Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard

  • 01 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: The Trails

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard
    ••• Evelyn Reid

    Escape the City Without Leaving the City

    Bois de l'Île Bizard: Escape the City Without Actually Leaving the City
    Cheaper and arguably as rejuvenating as a day at the spa, there's no Montreal park quite like Bois de l'Île Bizard, a striking 201 hectares (497 acres) of woods, beach, and wetlands located on Île Bizard, an island northwest of Montreal just above the West Island.

    Visitors can easily spend a whole day discovering the park's nooks and crannies: start the morning birdwatching while exploring Bois de l'Île Bizard's marshes, swamps and woods before retiring to the beachfront for an afternoon of picnicking, sunbathing, canoeing and swimming in Lac des Deux Montagnes (a.k.a., Lake of Two Mountains). In the winter, the star-shaped park turns into a picturesque cross-country skiing destination.​

    Click here for details on Bois de l'Île Bizard's activities, location, and contact information and click on the images below for insight into the park's...MORE attractions, ecosystems, and diverse wildlife.

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard offers walkers 10km (over 6 miles) of scenic trails, open year-round.

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  • 02 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: The Boardwalk

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard marsh Boardwalk wetlands
    ••• Evelyn Reid

    Bois de l'Île Bizard has a beach, wood trails and a comely marsh which visitors can explore on the park's boardwalk, one nearly half a kilometer long.

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  • 03 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: The Marsh

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard marsh Boardwalk wetlands swamp
    ••• Evelyn Reid

    Contrary to some sources, Bois de l'Île Bizard's wetlands are for the most part marshes, not swamps, though there's evidence of swampland in certain areas.

    The difference between marsh and swamp is determined by two main indicators: the presence or absence of live trees and the year-round versus seasonal presence of water. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, swamps "are wetlands characterized by the presence of trees growing on silty to organic muck soils" whereas marshes "are treeless wetland where lush growths of herbaceous plants (e.g., grasses, sedges, reeds, and cattails) predominate."

    In the case of Bois de l'Île Bizard, all of the wetlands in the section contained by the boardwalk are marshes, evident by a marked absence of live trees and a year-round abundance of water. However, visitors may notice, depending on the time of year, what appears to be flooded woods by the trails leading to the boardwalk area. Those patches are effectively swamps.

    So...MOREurces:

    Canadian Encyclopedia, GUEPE

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  • 04 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: The Swamp

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard marsh Boardwalk wetlands swamp
    ••• Escape the City Without Leaving the City This section of Bois de l'Île Bizard leading up to the park's sizable marsh is actually a swamp. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    As explained previously, marshes and swamps are not one in the same.

    This section of Bois de l'Île Bizard leads up to the park's sizable marsh but it's not actual marshland. As the water is not present year-round and this wetland is characterized by an abundance of trees, it's classified as a swamp.

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  • 05 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: The Wildlife

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard marsh Boardwalk wetlands swamp turtle
    ••• Evelyn Reid

    "As with all wetlands, marshes are extremely sensitive and bursting with various species that use it as a shelter and a food source. Birds in particular often visit this environment. You can spot tree swallows, American black ducks, green-backed herons and many other species."

    "Other species living in the marsh often remain unseen because of their more low profile lifestyle, i.e., amphibians and reptiles. More than 16 species of amphibians and reptiles live in this marsh, such as spring peppers, leopard frogs, newts and the snapping turtle." -Text courtesy of Bois de l'Île Bizard.

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  • 06 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: Cycling

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard marsh Boardwalk wetlands swamp cycling cyclists bicycle
    ••• Evelyn Reid

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard offers 10km (over 6 miles) of scenic trails ideal for cycling as well as hiking.

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  • 07 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: The Blackbird Attack

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard blackbird attack marsh Boardwalk wetlands swamp
    ••• This red-wing blackbird was just inches from me after making a bee-line for my face. He remained in close proximity as I snapped his mugshot for well over three minutes. Evelyn Reid

    Some birds at Bois de l'Île Bizard seem used to close encounters with humans.

    This red-wing blackbird, for example, was just inches from me after making a bee-line for my face. He remained in close proximity as I snapped his mugshot for well over three minutes.

