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!
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.