A successful first step for the renaturalization of Sainte-Thérèse Island, a future urban park at Montreal’s eastern end

July 28, 2022, Montreal, Quebec – The Quebec chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS Québec) is pleased with the success of its ecological restoration pilot project on Sainte-Thérèse Island. More than 7,000 trees were planted in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022 thanks to the participation of over 300 volunteers. This 5.4 km² piece of public land, located just minutes from downtown Montreal, represents the largest opportunity for the enhancement of and access to nature in the Greater Montreal area.

An effective collaboration

The implementation of this renaturalization project was made possible thanks to the collaboration of the City of Varennes, the borough of Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM), the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada. This pilot project has received financial support from the Two Billion Trees program of Natural Resources Canada.

More than 300 volunteers, including school and corporate participants, enthusiastically took part in the tree planting on Sainte-Thérèse Island. To carry out the project, CPAWS Quebec collaborated with Coopérative Arbre-Évolution, an organization with solid expertise in participatory ecological reforestation.

An exceptional natural environment

Sainte-Thérèse Island, which consists of approximately 5.4 km² of provincial public land, is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna and numerous wetlands of interest to migratory birds.

Preserving and renaturalizing these natural environments will:

  • Counter the erosion of biodiversity by restoring the island’s degraded ecosystems and maintaining their natural dynamics and ecological functions;
  • Contribute to the adaptation to climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the mitigation of air and water pollution in the east of Montreal;
  • Enhance this unique island site and offer a place of recreation for the local population.

“CPAWS Quebec’s tree planting project aims to enhance the natural environment and exceptional heritage of Sainte-Thérèse Island for conservation and ecotourism purposes. The citizens of Greater Montreal can look forward to enjoying privileged access to the green and blue spaces of this future urban park, which will allow them to experience the benefits of nature and to reconnect with this little-known area,” says Benoit Tendeng, conservation project manager at CPAWS Quebec.

Prospects for the creation of an urban park

The creation of a large urban park to enhance this public area is part of the CMM’s Metropolitan Planning and Development Plan (PMAD), which aims to recognize and strengthen the natural assets of Greater Montreal.

“Restoring access to Sainte-Thérèse Island for citizens, providing more habitat for biodiversity and actively fighting against climate change are all part of the potential of this renaturalization project. A new lung for the east of Montreal, a future island of freshness, a large urban park: such is the vision we have for this area”, adds Alain Branchaud, executive director of CPAWS Quebec.

CPAWS Quebec unveils today a documentary video to showcase this outstanding opportunity to create a large urban park in the Montreal area.



Documentary video of the project: French version and English version


Charlène Daubenfeld
Director of Communications CPAWS Quebec
Cell: 514 378-3880