Very few natural areas have been protected as well as the refuge faunique Marguerite-D'Youville, which is on Île Saint-Bernard in Châteauguay. Its marshes, wetlands, shorelines, prairies and wooded areas form exceptional ecosystems near urban areas and are home to a wide range of animal and plant species.
A great particularity of the wildlife sanctuary is that it features a permanent marsh covering a third of the area or 85 hectares. Combined with other habitats of the area, this wetland supplies high-quality food and shelter for wildlife and allows exceptional plant life to develop.
Because of the quality of its habitats and abundant food it offers, the Marguerite-D’Youville wildlife sanctuary has become one of the foremost ornithological sites in Québec owing to the number of species observed, some 243 reported over the years. Considered a key migratory stopover, the wildlife installations attract our feathered friends year round, much to the pleasure of bird and photography enthusiasts!
A paradise for aquatic and land mammals, it is not unusual to spot a common muskrat, an American mink, a red fox, a groundhog or even one of the white-tailed deer that consider the wildlife sanctuary as an ideal habitat!
Consisting of amphibians and reptiles, the herpetofauna depends on wetlands and is an excellent barometer of our environment. Since marshes make up a large part of the wildlife sanctuary, the herpetofauna is rich and diverse. Green frogs, tree frogs, salamanders and turtles call the sanctuary home. These creatures are known for their delightful performances, both for the eyes and ears!
The variety of terrestrial and wetland habitats means that the wildlife refuge provides shelter to extremely rich plant life. Hikers will see a sugar maple-hickory stand, a swamp white oak stand, wildland and shrubby habitats. Then, for connoisseurs, it is possible to admire rare plants growing at the northern limit of their distribution range: bulbous bittercress, sand violet, cutleaf toothwort, wild rice and the sublime cockspur hawthorn, among others.
Forest plants, shoreline flowers, food-producing plants and much more offer breathtaking views!
* The access fee is payable at the Island Pavilion during opening hours. Outside this time slot, access to the wildlife refuge trails is free. The trails are accessible from sunrise to sunset.