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Dease Lake, in Northern British Columbia, slightly more than twenty-

    four miles long and averaging less than a mile wide, lies almost due north

    and south just west of the 130th [ ?] meridian, between the 58th and 59th

    degree of north latitude. Its altitude of 2,660 feet above sea level, is

    only about 100 feet lower than the height of the divide, two miles to the

    south of its upper extremity, which separates the Pacific and Arctic

    watersheds. Dease Lake, on the arctic side of the divide, drains north–

    ward by way of Dease and Liard rivers into the Mackenzie River.

            The lake was discovered in 1834 by John McLeod, Chief Trader of the

    Hudson's Bay Company, who had been stationed at Fort Halkett, on the Liard

    River. In that year he traveled up Dease River and Lake on his way to the

    Stikine River to establish a post for his company. He named both river and

    lake after Peter Warren Dease, a fellow-officer of the Hudson's Bay Company.

    Owing to the intransigence of Russian traders at the mouth of the Stikine,

    who prevented the Hudson's Bay Company's ship, Dryad, from entering the

    river, no post was established in the area at the time, and McLeod returned

    to Fort Halkett.

            In 1838, another Hudson's Bay officer, Robert Campbell, attempted to

    establish a post on Dease Lake, and in the spring of that year succeeded in

    doing so. During the following winter, however, his party had a very difficult

    time. "We were dependent for subsistence on what animals we could catch," he

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0210                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geography: LeBourdais: Canada - Dease Lake

    wrote later, "and, failing that, on ' tripe de roche '. We were at one time

    reduced to such dire straits that we were obliged to eat our parchment windows,

    and our last meal before abandoning Dease Lake, on 8th May, 1839, consisted

    of the lacing of our snowshoes." The post was not reopened.

            Dease Lake was next discovered by gold miners, when Henri Thibert, a

    French-Canadian and his partner, a Scotsman named McCulloch, prospecting up

    the Liard and Dease rivers, reached Dease Lake in 1872; and hearing that

    miners were working on the Stikine to the southwest, continued on to those

    diggings to try their fortune. They found the best ground already taken,

    and the following spring were on their way back to the Liard when they dis–

    covered gold on a creek near the lower end of the lake, which they called

    Thibert's Creek. They remained to work the ground and were later joined by

    others who crossed from the Stikine.

            During that summer gold was also discovered on Dease Creek, which runs

    into the west side of the lake about sixteen miles from its head. The gold

    was coarse and claims were worked for about six miles above its mouth, with

    one or two good claims farther up. Like most placer diggings, however, the

    paystreak was quickly worked out; what may be called the life of the camp

    extended over a period of about twelve to fourteen years.

            Laketon, at the mouth of Dease Creek, was the principal settlement, and

    during the height of the boom was a busy spot. For many years it has now been

    a [ ?] host town, like most others that owe their existence to the vagaries of

    placer gold mining.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0211                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Dease River, in Mackenzie District, northwestern Canada, drains the

    territory northeast of Great Bear Lake, between that lake and the Copper–

    mine River drainage basin, and should not be confused with another river

    of the same name, tributary of the Liard River in northern British Columbia.

    It forms part of a difficult canoe route by way of Dismal Lake to the Copper–

    mine River and thence to the arctic coast at Coronation Gulf.

            The branch of the Dease bearing that name on the map, rises in Lake

    Rouvier, which is about five miles long and lies near the watershed between

    the Dease and Coppermine drainage areas, in approximately latitude 67° 10′,

    longitude 117° 30′ W., and flows westward to its junction with the branch

    called the Sandy River, coming in from almost due north. Above the junction,

    neither branch is really navigable, although the Sandy is considered to be

    the canoe route referred to above. Following the junction, the Dease flows

    southwestward, and is about 20 yards wide, with a sluggish current, flowing

    between moderately high, steeply sloping and occasional cut banks. In one

    place, the river has cut its way through a bed of rock, where a considerable

    rapid occurs. Twenty miles below the junction of the Sandy and the Dease,

    and about the same distance above the river's outlet, the East branch comes

    in. This river was renamed the Stefansson by George M. Douglas because

    Stefansson had his winter camp there in 1910-11, but the change of name has

    not yet appeared on the maps. Below the junction with the East River, the

    002      |      Vol_XIII-0212                                                                                                                  
    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Dease River

    Dease is a broad, shallow stream, averaging about 130 yards wide, contracting

    occasionally, however, to as narrow a stream as 10 or 15 yards. Its current

    is intermittent, flowing in places swiftly over shallow rapids, succeeded by

    deeper stretches where the current is almost sluggish.

