The drainage basin is the ancestral lands of the Cree and Ojibwa, who continue to hunt and fish here. They participated in the fur trade after the HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY (HBC) established a post at the river's mouth between 1675 and 1679. The river was then known by its Cree name, Chichichiwan or Chichewan (meaning "many rivers forming one which flows to the ocean"). In 1683, the British named the fort and river for the duke of Albany, later King James II. The Albany River was an active FUR-TRADING ROUTE, though less favoured than the HAYES RIVER because of its poorer links to other river systems. The first YORK BOATS were built for use on the Albany. Henley House, the HBC's first inland post, was erected in 1743 at the confluence of the Albany and Kenogami rivers. More successful was Osnaburgh House in the Upper Albany on Osnaburgh Lake. The river continued to be important in the FUR TRADE until 1932 when a railway was completed to MOOSONEE.
The Albany River is one of the few remaining pristine rivers in Ontario. Access is limited with only one highway (599, built in 1956) passing through Osnaburgh to the mining community of Pickle Lake, and there are airports at Fort Albany and Kashechewan (both near its mouth), Marten Falls (Ogoki), Fort Hope, Slate Falls and Cat Lake. Except for Pickle Lake, which lies about 40 km north of Osnaburgh Lake, these are Cree (Fort Albany and Kashechewan) or Ojibwa communities whose economies are a mixture of subsistence pursuits, traditional activities (fishing, hunting and trapping) and government services augmented with tourism and some employment in regional mining and forestry projects. The Middle Albany is protected by Albany River Provincial Park.
Author GAIL KUDELIK
Links to Other Sites
This Ontario Parks map highlights major parks, communities, rivers, and lakes in Northwestern Ontario.
Atlas of Canada
Search the Atlas of Canada site for maps that depict the locations of features mentioned in this article, including the Albany River, Ogoki River, and Epy Falls.
Interbasin Water Transfer Projects In North America
Scroll down to Page 5 for a map and brief description of the Ogoki River Diversion. From the North Dakota State Water Commission.
Canoe Adventures in Ontario
This recreational guide focuses on wilderness canoeing locations in Northwestern Ontario, including Wabakimi Provincial Park, the Albany River, and more.
The Wabakimi Project
The website for The Wabakimi Project, which is devoted to exploring and documenting the historical and traditional canoe routes of Wabakimi Provincial Park. Check out the descriptions of the park's natural history, heritage, hydrology, and current recreational activities.
Windigo First Nations Council
This site offers news and information about operations of the Windigo First Nations Council. Check out the illustrated descriptions of the First Nations communities administered by this organization.
The website for the federally incorporated non-profit Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation. Provides program information and a listing of communities serviced by this organization.
The Old Post and Village
The website for The Old Post and Village fishing resort, located on remote Lake St. Joseph in northern Ontario. Click on the "About Us" button for links to articles about the fascinating history of the region.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...