Grey Goose Island

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Grey Goose
Location James Bay
Coordinates 53°54′N 79°54′W / 53.9°N 79.9°W / 53.9; -79.9 (Grey Goose Island)Coordinates: 53°54′N 79°54′W / 53.9°N 79.9°W / 53.9; -79.9 (Grey Goose Island)
Archipelago Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Nunavut Nunavut
Region Qikiqtaaluk
Population Uninhabited

Grey Goose Island is one of several, larger, uninhabited Canadian arctic islands in Nunavut, Canada located within the midsection of James Bay. Other comparable islands in the area include the Bear Islands, North and South Twin Islands, Spencer Island, Sunday Island, and Walter Island.[1] La Grande River and the Cree village of Chisasibi, Quebec are 65 km (40 mi) to the southeast.[2]

The island is low-lying and flat, dominated by rock and sand. It is devoid of trees, although there are grasses and other hardy plants. It is frequented by Arctic fox, Ringed seal, Beluga whale, caribou, and polar bears.[1] A major migration route for geese,[3] notable bird populations include American pipit, Arctic tern, black guillemot, common eider, common loon, great black-backed gull, gyrfalcon, herring gull, Pacific loon, purple sandpiper, red-necked phalarope, red-throated loon, and semipalmated plover.[4]


Grey Goose Island's history includes a visit by Robert J. Flaherty in 1910 during the First MacKenzie Expedition,[5] as well as the stranding of the MV North Star IV in 1961 after it hit an uncharted rock.

During the Cold War period of 1958 to 1965, Canada permitted the United States to practise high-altitude photographic reconnaissance over Grey Goose Island with the RB-52C Stratofortress.[2] M120 photoflash bombs were used, and possibly practice bombs. Small-calibre machine gun rounds may have been fired. Because of the possibility that unexploded explosive ordnance or other munitions are buried in the ground,[6] or may still remain on the island, Canada’s Department of National Defence has retained the area. However, occasionally, the island's wildlife resources are harvested by the Cree.[2]


  1. ^ a b Derocher, Andrew E. (1998). Polar bears: proceedings of the Twelfth Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group, 3–7 February 1997, Oslo, Norway. IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group Working Meeting. IUCN. p. 81. ISBN 2-8317-0459-6. 
  2. ^ a b c "The UXO Hazards Grey Goose Island". 23 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  3. ^ Lackenbauer, P.W.; M. Farish (2007). "The Cold War on Canadian Soil: Militarizing a Northern Environment" (PDF). Environmental history. Durham, N.C.: American Society for Environmental History and Forest History Society. 12 (4): 12. [dead link]
  4. ^ "James Bay Islands Bird Survey 1997: Northeast James Bay". Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  5. ^ Christopher, Robert J.; Frances Hubbard Flaherty; Robert Joseph Flaherty (2005). Robert and Frances Flaherty: A Documentary Life, 1883-1922. McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 51, 52, 82. ISBN 0-7735-2876-8. 
  6. ^ Farrell, Jim (February 5, 2008). "WWII bomb scare at golf course". Retrieved 2009-04-20.