            The Dease has figured in a number of famous expeditions and its historic

    interest is out of proportion to its size, length, or any commercial value

    that has so far been disclosed. It comes first into history in 1826, when

    Dr. John Richardson, of the Franklin Expedition, having gone down the Mackenzie

    River to the Arctic Sea, thence eastward to Coronation Gulf and up the Copper–

    mine and Kendall rivers to the source of the latter in Dismal Lake, portaged

    across to the head of the Dease (Sandy River) and descended it to Great Bear Lake,

    proceeding to Fort Franklin at the western end of the lake.

            The next expedition to use the river was that of Peter Warren Dease

    (for whom it was named) and Thomas Simpson, officers of the Hudson's Bay

    Company, when the latter in 1838, from their winter quarters, Fort Confidence,

    at the [ ?] eastern end of Great Bear Lake, ascended the Dease to the head of

    Sandy River and crossed to Dismal Lake, which received its name from him, and

    then descended the Kendall and Coppermine rivers, proceeding eastward along

    the arctic coast. Returning in the fall, he retraced his steps down the Dease,

    and in the following year again made a trip up and down the river.

            During the Franklin search, Dr. John Richardson and Dr. John Rae,

    together in 1848, ascended the Cop p ermine and reached Great Bear Lake by way

    of the Dease. In the second year of the same expedition, after Richardson's

    departure, Rae again followed the Dease route. It is not known that the

    Dease was again used from the close of the Franklin Search until 1900, when

    Dr. J. Mackintosh Bell of the Geological Survey of Canada, accompanied by

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    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Dease River

    Charles Camsell, ascended it to a point from which Lake Bouvier was visible.

    In 1902, David Hanbury came by canoe up the Coppermine and Kendall to the

    west end of Dismal Lake and crossed south to the Dease and thence to Great

    Bear Lake.

            In 1910, the Stefansson party left their sledges near the mouth of the

    Coppermine. They traveled inland, back-packing themselves and their dogs,

    and spent the summer hunting along the Kendall River, Dismal Lake, and the

    headwaters of the Dease, especially about the head of the east branch. That

    autumn, with one Eskimo companion, Stefansson followed the Dease afoot to its

    mouth. He traveled up and down it several times during the winter, for the

    party had their winter quarters near the tree line on the east branch.

            In the autumn of 1910, Joseph Hodgson, a retired Hudson's Bay Company

    trader, built a cabin a short distance up the Dease at what is now known as

    Hodgson Point. He and his family hunted along the Dease that year. And a

    few weeks later (in the autumn of 1910), the English explorers, C. D.

    Melville and John Hornby, built a cabin just east of the site of Fort Confi–

    dence. The autumn of 1911, George M. Douglas and party arrived at the mouth

    of the Dease which they ascended the following year on their way to the

    Coppermine, returning later by the same route, an account of which has been

    written by Douglas.


            Richardson, John. Narrative of a Second Expedition to the Shores of the Polar

    Sea in the Years 1825, 1826 and 1827 , etc.: London, 1828.

            Stefansson, V. My Life With the Eskimo . New York, 1913.

            Douglas, G. M. Lands Forlorn . New York, 1914.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0214                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)


            Dease River, in Northern British Columbia, which drains the lake of

    the same name into the Liar [ ?] , is about 180 miles in length, but, according

    to Dr. George M. Dawson of the Geological Survey of Canada, who surveyed it

    in 1887, "measured in straight lengths of one mile it is one hundred and

    twenty-seven miles." Its general course is N.N.E. Dease River was named

    in 1834 by John McLeod, Chief Trader of the Hudson's Bay Company, after

    Peter Warren Dease, a fellow-officer of the Company.

