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Friends of Petrie
Ottawa Ontario,
Phone:  (613) 824-1188

Friends of Petrie - Ottawa  Business & Services
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Overview | Location

The Petrie Islands group on the Ottawa River was formed by sand deposited at the close of  the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago. The 2 km by 500 m area, from the foot of Champlain St. to Trim Rd in Orleans, has a total shoreline length, including all channels and bays, of about 12 km. Much of the area has been publicly owned since 1983, purchased to preserve the natural habitat of the western portion of the islands. Sand dredging at the eastern end was phased out in 2003, and the ten-hectare sand fill and natural beach is now in use for public recreation.

The Petrie Islands have been used since ancient times, and native Americans fished and hunted the area for thousands of years. In modern times, they have long been a popular fishing spot year round and many boaters, canoeists and kayakers explore the foreshore and backwaters. Naturalists or hikers come to see the varied flora or to get a glimpse of one of more than 130 species of birds identified in the area.

Some simply come to relax in a peaceful setting, often bringing a good book; photographers, painters and musicians visit, and many come down to view sunsets over the river. The picnic area has brought new popularity to the islands, and children love to play in the sand or explore the trails looking for turtles and other wildlife. While the area is busiest in summer, it is a local favourite for ice fishing in winter and offers quiet woods for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Some people come to watch the spring melt and flood on the Ottawa river.

The entire area is subject to frequent spring flooding, which helps support a wide diversity of plant and animal life, including 29 rare plant species and the only major stand of hackberry trees in this part of Canada. The islands are designated as Class 1 wetlands, the highest rating in the Ontario system, as well as a regionally significant area of natural and scientific interest (ANSI, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources).

In 1998, the Friends of Petrie Island came together to promote the conservation of the western portion of the Petrie Islands and the development of passive recreation facilities just west of the sand operation.

Experience a small wilderness - Those who have visited Petrie know what a wonderful natural area it is, truly a hidden gem. Petrie Island less than 12 km from Ottawa's Parliament Buildings.

Please tread lightly! And remember, all maintenance and supervision is done by volunteers working for you. You are welcome to join or support our organization - we are always looking for new volunteers.

  • Become a member of Friends of Petrie Island ($10/yr) or make a donation
  • Help out on work days or as a monitor
  • Help with fundraising
  • Play a part in the interpretive program
  • Be a guide for a tour
  • Gather background material or assemble displays

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