After a decades long battle between environmentalists, the city, and residents, the Parc-nature du Bois-de-Saraguay officially opened to the public on June 2, 2016. The 93-hectare nature park near Gouin Boulevard is considered the oldest forest on the island and is home to 35 species of trees, 45 types of shrubs, 275 species of herbaceous plants; and 80 species of birds. The land was acquired in 1981 by the Montreal Urban Community, and included three heritage buildings.
According to André Bouchard, Jardin botanique de Montréal, “The campaign to conserve Bois-de-Saraguay was the catalyst for the creation of the regional parks network.” which became Montréal’s “grands parcs“.
You can read more about the fight to preserve the woods in John Meagher’s Montreal Gazette article.
Along with the nearby parc-nature du Bois-de-Liesse, Bois-de-Saraguay is part of the “Coulée verte du ruisseau Bertrand” and is one of Montreal’s ten Écoterritoires. What’s an Écoterritoires? Well, you can read about that HERE
There are 1.8km of walking trails that do NOT loop back around onto each other. If you want to walk and exit from where you started, you’ll have to double back. There’s no trail map or even location of the entrances on the official webpage from the Ville de Montréal, so we went in blind, and drove around a few streets until we found an entrance.
We parked on Avenue Jean-Bourdon, walked through the unobtrusive entrance, and along the hard-packed fine gravel. You’ll be fine here with a stroller as the path is completely flat and just about perfect, but once the path turns a sharp 90º west-ish, it becomes more narrow and is on normal gravel. Turn again down towards the entrance/exit at Avenue Joseph-Saucier and it’s fine gravel again. That we came out at a different spot turned out to be great, because we were able to walk along Jean-Bourdon back to the car and there is an IMMENSE Halloween display at one of the houses. It’s impossible to miss and must have about 30 inflatables on its lawn. The boys were thrilled!
The walk itself didn’t take very long, maybe 30 minutes and we just sort of moseyed along. It was beautiful, with some amazingly impressive trees that were GLOWING.
The other entrance to the park and trail is on Croissant du Beau-Bois
Note that the nature park has NO facilities other than the bike racks and a couple of benches near the entrances. Parking is free on the surrounding streets, and there is no parking lot. Leashed dogs are welcome, bikes are completely forbidden.
So of course the only other people we met while on the trails was a lady with an unleashed dog, and a mountain biker shredding up the trail. Splendid.
There are occasional guided walks and activities in the park, which you can read about on the park’s official website.
If you want to do something more than just the walk, we’ve been to quite a few playgrounds in the area including, Noël-Nord, Noël-Sud, Camille, Beauséjour etc. You can find them all on the website by doing a search, or “by map“.