            The river, after leaving the lake, has an estimated width of from 100

    to 150 feet and a depth of no more than three feet. It twists and turns,

    meandering about a wide, flat valley. About eight miles down stream, the

    river narrows and runs between high mountains on each side, rising from

    1,000 to 5,000 feet. A few miles farther, it expands into a small lake,

    followed within a few miles by three other similar expansions. These lakes

    are from a mile to two miles in length, and impose a limitation upon the

    navigability of the river because the ice usually remains in them for a

    considerable time after it has gone out of the river, and it also forms

    earlier in the fall.

            Dease River is fed by many tributaries and rapidly increases in size.

    The first t ri ir butary of consequence, going down [ ?] tream, is the Cottonwood.

    It comes in from the northwest and occupies a wide valley bordered by high

    mountains. Cottonwood Rapids are passed a short distance below the mouth

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    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Dease River

    of the Cottonwood, [ ?] but offer no serious impediment to navigation

    for experienced canoemen.

            The next important tributary is McDame Creek, coming in from the

    northwest. At its mouth is Sylvester Landing, for many years the site of

    a trading post, originally establish ing ed by R. Sylvester. Gold was dis–

    covered on McDame Creek in 1874, and Sylvester's was the base of supply

    for miners working on that and other nearby creeks.

            Rapid River comes in from the east, just before the Dease, previously

    following a northeast course, makes a sharp swing to the north, which it

    continues for about thirty miles. Here the valley is much wider, the mountains

    recede and are markedly lower. Lateral valleys here, in the leo of the high

    mountains through which the river has just passed, get relatively little pre–

    cipitation, and prospectors and others make a practice of wintering their

    horses in them, owing to the scantiness of the snowfall. The vegetation is

    distinctly that of the "dry belt" and bundhgrass predominates.

            French Creek comes in from the southwest, and shortly after the river

    makes an abrupt turn to the northeast, which general direction it follows

    for the final thirty miles of its course. Blue River joins from the west

    twelve miles from the bend. For the first time the country loses its

    interesting characters; no mountains are to be seen from the river valley,

    although the current continues to be strong. Four miles before the Dease

    reaches the Liard near Lower Post, it rushes over a number of rapids which

    sometimes annoy, if they do not otherwise inconvenience, the voyageur.

    001      |      Vol_XIII-0216                                                                                                                  

    (D. M. LeBourdais)

    DOR e É LAKE

            Dor é Lake, northern Quebec, Dominion of Canada, is one of the sources

    of the Nottaway River, which empties into the lower end of the east side

    of James Bay. It is drained by the Chibougamau River, one of the principal

    tributaries of the Nottaway. Dor e é Lake is a companion-lake to Lake Chibou–

    gamau, in much the same way that Mistassinis Lake pairs with Mistassini

    Lake (q.v.). Dor e é Lake is 12 miles long by about two miles at its greatest

    width, very irregular of outline, and lies in a northeast-southwest direction.

    To look at the two lakes on the map, Dor e é Lake could easily be taken for the

    western section of Chibougamau Lake, separated from it by a narrow, rocky

    promontory and an adjoining island; but Dor e é Lake, at an elevation of 1,218

    feet above sea level, is 12 feet lower than the former, and consequently

    must be considered a separate lake.

            Gouin Peninsula, which, with Ile du Portage, forms the eastern shore of

    Dor e é Lake, ex [ ?] ends for 11 miles in a northeasterly direction, varying in

    width from a quarter of a mile to about a mile and a half. Ile du Portage,

    about three miles long by two miles wide, blocks the northeastern end of

    the long, narrow strip of water constituting Dor e é Lake. Narrow passages

    connecting Dor e é Lake with Chibougamau Lake separate Gouin Peninsula and

    Ile du Portage on the east shore of Dor e é Lake, and between Ile du Portage

    and the western mainland. In addition to the water communication with

    Chibougamah Lake, between the [ northern ?] northeastern extremity of the

    peninsula and Ile du Portage, several portages across the peninsula exit.

