Well, another summer for your
intrepid editor without a northern trip. At least it is
not a searingly hot one here in southern Ontario.
My only northern paddling will occur on the
suitably rocky shores of Georgian Bay. Where, by the time
you are reading this, my wife Margaret along with our
seven-year-old son Tom, will be frolicking on
a rocky island next to a suitably large body of water.
(Okay, they’ll be frolicking, I’ll be lying down
We are taking up one of my Old
Town Trippers, perhaps the 20-footer so we can do some
family paddling into the granite nooks and crannies all
along that incredibly beautiful shoreline. The cottage has
no hydro and we’re relying on solar power, so in many ways
it will be like our recent online canoe trips. Only I’ll
have a softer bed -and a (slightly) better stocked bar.
It will also be a chance for
Tom and I to check out Camp Hurontario, a small boys-only
summer camp also on an island in the Bay just a few miles
south. With my summer camp (Temagami) long gone, I am
thinking of Hurontario for my son in a year or two. Many
of my friends went there and there seems a strong bond
among the campers even after all these years.
Of course, like everywhere,
Georgian Bay is a much busier place than in the 1960s. A
lot of the favourite camping spots have cottages on them
and the boat traffic is greatly increased. One spectacular
rocky island, the last one before "The Open” as they call
the vast expanse of the Bay, was a well-loved camper’s
haunt back then. Now, one of those lucky campers owns the
island, and luckily he’s a friend so I get to visit
Another buddy lives nearby and
has also had us up for visits. For someone cut off from
his beloved Hide-Away Island five years ago and without a
big northern trip to clear the mind and slim the waistline
— it’s a vital respite.
And for the first time in a
while, I have stacked up a pile of books I intend to read
purely for pleasure. Not a rushed read for a review.
Wherever you are finding
pleasure this summer, please do it safely and we’ll all be
back to the grind come September.
Quebec’s mighty Rupert River
has lived with a big target on its back for more than
Originally the first river
to be dammed by the massive and ongoing James Bay
Project in 1971, the mighty stream was able to avoid
attack until recently.
The plan to divert 90 per
cent of its flow northward into the already dry Eastmain
River and then the La Grande system is proceeding this
summer. Unlike 30 years ago, the Crees of northern
Quebec are in support of damming the river – their
life’s blood for millennia.
There is a movement afoot to
oppose the new dams but without official native support
there seems little chance of success. Of course, not all
the Crees of northern Quebec are in favour of the plan —
but a majority is.
Rupert Reverence, a Quebec-based group trying to save
the river are running a special trip down the river this
summer from July 27 — August 18 with Crees and other
volunteers for a run to the Bay and village of
Waskaganish from the highway that crosses at Oatmeal
Falls. Since that distance is only about 70 miles, it’s
a slow pace and a lot of portaging as most of the
river’s big drops occur after Oatmeal. Those would
almost completely dry up as the diversion of the Rupert
would occur upstream near the village of Nemaska.
The Eastmain-1-A project
includes: the Rupert diversion, which redirects most of
the water (up to 800 m3/s) from the Rupert River
watershed into the Eastmain watershed; the construction
of Eastmain-1-A powerhouse on Eastmain-1 reservoir; and
the construction of new structures at the outlet of
Opinaca reservoir. The project calls for the
construction of four dams, 51 dykes, and two diversion
bays flooding an area of 395 sq. km, 12,000
metres of diversion
canals or tunnels, and two permanent access roads. The
cost of this project has been estimated at two billion
For more info
Canada's Endangered Rivers: