Abitibi River

The Abitibi River is a river in northeastern Ontario, Canada, which flows northwest from Lake Abitibi to join the Moose River which empties into James Bay. This river is 540 kilometres (340 mi) long, and descends 265 metres (869 ft).[2]

Abitibi River
Abitibi River.JPG
Abitibi River at Iroquois Falls
Abitibi River is located in Ontario
Abitibi River
Location of the mouth of the Abitibi River in Ontario
EtymologyAlgonquin language
Physical characteristics
SourceLake Abitibi
 • location38 km east of Iroquois Falls
 • coordinates48°47′06″N 80°10′23″W / 48.78500°N 80.17306°W / 48.78500; -80.17306
MouthMoose River
 • location
30 km SSW from Moosonee
 • coordinates
51°04′17″N 80°55′32″W / 51.07139°N 80.92556°W / 51.07139; -80.92556Coordinates: 51°04′17″N 80°55′32″W / 51.07139°N 80.92556°W / 51.07139; -80.92556
Length540 m (1,770 ft) to head of Lac Loïs[1]
Basin size29,500 km2 (11,400 sq mi)[1]
Basin features
 • leftBlack River, Frederick House River, North Driftwood River
 • rightSucker River, Little Abitibi River

Abitibi is an Algonquin word meaning "halfway water", derived from abitah, which may be translated as "middle" or "halfway", and nipi, "water". Originally used by the French to designate a band of Algonquin Indians who lived near the lake, the name was descriptive of their location halfway between the trading posts on the Hudson Bay and those on the Ottawa River.[2][3]

The river was an important fur trading route for the Hudson's Bay Company. Formerly,[when?] pulp and paper, centered on the town of Iroquois Falls, was an important industry in the heavily forested region through which it flows.[2] The region also supports tourism and gold mining.[2]

The Abitibi Canyon Generating Station is located on the river at Abitibi Canyon. The experience of surveying the river for the purposes of building this plant was the inspiration for folk singer Wade Hemsworth's "The Black Fly Song".


Description of river course (in downstream order):


Protected areasEdit

A small portion of the river (from the outlet of Lake Abitibi to Couchching Falls) is protected in the Abitibi-De-Troyes Provincial Park. Until April 2005, this park included all the public lands stretching along the Abitibi River to Iroquois Falls, but most of these were deregulated because the significant amount of private land within the area that made the management of the waterway class provincial park difficult.[4]

Power generationEdit

Otter Rapids Generating Station as seen from the ONR railway.

The Abitibi River is used extensively for the hydro-electric power generation. Power stations on the river are in downstream order:

Installation Capacity Head Year built Operator Notes
Twin Falls 27.5 MW 17 m (56 ft) 1922 H2O Power 5 vertical Francis turbines[5]
Iroquois Falls 29.7 MW 13 m (43 ft) 1914 (rebuilt 2003) H2O Power 9 vertical Saxo Kaplan, 3 horizontal double Francis turbines[6]
Long Sault Rapids 16 MW 9 m (30 ft) 1998 Algonquin Power Systems Run-of-the-river
Island Falls 44.3 MW 19 m (62 ft) 1925 H2O Power 4 vertical Francis turbines[7]
Abitibi Canyon 345 MW 1933 Ontario Power Generation 5x 68.8 MW Francis turbines
Peter Sutherland Sr. 28 MW 2017 Ontario Power Generation actually on New Post Creek[8]
Otter Rapids 180 MW 1961 Ontario Power Generation 4x 45 MW turbines

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Atlas of Canada Archived 2007-04-04 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abitibi River". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. pp. 33. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
  3. ^ Hamilton, William (1978). Canadian Place Names. Macmillan of Canada. p. 132. ISBN 0-7715-9754-1.
  4. ^ "Abitibi-de-Troyes Provincial Park Management Statement". Ontario.ca. Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Twin Falls Generating Station". h2opower.com. H2O Power. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Iroquois Falls Generating Station". h2opower.com. H2O Power. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Island Falls Generating Station". h2opower.com. H2O Power. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Our projects: Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station". opg.com. Ontario Power Generation. Retrieved 20 September 2021.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Abitibi River at Wikimedia Commons