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    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Dor e é Lake

            The shores of Dor e é Lake, including Gouin Peninsula, consist of granitic

    rocks, with the exception of part of Ile du Portage and the southwestern

    angle of the lake, near its outlet, which are covered by glacial till and

    where no rock outcrops. The lake contains many small islands, but about

    midway a group of several fairly large islands almost divides the lake into

    two sections. The southwestern end of Dor e é Lake is divided into two deep

    bays by a boreal promontory; from the head of the westernmost of these the

    Chibougamau River, the discharge of the lake, flows southwesterly. Several

    deep irregular inlets indent the west shore, of which [c?] C ache e é Bay and Cedar

    Bay, in the mid-section of the lake, are the principal. A few small streams

    flow into the lake, but its principal inflow is from Chibougamau Lake, of

    which it forms the only outlet.

            The country surrounding Dor e é Lake is well timbered with black and white

    spruce, the former predominating, balsam fir, Banksian pine, white birch,

    with tamarack in the lower, swampy parts. Much of the country has, however,

    been ravaged by fire at different times, and consequently a good deal of the

    timber is second-growth. If it were not so inaccessible, this timber might

    be commercially valuable, at least for pulp. [ ?] he lake is well stocked with

    fish, of which lake trout and whitefish are the principal ones, but quanti–

    ties of brook trout, pike, pickerel, suckers and chub also abound. For over

    a century, the region has produced excellent furs, but excessive trapping'

    has not greatly reduced the number of fur-bearing animals. Steps have been

    taken in recent years to conserve the fur-bear t e rs, but since the region seems

    destined soon to become the scene of active mining operations, wild life will

    doubtless have to give way to the demands of industry.

            The principal minerals of economic importance so far discovered are

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    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Dor e é Lake

    gold-bearing copper culphide and gold quartz, which have been found in a

    number of places. One of the principal deposits up to the time of writing

    is on Cedar Bay, development of which was begun in 1934 by The Consolidated

    Mining and Smelting Company of Canada. No ore has yet been discovered in

    the Chibougamau area sufficiently rich to justify extensive mining operations

    in present circumstances; and therefore all holders of mining properties can

    do is to wait until better transportation facilities are provided.

            The region was visited during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

    by fur traders, missionaries and explorers seeking a route to James Bay.

    Fur, and perhaps some day, timber, seemed all that the country could ever

    be good for, except, for local consumption, the fish with which the lakes

    are filled. The granitic rocks were not then considered likely to contain

    minerals of economic importance. In 1903, however, Peter McKenzie discovered

    what seemed to be valuable deposits of asbestos, gold and copper. At that

    time the greater emphasis was placed upon the presence of asbestos. Many

    other prospectors followed McKenzie and, despite its inaccessibility, interest

    was developed in the possibilities of the area. Since development depended

    almost entirely upon better transportation facilities, the Government of the

    Province of Quebec was pressed to build a railway into the district; but

    before engaging upon such an undertaking, the Government appointed a com–

    mission to investigate the mineral resources. The commission, known as the

    Chibougamau Commission, consisting of Dr. A. E. Barlow, Special Lecturer

    in Economic Geology at McGill University, Montreal, chairman, and E. N.

    Fairbault, of the Geological Survey of Canada, and J. C. Gwillim, Professor

    of Mining at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, entered the region in

    1910. Its exhaustive report, made in 1911, stated that no asbestos deposits

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    EA-Geog. LeBourdais: Canada - Dor e é Lake

    of economic importance had been discovered, and that such gold and copper

    deposits as had been found were not commercially valuable. This report

    seriously retarded the development of the country.

            Opinions in geology, as with all sciences, change as further informa–

    tion becomes available. In 1911, the importance of the vast region of

    northern Canada underlain by Pre-Cambrian rocks was not yet appreciated.

    The gold mines of Porcupine and Kirkland Lake, in northern Ontario, and

    the gold-copper of Noranda, in northern Quebec, had not yet been discovered.

    The Chibougamau area, furthermore, is a difficult country to prospect; in

    addition to the handicap of distance from bases of supply, the rocks are

    thickly covered by moss, requiring costly and laborious stripping before

    their nature can be ascertained. Prospectors, however, continued their