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Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville

Obstructions at the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine Bridge-Tunnel Details

Portrait of the park

Creation of Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville

Several events preceding the creation of Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville created major disturbances in the Boucherville archipelago. Each of these episodes contributed, in varying degrees, to the deterioration of the islands.

In 1971, the " One river, one park " project initiated by Anthony "Tony" Le Sauteur, then president of the Fédération de la Faune du Québec and an environmental activist, demonstrated the serious degradation of the islands in the river between Montreal and Sorel. He raised public awareness of this conservation issue. Citizen activism encouraged the Quebec government to acquire the Boucherville islands in order to preserve what was left of them and restore them to a semblance of their former state.

In 1981, the park was pre-opened and welcomed its first visitors. Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville was officially created on September 12, 1984.

Forty years later, nature has done its work, aided by the efforts of the national park's management and staff. The archipelago now features rich and complex habitats that meet the needs of an extremely diverse cross section of wildlife.

Cultural Heritage

The territory of Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville has been the scene of 2,400 years of human history, which continues to this day. Here are some highlights:

  • From 500 BC to 1500 AD: Indigenous presence. The St. Lawrence Iroquoian First Nation frequented the islands between 500 and 1500, and a seasonal camp was established on Île Grosbois.
  • 1667: Founding of the seigneury of Boucherville by Pierre Boucher. The islands began to be settled and dedicated to agriculture in 1680. An agricultural hamlet was established there until 1954.
  • About 1810: John Molson purchased Île Sainte-Marguerite. He built a country house and used the islands' channels as a testing ground and wintering ground for his fleet of steamships, the first in Canada. The patriarch of the Molson dynasty died in his chalet on the Boucherville islands on January 10, 1836. Two steamboat wrecks have been discovered in the Molson Canal, one of which is the Lady Sherbrooke, the subject of intensive underwater archaeological research and excavation in the 1980s.
  • 1909: Île Grosbois became home to the King Edward amusement park. There were several fairground attractions such as merry-go-rounds, circuses, an airfield, and a racecourse. The collapse of a wharf in 1911 injured about a hundred people, tarnishing the reputation of the amusement park and putting an end to its activities. The racecourse remained in operation until 1928.
  • 1954: Purchase of the islands by Les Entreprises Boucherville. The company planned to establish a large-scale residential project with 75,000 inhabitants. Lack of financing prevented construction from going ahead, but the developer turned a profit by renting the land on Île Commune and Île Grosbois for agricultural purposes. He also leased Île Charron to create an 8,000-space parking lot for Expo '67 and Île Sainte-Marguerite to install a garbage dump. The banks of the islands were used as a dumping ground for construction debris from the Louis-Hippolyte-Lafontaine bridge-tunnel. The residential project never saw the light of day, and the islands were put up for sale around 1970.
  • 1971: The "One river, one park" project was launched. Several scientific studies were carried out on the islands of the river, showing their serious deterioration. Thanks to the actions of the project's initiator, Anthony Le Sauteur, and its defenders, the Quebec government acquired the territory for purposes of creating a park in 1979.
  • 1984: Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville was officially created on September 12.

The Park’s Natural Heritage

Landscapes and habitats

The St. Lawrence River generates aquatic ecosystems teeming with life around the islands. The most notable in the park is undoubtedly the immense Chenal du Courant marsh. With its aquatic grass beds that look like underwater forests, its myriads of fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, and its stake as the undisputed realm of the beaver, this is the most exotic and breathtaking area of the archipelago, which also features swamps, riparian environments, and the sublime flood plain of Île aux Raisins.

Among the terrestrial habitats, visitors should not miss the Grosbois woodland and the restored open field on Île de la Commune.


The wildlife inventories carried out by park wardens have confirmed the presence of many species:

  • 265 bird species
  • 50 species of fish
  • 25 mammal species
  • 8 species of reptiles
  • 7 amphibian species

The mosaic of diverse habitats on Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville attracts and shelters a vast array of wildlife, and the islands, located in an important migration corridor, provide a timely refuge for birds in the metropolitan area.

Wildlife encounters include white-tailed deer – easily observed due to their overabundance in the park – along with the Canada beaver, the yellow warbler, the Baltimore oriole, the wood duck, the great egret, and the red fox, the latter being the animal emblem of Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville.

Species at risk

A major conservation site in a peri-urban context, Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville conducts inventories, monitoring activities, and management initiatives to ensure the survival of certain species at risk.

Conservation of protected areas

Quebec's national parks are category II protected areas whose criteria have been established by the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The term "national park" is a controlled designation that sets high standards in terms of ecosystem protection and visitor access, for either scientific or recreational purposes.

The priority issues of the 2017-2022 Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville Conservation Plan are as follows:

  • Restoration of natural habitats on retroceded farmland
    • Control of the alien and invasive common reed
    • Planting of over 20,000 trees and shrubs
    • Seeding with native herbaceous plants
    • Creation of wildlife habitats: ponds, wooded islets, and herbaceous and shrubby wildlands
    • Wildlife management to promote endangered animal species representative of rural environments
      • Seeding of native field flowers for pollinators and the monarch butterfly
      • Construction of nesting boxes for the barn swallow, hibernacula for the brown snake, and shelters for bats
  • White-tailed deer overabundance
    • Development of an action plan to achieve an optimal deer density to foster regeneration and maintenance of natural environments
  • Bank erosion
    • Stabilize the banks of the islands through the planting of vegetation and the development of visitor facilities

Please see the Conservation section for more details on the protection of the natural environment.

Did you know?

The Park in Numbers

Year established: 1984
Area: 8 km2
Perimeter: 15,8 km
Annual attendance: 295,000 visit-days

Lists of Species

(in French only)

Amphibians and reptiles

Species at risk



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