Portrait of the park - Parc national d’Oka - National Parks - Sépaq

Parc national d'Oka

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Portrait of the park

History of the Creation of Parc national d'Oka

The Sulpicians owned a large part of the park’s actual territory. They used it for farming and forestry. In 1962, the Québec government bought a small 1.6 km2 parcel from them to create Réserve de chasse et de pêche de Deux-Montagnes, one year later named “Parc provincial d'Oka”, and in 1968, “Parc Paul-Sauvé”. The camping infrastructures, roads and sewage treatment plant were built for Expo 67.

In 1974, demand for outdoor activities was very high. The Québec government acquired some land, including the Calvaire hill, bringing the park’s area to 23.7 km2. This territory, renamed “Parc de récréation d'Oka”, received its status of recreation park in 1990, along with its new vocation of ensuring the protection of the natural environment while promoting outdoor recreational activities. Since 2001, the park has been classified as a national park, a title granted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to a protected area managed mainly for ecosystem protection.


The Park’s Natural Heritage

The mission of Parc national d'Oka is to protect a representative area of the St. Lawrence Lowlands, particularly the southern part of this region.

With a total area of 23.7 km2, this park is home to several plant associations, such as maple and beech-sugar maple on the Calvaire Hill, red oak-sugar maple on the Masson Hill and white pine-red oak in the campground sector. Its floristic composition makes the park one of the richest in Québec in terms of biodiversity in flora.

Lac des Deux Montagnes, an widening of Rivière des Outaouais and its tributaries, influence the dynamics of silver maple wetland ecosystems around Rivière aux Serpents and Grande Baie. Land and water come together to give birth to real ecological jewels, providing habitats for a fascinating array of wildlife. The Great Blue Heron, the beaver, bats, the Wood Duck (threatened with extinction at the beginning of the century) and other animals have taken up residence here.

At the geophysical level, the soil is one of the richest in Québec, particularly because of clay and soil deposits, terraces, Rivière des Outaouais and brunisols. Farmed and uncultivated fields in the park are representative of this region’s recent past and its high agricultural potential.


The Cultural Heritage of the Park

Artefacts and ecofacts found in the park demonstrate Amerindian presence for thousands of years and suggest that they used the shores of Lac des Deux Montagnes for camping, pottery making, fishing and hunting. 

More recently, in 1717, the governor of New France ceded Seigneurie du lac des Deux Montagnes to Sulpician missionaries establishing a mission for the evangelization of Iroquois, Mohawks, Hurons, Algonquins and Nipissings. The Sulpicians took part in the development of the Calvaire, a religious trail in the mountain. Four oratories and three chapels were built between 1740 and 1742. They still form a historic infrastructure unique in North America. In 1982, Calvaire Hill and the adjacent orchards were designated a historic site.

The Sulpicians owned the majority of the existing park for many years. They used the land for agriculture, logging, and even rented some parcels to hunters and fishermen.

The Sulpicians invited French Trappist monks to come and settle in Oka and take advantage of the agricultural lands. They collaborated on opening a school of agriculture, which became notorious. The Trappist monks of Oka and their institute contributed to part of the Québec agricultural heritage, with Oka cheese, Chanteclerc chicken and the Oka melon, a new variety.

Today, the vestiges of the park’s agricultural past are still visible in several places. Uncultivated fields are slowly being swallowed up by the forest.

Did you know?

The Park in Numbers

Year established: 1990
Area: 23.7 km2
Perimeter: 32 km
Annual attendance: more than 700,000 visit-days


Lists of Species

(in French only)

Amphibians and reptiles

Species at risk

Mammals

Birds


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