Portrait of the park - Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno - National Parks - Sépaq

Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno

Portrait of the park

History of Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno

Conceded to Pierre Boucher from Boucherville in 1710, this territory became the Seigneurie de Montarville, distinguished by its landlocked position with no access to the St. Lawrence River, and by its hill featuring several lakes and streams. The river system was a tremendous asset, since it allowed the production of all the hydraulic energy needed to power mills for grinding flour, sawing wood, and carding and weaving wool.

At the turn of the 20th century, Mont Saint-Bruno was a favourite spot among rich Anglophone Montrealers who bought land there. They built vacation homes and surrounded them with gardens, some of which still partially remain today. During this time, the Saint-Gabriel brothers also bought part of the mountain.

In 1969, the municipality of Saint-Bruno intervened and became the assignee of an area of close to 1.5 km2, while at the same time requests addressed to the Québec government demanded the protection of the whole mountain. Starting in 1974, the State began to acquire land, and Parc du Mont-Saint-Bruno was officially created in 1985. From this time forward, this status gave the park the mission to ensure the protection of this territory, representative of one of Québec's natural regions, the Montérégian Hills, while making it accessible for educational and recreational purposes.


The Park’s Natural Heritage

Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno covers an area of 8.9 km and is visited by over one million visitors. This park is surrounded by the towns of Sainte-Julie, Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Saint-Bruno and Saint-Basile-le-Grand. It is a real forest oasis, surrounded by an area heavily modified by urbanization and agriculture. People come to the park to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as walking, cross country skiing, picnicking, and observing and exploring nature.

Mont Saint-Bruno is part of the Montérégian Hills, as are Mont Royal, Mont Saint-Hilaire, and Mont Mégantic, to name just a few. These hills are not volcanoes, but rather intrusions of igneous rock that formed in the Cretaceous Period (124 million years ago). A spurt of magma moved into the sedimentary rock strata of the plain and under the effect of the heat the surrounding rock underwent contact metamorphism and hardened. Then erosion unearthed Mont Saint-Bruno and all the other Montérégian hills. Its summit culminates at 208 m, while the surrounding plain is at about 30 m above sea level. This hill has an extensive drainage system composed of a network of five lakes and a number of streams. It is interesting to note that Lac des Atocas has been in the process of becoming a peatbog for thousands of years, a very special case in southern Québec.

Mont Saint-Bruno is not only distinguished by its geology, but also by its rich plant and animal life. The park’s flora is composed of 37 tree species, 50 shrub species, and about 500 herbaceous plant species. Among them are 24 threatened or vulnerable species or those likely to be so designated. These plants are distributed based on their tolerance to environmental conditions, such as slope, drainage and type of soil. The trees form groups together, four of which are unusual for Québec.

Wildlife is well represented by 15 fish species, 14 amphibian species, 6 reptile species, 200 bird species and nearly 36 mammal species. The great biodiversity of Mont Saint-Bruno is especially striking when one considers the regional landscape shaped by urbanization and industrial agricultural practices.


The Cultural Heritage of the Park

Seigneurie de Montarville

  • On October 17, the Montarville seigneurie that was part of Mont Saint-Bruno, was granted to Pierre Boucher. Because of its landlocked geographical location, the seigniorial integration of these lands took place 38 years later than most of the neighbouring seigneuries. Despite this delay, the seigniors quickly took advantage of this network of lakes and streams by transforming the water into a driving force.
  • Between 1710 and 1854, nine seigneurs succeeded to the seigneurie de Montarville. Between 1725 and 1816, the seigneurs had four kinds of mills built: flour, saw, tanning, and carding. The Montarville seigneurs made their seigneurie industrial, while the neighbouring seigneuries were mostly agricultural.

Vacationing

  • In 1897, the centre of the hill was purchased by Mr. Pease to establish a private vacationing estate (today, there are still nine private residences inside the park).
  • Edson L. Pease was part of this financial elite, which, at the turn of the 19th century, ensured Montréal of a dominant role in the Canadian economy. At the end of his career, he was the CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada. These magnates created a lifestyle that was reflected in their surroundings, their luxurious mansions in the city and their huge estates in the country.
  • Vacationers enjoyed several activities, such as horseback riding, hunting and fishing, golf, lawn bowling, etc.

The Brothers of Saint-Gabriel

  • The community of the Brothers of Saint-Gabriel occupied a large part of the western slope of the hill on a vast 1,200-acre estate. With a farm and a teaching home, it greatly contributed to the social and economic life of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville.
  • For more than half a century, the community developed the land and some of their works still exist today (cave, arboretum, orchard). Others have disappeared leaving only vestiges of past use. The Brothers of Saint-Gabriel lands were finally purchased by the Québec government in the spring of 1975.

Did you know?

The Park in Numbers

Year established: 1985
Area: 8.9 km2
Perimeter: 21 km
Annual attendance: 880,000 visit-days


Lists of Species

(in French only)

Amphibians and reptiles

Species at risk

Mammals

Birds


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