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Published May 10, 2023 Updated May 10, 2023

La Baie James

Playing cards documenting the James Bay hydro-electricity project on the La Grande River in north-western Quebec, Canada.

Canada Les Produits T.B.J. Engineering Nature & Environment Add to Collection

La Baie James (or the James Bay Project) refers to the construction of one of the largest hydroelectric systems in the world. This “Project”, covering an area the size of New York State, transformed a vast network of lakes, rivers and forests into an enormous hydro-electricity complex consisting of a series of hydroelectric power stations on the La Grande River in north-western Quebec, Canada.

Produced by Les Produits T.B.J., these are the first two packs of cards (of a planned five) dedicated to this Project: the first displays photographs in chronological order of the construction of a hydroelectric dam, while the second pack shows photographs of the human aspects of one of the many campsites that were established during the construction process. The photo on each card is described in both French and English, and each pack offers a summary card. It is not clear whether the final three packs were actually published.

1. the construction phase

playing cards documenting the James Bay hydro-electricity project in Quebec, Canada playing cards documenting the James Bay hydro-electricity project in Quebec, Canada
playing cards documenting the James Bay hydro-electricity project in Quebec, Canada

Above: playing cards documenting the construction phase of the James Bay hydro-electricity project in Quebec, Canada.

2. the human aspect

playing cards documenting the James Bay hydro-electricity project in Quebec, Canada playing cards documenting the James Bay hydro-electricity project in Quebec, Canada
playing cards documenting the James Bay hydro-electricity project in Quebec, Canada

Above: playing cards documenting the human aspect of one of the many campsites that were established during the construction process of the James Bay hydro-electricity project in Quebec, Canada.

For more information about La Baie James see Wikipedia

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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