|MCL DDS Site 403 - March 1957|
Courtesy of Larry Wilson & John Rowe - http://www.lswilson.ca/
"The Mid-Canada Line refers to a Doppler radar detection system for aircraft (Early Warning System), nicknamed the McGill fence, stretching across Canada from Labrador to British Columbia, along the 55th parallel. The Mid-Canada Line was built by the federal government between 1954 and 1957. The 42 stations located in Québec (35 sites north and seven sites south of the 55th parallel) were operated by the Department of National Defense (DND) from 1958 to 1965. The sites were abandoned in 1965. At that time, all equipment, buildings, fuel tanks, barrels, pipelines, pumping stations, machinery, as well as hydrocarbons and contaminated soil were left behind. The detection antennas, some of which were longer than 100 m, were lowered to the ground to eliminate aviation hazards. After the federal government abandoned the Mid-Canada Line, the 42 sites in Québec were ceded to the Government of Quebec in 1966. In Québec, there are 22 Doppler radar detection sites located approximately 40 km apart and 20 supply sites, each generally located less than 2 km from a detection site." -Kativik Environmental Advisory Committee, Work Necessary To Complete The Mid-Canada Line Clean-Up Project (May 2012)
From the map below, you can see the Mid Canada Line stretched across Canada, in some very remote areas of Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. While it stretched across Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia as well, they were arguably less remote. The locations in Labrador, Quebec and Ontario were built in the middle of "nowhere", using only helicopters to bring supplies in. You'll notice that some of the buildings and antennas used look remarkably like Gap Filler Annexes or Pinetree Line equipment. After all, they were all built at about the same time, by the same countries, with roughly the same government contracts for supplies.
The Fort Albany, Relay and Kempis Mountain sites, where Troposcatter repeaters were placed to feed the aggregated Mid Canada Line (MCL) feed South to North Bay, have already been rehabilitated; spilled diesel, lead acid batteries, and other nasty environmental containments have been dug up, and shipped to safe storage or incineration sites. Unfortunately (environmentally speaking) with limited money to undertake these clean-up projects, the Government of Canada has prioritized the clean up operations. Each of the cleanups will cost many millions of dollars, so the clean-up of all Mid Canada Line stations will take many years. In the meantime, PCBs and other containments are still leaking into lakes, rivers, and the soil surrounding these bases, many of which are on aboriginally controlled land. As it turns out, MCL site 409 and 410 haven't been cleaned up yet, and the local Cree aren't pleased with the priority they have been given. A barge laden with fuel drums sank in James Bay and to this day leaks causing oil sheens that wash up on the local shore. There are still hundreds of (mostly) empty 55 Gallon drums of fuel sitting at site 409 and 410, as well as other gear.
|MCL DDS Site 410 - Winter 1964 / 1965|
Courtesy of Larry Wilson & John Heselton - http://www.lswilson.ca/
I expect that site 409 looks much like 403, which is why I posted the picture of 403...
|Location of Mid Canada Line Sites in QuebecCourtesy of DND|
|Location of Mid Canada Line Sites|
Courtesy of Larry Wilson - http://www.lswilson.ca/
|Site of "Cape Jones" MCL DDS Site 409 and 410|
Ms. Elaine Feldman - Federal Administrator, JBNQA - Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Brief Regarding the Complete Restoration of Mid-Canada Line sites in Nunavik