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The Romaine River is a river in the Côte-Nord region of the Canadian province of Quebec. It is 496 kilometres (308 mi) long.[1] It is not to be confused with the Olomane River that is 220 kilometres (140 mi) to the east and had the same name for a long time.

Romaine River
Rivière Romaine
Rivière Romaine.jpg
Physical characteristics
SourceUnnamed wilderness
 ⁃ coordinates52°52′20″N 63°36′55″W / 52.87222°N 63.61528°W / 52.87222; -63.61528
 ⁃ elevation685 m (2,247 ft)
MouthGulf of Saint Lawrence
 ⁃ location
About 15 km west of Havre-Saint-Pierre
 ⁃ coordinates
50°18′08″N 63°48′12″W / 50.30222°N 63.80333°W / 50.30222; -63.80333Coordinates: 50°18′08″N 63°48′12″W / 50.30222°N 63.80333°W / 50.30222; -63.80333
 ⁃ elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length496 km (308 mi)[1]
Basin size14,350 km2 (5,540 sq mi)[1]
 ⁃ average340 m3/s (12,000 cu ft/s)[1]


The Romaine River has its source on the boundary between the Atlantic and Saint Lawrence watersheds, and flows first through a series of lakes, including Long, Marc, Brûlé (Burnt), Lavoie, Anderson, and Lozeau. This portion of the river to just past the confluence with Uauahkue Patauan Creek forms the boundary between Quebec and Labrador. Then it flows in a mostly southerly direction until a dozen miles from the coast where it takes a sharp turn to the west, flowing through a series of swampy waterlogged small lakes. The Romaine River drains into the Jacques Cartier Strait, opposite the Mingan Archipelago, that is part of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.[2]


The name Romaine, in use since the end of the 19th century, is a French adaptation of the Native American term Ouraman or Ulaman as noted by Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin in 1685, while Jacques-Nicolas Bellin wrote Ramane on his map of 1744. It comes from unaman, meaning "vermilion" or "red ochre". Deposits of this material are found on the banks of the Olomane River.[2][3]


The Romaine River basin covers 14,510 square kilometres (5,600 sq mi). It lies between the basins of the Mingan River to the west and the Ours River to the east.[4] The basin includes parts of the unorganized territory of Lac-Jérôme and the municipality of Havre-Saint-Pierre.[5] The Mine du lac Tio, an iron and titanium mine, is in the river basin.[6] It also includes the proposed Buttes du Lac aux Sauterelles biodiversity reserve.[7]


The significant tributaries of the Romaine River are (in upstream order):

  • Puyjalon River
    • Allard River
  • South-East Romaine River
  • Abbé-Huard River
  • Garneau River
    • West Garneau River
  • Little Romaine River
  • Touladis River
  • Sauterelles River
  • Rivière aux Pêchueurs

Hydroelectric developmentEdit

The Romaine River is being developed by Hydro-Québec for hydro-electric power generation. Construction started in 2009 on a new hydroelectric plant, along with four rock-filled dams and a 150 kilometres (93 mi) long access road, that will take 11 years to build at an estimated cost of C$6.5 billion. Called "the biggest construction project in Canada", the project will employ an estimated 2000 people between 2012 and 2016, and create some C$3.5 billion in economic spinoffs.[8][9][10]

The final project will include four new power plants with a total installed capacity of more than 1550 MW and an average annual production of 7.5 TWh per year:[11]

This project is controversial however, as the cost of electricity production will likely be higher than the price at which the electricity will be sold, as shown in a 2010 documentary called "Chercher le courant", "Seeking The Current" in English, by Nicolas Boisclair and Alexis de Gheldère. The film argues that the Romaine project is unnecessary, unprofitable, and ecologically destructive.[12] It is also opposed by the Fondation Rivières.

Name Location (km from mouth) Design flow (m3/s) Capacity (MW) Units Head (m) Est. completion year Reservoir Reservoir size (km2) Geographic coord.
Romaine-1 52.5 485 270 2 61 2016 Romaine-1 Reservoir 12 50°23′01″N 63°15′37″W / 50.3835948°N 63.2603502°W / 50.3835948; -63.2603502 (Romaine-1 (Under Construction))
Romaine-2 90.4 453 640 2 151 2014 Romaine-2 Reservoir 83 50°37′28″N 63°11′34″W / 50.6245286°N 63.1928015°W / 50.6245286; -63.1928015 (Romaine-2 (Under Construction))
Romaine-3 158.6 372 395 2 116 2017 Romaine-3 Reservoir 38 51°06′52″N 63°24′00″W / 51.1144073°N 63.4000397°W / 51.1144073; -63.4000397 (Romaine-3 (Under Construction))
Romaine-4 192.0 307 245 2 93 2020 Romaine-4 Reservoir 140 51°20′52″N 63°29′12″W / 51.3477778°N 63.4866667°W / 51.3477778; -63.4866667 (Romaine-4 (Under Construction))
Romaine River near Havre-St-Pierre


The Romaine River is home to the Atlantic salmon that swims 52 kilometres (32 mi) upstream as far as the Grande Chute. Other fish species are brook trout (found along the river's entire length), lake trout (in most lakes), and landlocked salmon (upstream of Grande Chute).[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Natural Resources Canada, Atlas of Canada - Rivers
  2. ^ a b "Rivière Romaine" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  3. ^ "La Romaine (Réserve indienne)" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2010-10-04.
  4. ^ Portrait préliminaire de la zone ... OBVD, p. 20.
  5. ^ Portrait préliminaire de la zone ... OBVD, p. 64.
  6. ^ Portrait préliminaire de la zone ... OBVD, p. 84.
  7. ^ Portrait préliminaire de la zone ... OBVD, p. 90.
  8. ^ "Ground broken for $6.5B hydro project on Quebec's Lower North Shore". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. May 13, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  9. ^ "The Romaine Hydroelectric Complex - Premier Charest launches largest construction project in Canada". CNW Group. May 13, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  10. ^ "Charest launches construction of Romaine River Hydro project". The Western Star. May 14, 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  11. ^ a b "The Romaine Complex" (PDF). Hydro-Québec. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  12. ^ Chercher le courant