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
The town of Matagami official website:
is just north of Matagami, and offers an extensive network of hiking trails with
a spectacular view at the top.