Thomas James and the Search for the Northwest Passage

In May 1631, Thomas James set sail from Bristol in search of a northwest passage to the Orient. After an arduous journey through Hudson Strait and across Hudson Bay, he proceeded southeast, exploring the bay that now bears his name. Convinced that no northwest passage existed there and alarmed by the rapid weather change, James anchored off Charlton Island, sank his ship to prevent its being smashed by ice and prepared for the first deliberate wintering of Europeans in the Canadian north. Miraculously, he and most of his crew survived and were able to refloat the ship in the spring. Soon after reaching Bristol in October 1632, James published such a vivid account of his harrowing adventures that further exploration was discouraged for almost a century.


On River Road, between First and Cotter streets, Moosonee

Region: Northern Ontario

County/District: District of Cochrane

Municipality: Town of Moosonee