    However, he -- who would have been a "she" if his black coat had been a dull shade of brown -- swooped in a little too close for comfort, suggesting this reputably aggressive male was more interested in attacking your humble guide than engaging in a heart-warming moment of interspecies bonding. Find out more about Bois de l'Île Bizard's activities and facilities or continue to the next image.

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  • 08 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: The Tree Swallow

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard tree swallow marsh Boardwalk wetlands swamp
    ••• Île Bizard is home to the tree swallow, a small songbird recognizable by its streamlined shape, shiny blue upper body and white underside. Females tend to have a duller, brownish/blue tint. Evelyn Reid

    Bois de l'Île Bizard ranks high in birdwatching appeal, with its marsh attracting everything from ducks to herons to owls. Bois de l'Île Bizard is also home to the tree swallow, a small songbird recognizable by its streamlined shape, shiny blue upper body, and white underside. Females tend to have a lackluster, brownish/blue tint.

    Park management rent out binoculars for birdwatching purposes.

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  • 09 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: Leave it to Beaver

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard beavers marsh Boardwalk wetlands swamp
    ••• Escape the City Without Leaving the City According to Bois de l'Île Bizard management, "the beaver plays an essential role in the life of this marsh. Thanks to its work, the water level increased and remained at that level, creating a habitat even richer in wildlife species.". Photo © Evelyn Reid

    "The beaver plays an essential role in the life of this marsh. Thanks to its work, the water level increased and remained at that level, creating a habitat even richer in wildlife species. However, the beaver also has an impact on terrestrial vegetation since it loves eating poplars and other trees. In fact, one beaver can chop down about 216 trees and shrubs a year to build dikes and lodges and to feed itself, quickly decimating the surrounding forest."

    "A beaver management program is in place to preserve the fragile balance necessary to the conservation of the natural environment. Since beavers are required to maintain the habitat's water level and wildlife diversity, a beaver colony was protected. The male was castrated in order to stop population growth and to ensure a better balance between wildlife and flora. Studies seem to indicate that this operation has no impact on the integrity of family ties, on their health or on their behavior." -Text courtesy of Bois de l'Île Bizard.

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  • 10 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: The Beach

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard beach Pointe-aux-Carrières marsh Boardwalk wetlands swamp
    ••• Evelyn Reid

    Of all beaches on Montreal soil, Bois de l'Île Bizard's Pointe-aux-Carrières is your humble expert's favorite.

    Why?

    Well it's not exactly spectacular, but one, the view of Lac des Deux Montagnes (a.k.a., Lake of Two Mountains) is unusually calming and two, the beach itself is less frequented than its popular counterparts, Cap St. Jacques and Plage du Parc Jean-Drapeau, a breath of fresh air for any urbanite yearning for rest and relaxation.

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  • 11 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: Pointe-aux-Carrières

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard beach Pointe-aux-Carrières quarry
    ••• To the right of the Bois de l'Île Bizard's sandy beachfront are the rocky remnants of an old quarry. They lead to the best lookout spot to enjoy the view of Lac des Deux Montagnes. Evelyn Reid

    To the right of the Bois de l'Île Bizard's sandy beachfront is the remains of an old quarry, active from the early to mid 19th century, hence the beach name Pointe-aux-Carrières, French for "quarry point."

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  • 12 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: Lac des Deux Montagnes

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: Lac des Deux Montagnes

    Bois de l'Île Bizard's beach, Pointe-aux-Carrières, is located on Lac des Deux Montagnes (Lake of Two Mountains), a small body of water 150 km² in size (43 km long and 10 km wide), located northeast of the island of Montreal.

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  • 13 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: Lac des Deux Montagnes

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard beach lac des deux montagnes Pointe-aux-Carrières marsh
    ••• Visitors can enjoy a view of Lac des Deux Montagnes from the gazebo and bring lawn chairs to sit on Pointe-aux-Carrières' old quarry site. Evelyn Reid
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  • 14 of 14

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard: Lac des Deux Montagnes

    Île Bizard's Bois de l'Île Bizard beach lac des deux montagnes Pointe-aux-Carrières marsh
    ••• View of Lac des Deux Montagnes (Lake of Two Mountains) at the edge of Bois de l'Île Bizard's beach, Pointe-aux-Carrières. Evelyn Reid