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Portrait of the park

History of Parc national de Plaisance

The park’s territory was colonized in the early 1800s by the owner of Seigneurie de la Petite-Nation, Louis-Joseph Papineau. The park’s very fertile land was then devoted to agriculture. In 1963, the activation of the Carillon dam would cause the level of Rivière des Outaouais to rise. In Plaisance, the affected lands, acquired by Hydro-Québec, became Parc Dollard-des-Ormeaux, a recreational and camping area. Aware of the high ecological potential of the new marshes, various government agencies and Ducks Unlimited enhanced the area to protect waterfowl.

In 1978, Réserve faunique de Plaisance was created, and twenty-four years later, with the support of the population, regional bodies, and the scientific community, the government granted the Plaisance territory the status of national park. Now protected, the landscapes and the very rich flora and fauna of Plaisance would contribute, in their own way, to maintaining biodiversity for the well-being and enjoyment of current and future generations.

The Park’s Natural Heritage


Three major geological events left their marks on the landscapes. The ridges and grooves engraved in the rock reflect the passage of glaciers 11,000 years ago. Clay deposits lining the ground were previously laid down by the Champlain Sea, which covered the current St. Lawrence Plain.

The 3 terraces leading down to Rivière Outaouais correspond to former river levels, when the St. Lawrence was a powerful river swollen by glacial meltwater.


The park is in the heart of Rivière des Outaouais, the largest tributary of the St. Lawrence. This network of islands and peninsulas is cut in two by another large river that empties into the Outaouais in the park: Rivière de la Petite Nation.


Over 500 plant species have been recorded in the park. There are also some interesting forests, including an old sugar maple-northern red oak stand and a rare example of a silver maple-American black ash stand. The park is also home to several beautiful colonies of rare trees, such as the common hackberry and the American hornbeam.


The park’s wildlife includes:

  • 246 bird species, including about 100 breeding species
  • 42 mammal species
  • 36 fish species
  • 12 amphibian species
  • 6 reptile species

Rare Species

The park shelters several plant and animal species of precarious status, both in Canada and Québec:

  • 12 bird species
  • 5 mammal species
  • 3 fish species
  • 3 reptile species
  • 1 amphibian species
  • About a dozen plant species

The Cultural Heritage of the Park

When you look at the bucolic landscapes of the park or paddle in its big and peaceful bays, you may get the impression that this area has always remained on the sidelines of history, and that human activities, restricted to agriculture, have had a limited impact. In reality this park and its immediate surroundings have a rich past of several thousand years, a past that is inextricably linked to the complex history of the Outaouais region. Below are the significant periods or dates.

  • 1613: The first written mention of the area was found in Samuel de Champlain’s journal. It describes the mouth of Rivière de la Petite Nation when he travelled through this area.
  • 1674: The West India Company granted Seigneurie de la Petite-Nation to Mgr. François de Montmorency-Laval.
  • 1680: Mgr. de Montmorency-Laval sold his seigneurie to Petit Séminaire de Québec which would then give part of it to the Québec chapter (the canons of the Québec Basilica).
  • 1686-1760: A trading post did business at the mouth of Rivière Petite Nation.
  • 1801- 1803: Seigneurie de la Petite-Nation was purchased by Joseph Papineau.
  • 1817: Joseph Papineau sold the seigneurie to Louis-Joseph Papineau, head of the Patriotes.
  • 1805- 1960: The park was primarily devoted to agriculture. Several families lived here.
  • 1963-1967: The Carillon dam was built. Hydro-Québec acquired the floodplains.
  • 1967: Parc Dollard-des-Ormeaux was created.
  • 1978: Réserve de chasse et de pêche de Plaisance was created.
  • 1979: Réserve faunique de Plaisance was created (decree of July 3, 1980).
  • 2002: On March 22, Parc national de Plaisance was created.

Did you know?

The Park in Numbers

Year established: 2002
Area: 28 km2
Perimeter: 47 km
Annual attendance: 105,000 visit-days

Lists of Species

(in French only)

Amphibians and reptiles

Species at risk



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