James Bay, ON - Lawrence Laamanen

My Watermark is James Bay, Ontario.

James Bay is part of a motorcycle trip that I took a couple years ago after the big dams were built in Quebec. The journey up was rather interesting in terms of distance, endurance, road surface.

We traveled to a relatively small town called, Radisson, Quebec. It is a site of big hydroelectric projects. Its part of a system that was quite controversial back in the day. We were given a lovely tour of the place by the people of Hydro Quebec. Then we went down to Chisasibi which was on the same system, but closer to James Bay. While we were in Chisasibi, a native community; we saw that they depend on the fishery of James Bay for their economy and food source.

There was a road that went from Chisasibi to James Bay, and a friend and I travelled down that road during late June. The water was very cold. While I was on the shore, it became apparent to me that James Bay was such important of the local community, in terms of food source with their great big frater open boats. They would go out in all sorts of weather conditions and use the same boats to go from one community to another community, along James Bay. There are no roads, so the only form of transportation to the remote communities is through boat, and by water. Of course only during the summer seasons, the water is open. I suppose during the winter they travel across the ice using snowmobiles.

There is just a whole community up there that has been disrupted by the dams in the early 80’s. It’s a historical area, because there has been a community there for over 150 years. James Bay is a mode of transportation, food source, and part of the ecological balance of the absorption of carbon dioxide. As temperatures rise with global warming, it could potentially become a year round seaport. But I don’t know that.

James Bay, ON
Lawrence Laamanen

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