George River (Quebec)

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Coordinates: 58°49′00″N 66°10′00″W / 58.81667°N 66.16667°W / 58.81667; -66.16667
George River
Rivière George
1362 LK George River (pano).jpg
Country Canada
Province Quebec
Region Nord-du-Québec
Source Lake Jannière
 - location Lac-Juilet Unorg. Territory, Caniapiscau RCM
 - elevation 488 m (1,601 ft)
 - coordinates 54°51′30″N 63°55′30″W / 54.85833°N 63.92500°W / 54.85833; -63.92500
Mouth Ungava Bay
 - location 18 km NW of Kangiqsualujjuaq, Kativik
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 58°49′00″N 66°10′00″W / 58.81667°N 66.16667°W / 58.81667; -66.16667
Length 565 km (351 mi) [1]
Basin 41,700 km2 (16,100 sq mi) [1]
 - average 940 m3/s (33,200 cu ft/s) [1]
Map of the George River basin

George River (Inuktitut: Kangirsualujjuap Kuunga (river of the great bay), Naskapi: Mushuan Shipu (River without trees), Innu: Metsheshu Shipu (Eagle River))[2]) is a river in northern Quebec, Canada, that flows from Lake Jannière mainly north to Ungava Bay.

The George is a big and wide river. It offers relatively easy and inexpensive access to Ungava Bay, compared to other major rivers of this area, making it popular for canoe camping trips.


The George River originates about 175 kilometres (109 mi) east of Schefferville in Lake Jannière, between bogs and swamps. The headwater lakes are shallow, connected by rushing rapids. After Lake Advance, the river runs through heavy whitewater until it reaches Indian House Lake (Naskapi: Mushuan Nipi (The big lake in the barrens)[3]), which stretches 60 kilometres (37 mi) if measured by Canadian topo maps, or 100 kilometres (62 mi) if measured by its flatwater character.

After Indian House Lake, the George really starts to flow. It offers an abundance of rapids with various levels of difficulty until it reaches Kangiqsualujjuaq close to Ungava Bay. Because of its easy access, many people without the necessary experience and skills have travelled this river and unfortunately some lost their lives. The river is big and powerful – the French word "Fleuve", also used to describe the Saint Lawrence River, describes its character better than the word "Rivière". The power of the George leaves no room for error. Climatic conditions are ideal for hypothermia. Canoeists have to contend also with serious tidal effects in the last 40 kilometres (25 mi).


The George River was (re)named on 12 August 1811, by two Moravian missionaries Benjamin Gottlieb Kohlmeister and George Kmoch.[4] These two missionaries came first to Okak in Labrador,[4] then to Ungava Bay with a vision to evangelize the Inuit. They wrote in their diary: "We then proclaimed the name of the Kangertlualuksoak henceforth to be 'George River' ".[2][4] The Moravian brothers wanted to honour George III, king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760, who, in 1769, granted the Moravians land on the Labrador coast for permanent settlement.[4]

In the winter of 1839–1840, the Hudson's Bay Company built a post called Fort Trial on the eastern shore of Indian House Lake. It was functional only until 15 June 1842.[5][6] Well into the twentieth century, this lake appeared as "Erlandson's Lake" on charts, and Fort Trial was often referred to in HBC correspondence as "Erlandson's Post",[7] named after Erland Erlandson, HBC clerk and the first European to travel overland from Hudson Strait to the Atlantic coast.[8]

The George River was associated with the ill-fated Leonidas Hubbard expedition of 1903 and the subsequent successful canoe expeditions of Mina Hubbard and Dillon Wallace in 1905, and Hesketh Prichard in 1910.

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  1. ^ a b c Natural Resources Canada, Atlas of Canada – Rivers
  2. ^ a b FQCK (2008). Guide des parcours canotables du Québec, Tome II. pp. 234–235. ISBN 2-89000-504-6. 
  3. ^ Lawrence W. Coady (2008). The Lost Canoe: A Labrador Adventure. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-55109-658-2. 
  4. ^ a b c d Lawrence W. Coady (2008). The Lost Canoe: A Labrador Adventure. pp. 129–130. ISBN 978-1-55109-658-2. 
  5. ^ "Hudson's Bay Company Archives". Manitoba Government. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  6. ^ Lawrence W. Coady (2008). The Lost Canoe: A Labrador Adventure. p. 161. ISBN 978-1-55109-658-2. 
  7. ^ Lawrence W. Coady (2008). The Lost Canoe: A Labrador Adventure. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-55109-658-2. 
  8. ^ Alice M. Johnson (2000). "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 

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