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Richmond Gulf
Lac Guillaume-Delisle
Satellite view
Location Nunavik, Quebec
Coordinates 56°15′00″N 76°17′00″W / 56.25°N 76.2833333°W / 56.25; -76.2833333Coordinates: 56°15′00″N 76°17′00″W / 56.25°N 76.2833333°W / 56.25; -76.2833333
Primary inflows Clearwater River
Primary outflows Le Goulet
Basin countries Canada
Max. length 61 km (38 mi)
Max. width 22 km (14 mi)
Surface area 712 km2 (275 sq mi) [1]
Settlements Umiujaq
References [1]

Richmond Gulf (French: Lac Guillaume-Delisle; Inuktitut: Tasiujaq (which resembles a lake)) is a large triangular-shaped inland bay located on east side of Hudson Bay just above 56th parallel north in Quebec, Canada.

In 2008, regional councellors asked the Commission de toponymie du Québec to rename Richmond Gulf officially as Lac Tasiujaq.[2]

A vast area surrounding the gulf, Clearwater Lakes (Lacs à l'Eau-Claire), and Iberville Lake (Lac D'Iberville) is being studied for inclusion in a new Quebec park, Lacs-Guillaume-Delisle-et-à-l'Eau-Claire National Park. This proposed park of 15,549 square kilometers (6,004 sq mi) would become Quebec's largest park (excluding wilderness reserves).[3]

Contents

Geography

The topography of the Richmond Gulf is the consequence of two geological faults running parallel to the coast. The resulting dislocation has given rise to the cliffs that dominate the western shore of the Gulf.[4]

The western shore is guarded by the steep ramparts of sedimentary rock that rise abruptly out of the brackish waters. This unusual coastal relief of asymmetrical hills are the Hudsonian Cuestas and the highest system of cuestas found in Quebec.[3] There is only one narrow breach in these fortifications at the extreme southwest end, called "Le Goulet" (French meaning "narrows" or "bottleneck"), which is a cataclinal valley 5 kilometers (3 mi) long, 300 to 600 metres (980 to 2,000 ft) wide and fringed by cliffs 200 meters (656 ft) high.[3] A large volume of water surges through it with the rise and fall of the tides, creating water level differences of about 0.5 meters (1.6 ft).[1] Consequently this passage does not freeze in the winter.

The eastern shore rises more gradually and is largely Canadian Shield rock, overlain in many places by basalt. Several large rivers enter Richmond Gulf in boisterous rapids or sheer falls[5] (e.g. Clearwater River).

Point Pamiallualuk is a narrow spur of rock that juts out some 2 km into Hudson Bay, just north of Le Goulet. Here, the north-flowing tidal current of Hudson Bay collides with weaker counter-current to produce a lot of agitation, which is further enhanced by the strong wind[4].

On the south shore, there are the remnants of an abandoned Hudson's Bay Company trading post, called Fort Richmond, which operated from 1750 to 1759 and from 1921 to 1927.[6][7]

History

In 1744, Thomas Mitchell, captain of a small ship in service of the Hudson's Bay Company, entered the lake and named it "Sir Atwell's Lake", most likely in honour of HBC Deputy Governor Sir Atwell Lake, whose surname "Lake" became a source of confusion. Mitchell also recorded that same year the Cree name "Winipeq" for this location. The map of William Coats (1749) identified the lake under the Cree name "Artiwinipeck" and in English as "Sir Atwell's Lake".[1]

In 1750, the Hudson's Bay Company opened a trading post on an island known as Factory Island off the south shore of the lake. But its low profitability led to its closure in 1759. Later on this body of water would be given several other names, particularly "Winipeke Bay", "Hazard Gulf", "Gulf of Richmond," and "Richmond Bay" until the Geography Commission of Canada accepted Richmond Gulf in 1905. The reason for this choice is not clear: it may refer to the Duke of Richmond or the name of Thomas Mitchell's small vessel.[1]

In 1962, the Quebec Government decided to give French names to places in the northern Quebec and changed the name to "Lac Guillaume-Delisle", in honour of renowned cartographer and First Royal Geographer of France, Guillaume Delisle (1675-1726).[1]

Flora and fauna

The many rivers flowing into Richmond Gulf make its water brackish but a healthy habitat for brook trout and whitefish, beluga and seal[6]. Many species of birds, such as common loons, eider ducks and peregrine falcons, find summer shelter and nest here.

There are few scattered black spruce and larch in the surrounding tundra.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Lac Guillaume-Delisle" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. http://www.toponymie.gouv.qc.ca/ct/topos/carto.asp?Speci=27441&Latitude=56,25&Longitude=-76,28333&Zoom=1700. Retrieved 2009-01-27.  
  2. ^ Peake, Michael (June 2008). "Canoesworthy". Che-Mun magazine (133): 3.  
  3. ^ a b c Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs, Provisional Master Plan Parc national des Lacs-Guillaume-Delisle-et-à-l'Eau-Claire, Quebec, 2008, ISBN 978-2-550-52710-7 (Online version)
  4. ^ a b Pohl, Herb (2007). The Lure of Faraway Places. Toronto: Natural Heritage Books. pp. 135. ISBN 978-1-897045-24-4.  
  5. ^ Pohl, Herb (2007). The Lure of Faraway Places. Toronto: Natural Heritage Books. pp. 85. ISBN 978-1-897045-24-4.  
  6. ^ a b "Nunavik Village of Umiujaq". http://www.nvumiujaq.ca/en/index_eng.htm.  
  7. ^ Hudson's Bay Company Archives
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