The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  SUMMER 2003










In this issue

Front Page


Summer Packet


From the Editor

Canoelit I

Canoelit II

Discovering Eden

Back page



From the Editor


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 somewhere.)

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 occasionally.

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 three decades.

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 dollars.

For more info

Canada's Endangered Rivers: Rupert Reverence:


                                    Michael Peake

 Summer 2003         Outfit 113 

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