Little Whale River

The Little Whale River (French: Petite rivière de la Baleine) (Cree: Wâpamekustûss) is a river in Nunavik, Quebec, Canada. With an area of 15,900 square kilometres (6,100 sq mi), it is ranked as the 35th largest river basin in Quebec.[2]

The Cree named a segment of the Little Whale River near its mouth as Wapimakustus, which is similar to what Isbister noted in 1740. The Inuit call it Qilalugarsiuviup Kuunga, which means "river or place where beluga is hunted".[3]

Its name has often been wrongly translated into French as Rivière de la Petite Baleine.

Little Whale River
Petite rivière de la Baleine, Wâpamekustûss
Country Canada
Province Quebec
Region Nunavik
 - left Boutin River
Source Unnamed
Mouth Hudson Bay
 - location Point Qilalugarsiuvik
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 56°00′15″N 76°47′00″W / 56.00417°N 76.78333°WCoordinates: 56°00′15″N 76°47′00″W / 56.00417°N 76.78333°W
Length 380 km (240 mi) [1]
Basin 15,900 km2 (6,100 sq mi) [1]
 - average 280 m3/s (9,890 cu ft/s) [1]
Great Whale map
The Little Whale is just north of the Great Whale River basin (in yellow)


Poste de North Bluff Petite riviere de la Baleine 1878
HBC Post, circa 1878

In the records of 1740 kept by Joseph Isbister of the Eastmain Post, there is reference to a river called Wapameg-Us-Sosh (meaning White Whale River), where a multitude of beluga is found. It mentions that the river is located a short distance south of the Gulph [sic] (that is Richmond Gulf or Lac Guillaume-Delisle in French).[3]

The English name of the river was first recorded in 1744 in the logbooks of Hudson's Bay Company employees Thomas Mitchell and John Longland, while exploring the bay's coast. On July 29, Mitchell made mention of Little White Whale River.[3] For the 1750 mining attempt see Richmond Gulf.

From 1853 to 1890, the Hudson's Bay Company operated a trading post, named after the river, at its mouth.[4] This place, now known as Jiaviniup Narsanga,[5] has long been abandoned.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Other Rivers Flowing Into the Atlantic Ocean". The National Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Archived from the original on 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  2. ^ "Petite rivière de la Baleine" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  3. ^ a b c "Grande rivière de la Baleine" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  4. ^ Hudson's Bay Company Archives
  5. ^ "Jiaviniup Narsanga" (in French). Commission de toponymie du Québec. Retrieved 2008-12-15.

External links

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