Local People's Favourites

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Favourite places for residents of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James!

Living in Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is like being on vacation all year round! Because as soon as you set foot outside, you are filled with a sense of freedom. With all its lakes and rivers, dense forests, and large plains where the trees shrink, it is no wonder that the territory is the perfect playground for fishermen, snowmobilers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

While the region receives its share of visitors from elsewhere each season, more than 30,000 people live here year-round. For them, nature is a place of relaxation, challenge, adventure, and well-being. Each season offers many possibilities that make each outdoor outing unique.

Here are some of the favorites of Eeyou Istchee Baie-James residents!

The forest, Angel's Favourite

To be born, grow up and live in Eeyou Istchee, the land of her ancestors, is for Angel the most beautiful gift. Her grandparents had camps in various locations, which inspired her to have her own cabin on the shores of a lake. This is where Angel and her family meet to disconnect from everyday life and reconnect to the essentials. When she takes the time to watch the sun rise and set, surrounded by this immense forest, Angel thinks of her grandparents and their nomadic lifestyle. If the difficult excursions were necessary for their survival, they were also rewarded by this territory full of treasures. For Angel, the territory left by the ancestors to future generations is the most beautiful of legacies and, above all, a precious gift that must be taken care of to offer it in turn to her own children.

Kayaking on LAC Chibougamau, Johan's favourite

Living in Chibougamau for a few years, Johan immediately knew how to take advantage of his proximity to nature. He rapidly discovered his surroundings aboard his kayak. He was not long in discovering the surroundings aboard his kayak well equipped! Lac Chibougamau, his favorite place to paddle, is only ten minutes away from his home. This way, he can simply leave after a day's work and relax on this vast body of water before returning home in time for supper, when he does not stay to eat watching the sunset! When he finds himself in the middle of the lake, he can appreciate the vastness of the region, which reminds him of his days sailing on the Mediterranean Sea, no less! Because he is an experienced kayakist, he enjoys the waves on the lake on windys days.

The innumerable islands and fine sandy beaches are perfect for a break. Johan likes excursions on Lac Chibougamau, where his only company are loons and fish.

Parc Opémiska, Stéphanie's favourite

For Stéphanie, parc Opémiska is both a place to go for a walk to relax and enjoy nature, and a jewel of human ingenuity.

More than twenty years ago, a mine reigned supreme over this piece of land. After its closure in the 90s, a revegetation project was launched to restore nature to its former glory. And it is the ashes from Chapais Énergie, a cogeneration plant located a few kilometers away, that are used to bring the land back to life. Thus, in just twenty years, this site has become a sanctuary for wildlife, especially bird life. More than 80 species of birds have been recorded here, making this park perfect for their observation. With its ponds, swallow nesting boxes and beehives, parc Opémiska is an ideal place to go for a walk and observe the various forms of wildlife present in this environment.

Mont Laurier, Aude's favourite

Mont Laurier is a must for visitors and Matagami residents alike! Whatever the season, Aude loves to hike up to the summit and have lunch there while admiring the panoramic view that is offered to her. If you see the town of Matagami and the Route Billy-Diamond, the expanse of forest, with its lakes and rivers, reminds you that the nearest town is more than 100 kilometers away.  Here, one is and feels in the heart of a wonderful nature that abounds with possibilities.

Fishing on the Caniapiscau Reservoir, Jonathan's favourite

For several years now, Jonathan has been living his dream vacation every summer in his own region! Resident of Matagami and now Lebel-sur-Quévillon, Jonathan is looking forward to the ten days he will spend even further north, at the very end of the road, on the shores of the Caniapiscau reservoir! He and his friends from the "South" will drive up to 25 hours to reach the Promised Land, a long roadtrip that is obviously part of the adventure. All great fishing enthusiasts, each member of the group catches 6- or 7-pound grey trout on the shore and 20 pounds offshore. Enough to satisfy the greediest! If fishing is the main objective of the trip, Jonathan does not fail to appreciate what the distance brings: tranquility, silence, wildlife, northern lights and long summer days.

Chisasibi, its culture and its stars, Khanh's favourite

It is at the very end of the road, in Chisasibi, that Khanh found himself for a few years before going back down south, to settle in Mistissini. There, of course, he discovered a strong and dynamic culture. He had the chance to attend traditional ceremonies such as the Pow Wow and the Walking Out Ceremony. For him, it was a great chance to attend these events, to observe the transmission of the culture, and to see the pride in the eyes of the elders.

Khanh also enjoyed the spectacular skies: the Milky Way, the Northern Lights and the 1001 colors rewarding those who take the time to look up and contemplate.

Chemin Jourdain's trail, Sylvie's favourite

In winter, Sylvie likes to take the Chemin Jourdain's trail in Chibougamau, which she considers her peaceful spot. Accompanied by her faithful four-legged companion, she takes the time to recharge her batteries. She crosses a brook which, despite the harshness of winter, never freezes, reminding her that everything is constantly in motion. Here too, the summit offers a breathtaking view of Lac Caché, Lac David and, of course, the boreal forest that stretches for miles.

Lac Matagami's bras Nord Beach, Marie-Ève's Favourite

Marie-Ève's little piece of paradise is the beach on the North arm of Lake Matagami. Located about twenty kilometers from the city, Marie-Ève and her family go there several times during the summer to enjoy its tranquility and beauty. Only accessible by boat, the beach is not visited by many and remains a hidden treasure of the North. The beach is a great place to cool off on hot summer days (yes, it can get very hot up here!). But it is also a great place to cool off on mild evenings, when you want to watch the sun set and make way for the Milky Way.

The most amazing thing about it? Beaches like this one, there are many and on many lakes! This is the advantage of our soils, which are ideal for fine sand beaches that are comparable to popular sun destinations!

Radisson's snowmobile chalet, Stéfanie T.'s favourite

A long-time Radisson resident, and now a citizen of Matagami, Stéfanie still has a soft spot for the Radisson Snowmobile Club's chalet! It is often said that the North is where you can see far behind and far ahead... It is very true here! While the clubhouse is perched on a plateau, there is a view of the landscape that stretches all the way to the LG2 dam. For Stéfanie, the chalet is a comforting place during snowmobile outings, an ideal place to grab a bite to eat, regain strength and even watch the sunset.

Psst : another one of Stéfanie's favorites? A visit to the Aménagement Robert-Bourassa (LG2), where you realize the scope of the work and the force of the water. She particularly enjoys walking on the dam and admiring the Giant Stairs on one side and the immense reservoir on the other.