Chaleur Bay or Baie des Chaleurs - also known informally in English as Bay of Chaleur due to the influence of its French translation - is an arm of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence located between Quebec and New Brunswick.
The name of the bay is attributed to explorer Jacques Cartier (Baie des Chaleurs). It translates into English as "bay of warmth" or "bay of torrid weather".
The bay opens to the east with its southern shore formed by the north shore of New Brunswick. The northern shore is formed by the south shore of the Gaspé Peninsula. Chaleur Bay measures approximately 50 km (27 nmi) in width at its widest point between Bathurst and New Carlisle. The western end of the bay transitions into the estuary of the Restigouche River.
The mouth of the bay is delineated by a line running from "Haut-fond Leander" near Grande-Rivière, Québec in the north and the "Miscou Shoals" near Miscou Island, New Brunswick in the south.
The shores of Chaleur Bay include numerous beaches, particularly on the southrn shore. Many rivers also form barachois or barrier beaches. Reportedly the world's second longest natural sand bar, the Eel River Bar, is a barrier beach located at the mouth of the Eel River immediately west of the village of Charlo, New Brunswick. This sand bar is unique not only because it has fresh water on one side and salt water on the next, but because it is home to many endangered birds, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, harlequin ducks, and piping plovers.
Tourism in the region has been driven in the summer months by users of the bay's beaches. The warm ocean currents that enter the bay from the larger Gulf of St. Lawrence result in some of the warmest saltwater on the Atlantic coast north of the state of Virginia.
The estuaries of various rivers emptying into the bay create a prominent smell of salt water, notably the estuary of the Restigouche River.
The following major rivers flow into the bay:
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