Into the North: Behind the scenes


In 2018, the Into the North adventure put the region on the map by bringing together six participants from all over the world to experience a unique 5,000 km road trip in Eeyou Istchee Baie-James! The adventure allowed the participants, the film crew, and all those who watched the web series to discover the region.

But how did the people who organized and worked on this impressive journey experience it?  Interview with Camille, then marketing director, and Rachel, the adventure photographer.

Camille was Marketing Director for Tourisme Baie-James (TBJ) and Eeyou Istchee Tourism (EIT) between 2017 and 2019. Originally from Quebec City, she lived in Chibougamau for several years and was -and still is- a proud ambassador.

Rachel was the artistic director for the agency Les Mauvais Garçons in Quebec City, which helped developing the Into the North concept. She worked on the design of the project, the visual signature, in addition to acting as a photographer during the adventure.

Camille, how did the idea of creating a marketing campaign like Into the North come about?

Camille: For several years, both associations were asked to produce video content in the region because everyone wanted to show how unique Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is in terms of its vastness, its landscapes, and its quality tourist attractions! The idea of a web series came up, followed by the idea of organizing a contest to select the participants.


How did the organization go, considering that Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is a remote region?

Camille: It was obviously a great challenge, especially on the logistics side with all the variables to manage: the contest, the winners, international transportation (since some candidates came from outside the country), regional transportation, activities, materials... It was one, if not the biggest marketing campaign ever done by TBJ and EIT. I'm really proud of the work we were able to accomplish and the wonderful result.

Rachel, Into the North has allowed you to travel for the very first time in Northern Quebec. What were your expectations and what did you discover?

Rachel: I had heard very little about the North before being involved in this project. In fact, I had not taken the time to be interested in it. I knew that there were Aboriginal communities there. I had heard about LG2, the Northern Lights and the great outdoors, but my knowledge of the region was nil. From the beginning of my involvement with Into the North, my curiosity about the region was very strong. I was eager to visit this territory, which had something mythical for me, and to meet the people who live there. What I found most valuable was a sense of belonging. The warmth of the people who welcomed us greatly contributed to this. I felt at home there.


What surprised you the most in the region?

Rachel: The vastness of the territory. It's big. Very, very big. You can't really figure it out until you're there. I had seen forests before I went up north. But the Eeyou Istchee Baie-James region is unique in its vastness. I realized it when we flew over the transtaiga in a seaplane.

And you, Camille, what was it like to introduce others to your adopted region?

Camille: I was really looking forward to sharing with the participants what a trip to Eeyou Istchee Baie-James represents for me: the Northern Lights and the Milky Way, the ever-impressive skies with sunrises and sunsets, meeting the Cree communities and sharing their knowledge, trophy fish fishing, hydroelectric dams... These are things that, put together, make Eeyou Istchee Baie-James a truly unique region. The two weeks of the adventure were an incredible moment of sharing. I was proud to introduce a group of enthusiasts to this little-known region!


Are there things you saw differently after having made others discover them?

Camille: The road! In the region, you learn to appreciate the long hours on the road. With the magnificent landscapes that surround us, we take a lot of pleasure in taking the road! It's a trip in itself to drive the Route de la Baie-James up to the 620th kilometer, to tackle the Route du Nord or the Transtaïga.

What was the most memorable part of this adventure?

Camille: How far from home we feel, far from the Quebec we know, even when we live there. It's such a different region from the rest of Quebec. The territory, its immensity and richness, and the Aboriginal culture have a lot to do with it. When you think you can see polar bears off the coast of Wemindji... In short, traveling in Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is always exciting and immeasurable!


Rachel: My meeting with Anna at her Nuuhchimi Wiinuu cultural camp, near Oujé-Bougoumou. She welcomed us into her camp and at her table with open arms, like a mother. It was a privilege to spend time with her, listening her telling us about her past and sharing her fears for the future. We also shared a delicious stew and I learned how to embroider. It was a very special moment.


How was the region different from the other countries you visited?

Rachel: Eeyou Istchee Baie-James stands out for its unique landscapes. By the richness of its flora and fauna. By the rich and authentic culture of the people who live here. By a history full of hardships unspoken of, which awakens something in us, makes us think and gives us a new perspective on Quebec.

It is one of the most exotic trips I have ever taken, especially within my own province! It should be on the bucket list of all Quebecers.


Watch the web series here.