Nature park opens new interactive installations
At Îles-de-Boucherville National Park, nature lovers can discover eight new outdoor installations along the large network of paths. Hikers and cyclists can pause to read and interact with different artworks, panels and structures that detail the fauna, flora, and history of the park’s five islands.
Located in the middle of the St. Lawrence River and just a few kilometres south of Montreal, the park is part of Sépaq (Société des établissements de plein air du Québec ). With an abundance of wildlife, green space, and waterfront trails, it is popular with campers, hikers and cyclists looking to recharge outdoors.
Opened at the beginning of October, the discovery stops provide moments of relaxation and contemplation, and allow visitors of all ages to explore the richness of the natural and cultural heritage of the islands.
Read about habitat diversity, bats, birds, and pollinators in the multilevel La grange (the barn). Peer through binoculars at the surrounding land, learn about the importance of corn in agriculture and then turn an interactive wheel to get a whiff of some kernels.
At La Roue discovery station, kids can sit inside the giant wheel built to resemble the paddle wheel that propelled the Lady Sherbrooke, one of the Molson family’s first commercial steamships. Built in Montreal in 1817 and abandoned in 1826, the ship was nicknamed the Formula 1 of the St. Lawrence and the wreck lay on the bed of the St. Lawrence River on the shores of Île Sainte-Marguerite de Boucherville.
Further on, climb the circular La Tour (the tower) for a view of the marshland below or lie above the water in a giant net.
While on the paths, keep an eye out for some of the 260 species of birds that have been observed living or migrating through the park, including the belted kingfisher, black-crowned night heron, double-crested cormorant, great egrets, and snow buntings. You may even spot a red fox or white-tailed deer.
The park is open year round at 8 a.m., closing hours vary depending on the season. Activities include walking, hiking, water games, canoeing, and camping during the summer. In winter, families can hike two loops on Île Sainte-Marguerite (seven km) and Île de la Commune (five km), cross-country ski, snowshoe, fat bike, or go sledding.
To rent equipment such as fat bikes, snowshoes, cross-country skis, walking sticks and crampons, call at least 24 hours in advance (1-800-665-6527). When available, equipment is offered free of charge to those aged 17 and under. People with reduced mobility can borrow specialized outdoor equipment for free upon presentation of the Companion Leisure Card (CAL) and upon availability
The Sainte-Marguerite Island Discovery and Visitors Centre is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and has a reception, boutique and washrooms. The Grand Duke Pavilion houses winter equipment rental, washrooms, and discovery activities.
The address is 55 Île Sainte-Marguerite, Boucherville. For more information, click here.