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Rupert River
Rupert North Road 2.JPG
Rupert map 2.png
Rupert River original basin in yellow and orange, diverted basin in orange
Native name Rivière Rupert
Country Canada
Province Quebec
Region Nord-du-Québec
Physical characteristics
Main source Lake Mistassini
River mouth Rupert Bay
Waskaganish
Length 763 km (474 mi)
Discharge
  • Average rate:
    900 m3/s (32,000 cu ft/s)
Discharge
(location 2)
  • Location:
    Lake Mistassini outlet
  • Average rate:
    434 m3/s (15,300 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Basin size 43,400 km2 (16,800 sq mi)
Tributaries
  • Left:
    • (upstream)
    • Kaupuschun creek
    • Chikaskutakanich creek
    • Gaulier creek
    • Nastimistech creek
    • Kaipeyach creek
    • Tordu creek
    • Wapamiskushish creek
    • Kaumwakweyuch creek
    • outlet of lake Mézières
    • outlet of lake Du Détour
    • Kawaiskamichisi creek
    • La Marte River
    • outlet of a set of unidentified lakes
    • outlet of a set of unidentified lakes.
  • Right:
    • (upstream)
    • Chikaskutckanish creek
    • Kaneusteko creek
    • Kaneusteko Takutachun creek
    • Papimichunich Kamachisteweyach creek
    • Papimichun Takutachun creek
    • Kapapimichun Takutachun creek
    • Puysh creek) (via the Bras Sipastikw)
    • Itahunan creek (via the Bras Sipastikw)
    • Kapisiyatiwakamiuch creek
    • Jolliet River
    • Nemiscau River (via Nemiscau Lake)
    • Kawasachuck creek
    • Lemare River
    • outlet of lake Kawaskekamach
    • Kayechischekaw creek.

The Rupert River is one of the largest rivers in Quebec, Canada. From its headwaters in Lake Mistassini, the largest natural lake in Quebec, it flows 556 kilometres (345 mi) west into Rupert Bay on James Bay. The Rupert drains an area of 43,400 square kilometres (16,800 sq mi).

There is some extremely large whitewater on the river, but paddlers can avoid much of it by portage routes on the side. The most impressive falls, which cannot be avoided except by portaging, are the "Oatmeal Rapids" right at the James Bay Road (a set of cascades dropping 18 m (59 ft)) and "The Fours" near the end of the river (a 24 m (79 ft) drop).

The Rupert has long been an important river for the Cree of the area. Every year, a group of Cree youth from the village of Waskaganish, at the mouth of the Rupert, travel up the river to Lake Nemiscau.

Major tributaries of the Rupert are (in downstream order):

  • Natastan River (Rivière Natastan)
  • Lemare River (Rivière Lemare) - 1,290 km2 (500 sq mi) subbasin
  • Marten River (Rivière à la Marte) - 4,505 km2 (1,739 sq mi) subbasin
  • Nemiscau River (Rivière Nemiscau) - 3,015 km2 (1,164 sq mi) subbasin

History

In 1668, an expedition led by Médard des Groseilliers came to the mouth of the Rupert River in order to bypass French controlled areas along the St. Lawrence River and in doing so, trying to break the French hold on the fur trade. They named the river after the sponsor of the expedition, Prince Rupert. A fort (originally called Fort Charles) was established at the mouth of the river, which later became the trading post Rupert House, the oldest trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company. From then on, the Rupert River played a vital role in supplying inland trading posts (such as Nemiscau and Mistissini) with regular canoe brigades, right until the beginning of the twentieth century when supplies started to come from the south via rail and later road.

While having lost its importance as a trade route, the Rupert River has long been a popular destination for recreational canoe camping and whitewater canoeing.

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