top of page

The Manic

It all began... 215 million years ago when an immense meteorite (5 km in diameter) crashed into the earth. The impact forms a crater, the 5th largest crater in the world (100 km in diameter). A hole... a very big hole that fills with water.

215 million years later, visionary Quebecers decided to use this water hole by filling it even more. To fill it... nothing better than creating a dam, but not just any dam, the largest multiple-arch buttress dam in the world (1,324 meters wide)

Manicouagan and Mushalagan lakes then join and create the Manicouagan reservoir and René-Levasseur island. Following filling, the water level increases by 130 meters.

This artificial island, the 2nd largest island in Quebec (after Anticosti), owes its name to René Levasseur, a young 35-year-old engineer and site manager. He died a few days before the inauguration of the dam, leaving a legacy of masterful work and his name to the island he created.

This corner of Quebec, created by man at the cost of destroying numerous animal and human habitats, is also called the eye of Quebec. The Great Wall of China is therefore not the only human construction visible from space.

Here is Before and After filling, you can easily see the island that has been created.

Lake Manicouagan is also the deepest lake in Quebec, 320 meters deep, and the 6th largest freshwater reservoir in the world.

It all starts for me... when I see an ad on Facebook. A 64-year-old young man looking for a traveling companion to get to Kegaska, the end of Route 138.

This gentleman seems very nice... so I'm on board.

The road is beautiful, the temperature is perfect and we drive peacefully on the 138.

So much memories...

On the way, we make a quick stop in Tadoussac where I spent my last family vacation with my father. It had been an adventure from start to finish.

We set up the tent in a wild campsite and went fishing in a nearby river.

Suddenly, the fishing rod tries to fly out of my hands. Did I catch a trout? No, it pulls way too much, it's probably a whale. After what seems like hours of battle, I finally pull my... eel out of the water.

The learning would continue. This fish is neither prepared nor eaten like any other. First, you have to peel it... yes, yes, peel it like a banana or, even better, like a hare, for those who know.

Then we cut it into sections and grill it on the 火鉢 fire bowl, or hibachi for those who don't speak Japanese.

That evening, the supper, very simple, was delicious. A fatty flesh, slightly sweet, I still have the taste on my tongue.

“Peeling” the eel also allowed me to learn that its leather is very durable and that it is even used for the manufacture of luxury products. Tanning transforms it into a very fine leather that is so soft under the fingers.

With Dad, we also went to watch the downhill skiers on the sand dunes of Tadoussac. Skiers in the middle of summer... I was amazed.

An unforgettable vacation... but let's get back to the present.

After Les Bergeronnes, I approach the unknown. I had never gone further.

Short stop at the Ragueneau quay for some nice photos and we continue towards Baie-Comeau where we spend the night.


The next day is the departure towards Manic-5.

2h30 drive and 414 curves of pleasure. The road is beautiful and completely asphalted. The scenery is magnificent and lakes line the path all along.

We arrive at Manic-5 and I am struck by the immensity of the work.

The complex was to be inaugurated on September 26, 1968 by Quebec Prime Minister Daniel Johnson and it was to be called Duplessis Dam in honor of the former prime minister.

From left to right: René Lévesque (Minister of Natural Resources and future Prime Minister), Jean Lesage (former Prime Minister) and Daniel Johnson (Prime Minister).

After a reception, where Mr. Johnson is in an excellent mood, he goes to bed and... dies of a heart attack during his sleep. The inauguration ceremony was canceled and resumed a year later. We therefore changed the name from Duplessis dam to Daniel-Johnson dam.

N.B.: We can see the “eye” very clearly just above the dam

At the end of the visit, we return to Baie-Comeau where, after discussion, I decide to return to Quebec the next day while my companion continues to Kegaska. Don't worry, it's not the companion that's causing the problem but rather my energy level. In the last few weeks, I visited Portugal extensively, followed by the Maritimes on my motorcycle and there... I realize that enough is enough. I need to rest and I heard that the mosquitoes on the Côte-Nord (North Coast) are particularly muscular...

To conclude, I invite you to listen again to this magnificent love song inspired by this work of Quebec genius but especially by the workers who created it. It is a love letter written by a worker who misses his fiancé who remained in Montreal while he went to the North Coast to work at Manic.

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page