The Ottawa River is Canada’s eighth largest river and the chief tributary of the St. Lawrence. Beginning in the Laurentian Mountains, it flows west before turning southeast to form a portion of the border between Ontario and Quebec. It drains an area twice the size of New Brunswick. As the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, a key route in the fur trade and the site of a 19th-century timber boom, the Ottawa River has played an important role in Canada’s history and economy. Its diverse ecosystems, which are currently the focus of several conservation efforts, are home to rich plant and animal life. The river also sustains urban areas along its shores, the largest being the Ottawa-Gatineau area.
Rivière Saint-Maurice, 563 km long, rises upstream from Réservoir Gouin, 200 km west of Lac Saint-Jean, Québec. It drains a basin of 43 300 km2. After its confluence with Rivière Manouane, it feeds Réservoir Blanc and then takes in the Vermillon, Trenche, Croche, Mattawin and Mékinac rivers.
The Detroit River, 52 km long, flows south from Lake ST CLAIR to the west end of Lake ERIE, forming part of the boundary between Ontario and Michigan. Detroit, Michigan, and WINDSOR, Ontario, dominate its shores. Part of the ST LAWRENCE SEAWAY, it is heavily used by commercial traffic.
The Fraser River is the longest river in British Columbia, stretching 1,375 km. It begins on the western side of the Rocky Mountains at Mount Robson Provincial Park, and ends in the Strait of Georgia at Vancouver. Named for explorer Simon Fraser, the river was a transportation route and source of food for the Indigenous people of the region long before Fraser travelled its waters. In 1858, gold was discovered on sandbars south of Yale, setting off the Fraser River Gold rush.2
Attawapiskat River, 748 km long, formed by the confluence of the Pineimuta, Trading and Otoskwin rivers at Attawapiskat Lake, in northeastern Ontario, flows east, jogs north and runs east to the flatland by James Bay. Its drainage area is 50 200 km2 and its mean discharge 626 m3/s.