James Bay Road website


Matagami is the start of the James Bay Road. "Matagami" is a Cree word meaning "where the waters meet". By the time you reach this town, you may already be feeling that you are in a remote area. And you are right. But it's nothing compared to what you will experience once you start up the James Bay Road!

This town was founded in 1963, largely as a result of mining and forest activity in the area. The name Matagami means "meeting of waters"; the town is located at the confluence of the Bell, Allard and Waswanipi Rivers flowing into Lake Matagami. In earlier days, the discovery of vast halieutic (fish) resources in the region led to a fishing industry with the Nottaway Fish Company supplying the Hudson Bay Co. post. Dr. Robert Bell, a geologist working for the Canadian Government, explored the region in 1895. His discoveries and analyses gave birth to the area's first mining operations. In 1960, timber companies set up shop and a new industry was born. Today, Noranda Mines and Domtar Paper are two of the main employers in this small northern town. Matagami's development was also a result of the gigantic hydroelectric projects undertaken in James Bay.

Most services are available in town (gas, stores, motels, etc). FILL UP with fuel if you're traveling north - the next gas station is 381 km away! The Shell station (the first one you encounter on your way in to town) is open 24 hrs, 7 days a week - there's also a basic store here where you can get ice, some groceries, and other things.
In May 2008 regular gas was $137.4/liter, diesel was $151.9/liter.

There is a 3.5km hiking trail along the Bell River, with an observation tower.

The town of Matagami official website: http://www.matagami.com.

Mont Laurier is just north of Matagami, and offers an extensive network of hiking trails with a spectacular view at the top.

From Here to: Km Miles
Amos 182 113
Brisay 1126 698
Caniapiscau 1210 750
Chibougamau (via James Bay Road & North Road) 696 432
Chisasibi 690 428
Eastmain 454 281
Nemaska 391 242
Radisson 620 384
Wemindji 614 381
Waskaganish 339 210

Map of Matagami

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Matagami    Waskaganish    Nemaska    Eastmain    Wemindji    Chisasibi    Radisson

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