The interprovincial borders between Ontario and Quebec are now open! Sound like nothing much, but I haven’t visited Quebec since my hike at Mont Cascades last September (which seems like ages ago!). I decided to take the opportunity to go for a walk in Saint-Lazare, more specifically to visit the Bordelais peat bog.
I have driven hundreds of times near Saint-Lazare on my multiple trips between Ottawa and Montreal, but until recently I was unaware of the existence of the bog there. The magazine L’Actualité recently included it in its list of Quebec sites rich in biodiversity, (list which also includes Mont Kaaikop and Saint-Bernard Island) and that got my attention. A bog in the Montreal suburbs? That’s the kind of places I especially love to explore!
The Natural Park of Bordelais Bog (in French, Tourbière-du-Bordelais) protects a peat bog that is more than 8,000 years old. It is an ombrotrophic peat bog, that is, an acidic, mineral-poor wetland whose only source of water is rain. These conditions mean that only flora and fauna adapted to these extreme conditions can live there.
The bog is home to several species of birds, amphibians, turtles, and rather rare plants, including the chainfern, a species of fern of which there are only a few colonies in Quebec. It is also sometimes possible to observe green herons, wood frogs or salamanders.
I didn’t see any green herons or salamanders when I visited the bog, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed my walk on the quiet boardwalks of the natural park. The song of birds, the many dragonflies, the smell of pines… it was easy to forget that we were in the suburbs!
There are several interpretive panels along the wooden boardwalk, making it the perfect place to learn more about this type of environment. The trail eventually joins Ivor-McLeod Park, where there is a small lake and a few trails. My walk only totaled two kilometres (including the trails of the nearby park), but it was enough to make me see Saint-Lazare differently! I can’t wait for all the restrictions to be lifted so that we can continue to explore other great places like this!