5 Essential Things to Know About Oka National Park

Courtesy: Oka National Park

Oka is a tiny village on the Ottawa River’s northern bank, northwest of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. You will find this town in the Laurentians valley on Lake of Two Mountains, St. Lawrence River meets the Ottawa river right there, and is feasible via Quebec Road 344. It’s 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Montreal.

Brief Introduction of Oka National Park

  • Oka National Park is a small park mainly controlled by provinces located within Oka town and between Pointe-Calumet and Saint-Placide on one of the sides, in Quebec, Canada,  and on the north coast, you will see Lac des Deux Montagnes.
  • The Park belongs to one of Quebec’s largest heronries as well as the famous Calvary of Oka shrine, which dates back to 1740.
  • The Oka National Park spans 23.7 square kilometers. It shares land with Oka, a municipality in the Deux-Montagnes Regional County Municipality and the Laurentides which is a densely wooded area.
  • The demographics of the National park include both natural and artificial earthly topography including the wetlands of Grande Baie, the shoreline of Lake des Deux Montagnes, Rivière aux Serpents and the hill road
  • Within 50 kilometers of Montreal, the Parc national d’Oka provides a range of outdoor activities throughout the year. The beach, water activities, hiking paths, picnic sites, the bike path, and various exploration activities are available during the summer.

1. Oka National Park: History

The Sulpicians controlled a considerable portion of the park’s real land. It was utilized for agriculture and forestry. The Québec government purchased a tiny 1.6 km2 tract from them in 1962 to establish the Réserve de chasse et de pêche de Deux-Montagnes, which was renamed “Parc provincial d’Oka” a year later and “Parc Paul-Sauvé” in 1968. Expo 67 required the construction of camping facilities, roads, and a sewage treatment facility.

Outdoor activities like cross country skiing were in great demand in 1974. The government of Québec purchased some property, including the Calvaire hill, raising the park’s total area to 23.7 km2. This region, called “Parc de récréation d’Oka,” obtained recreation park status in 1990, along with a new mission of protecting the natural environment and very densely wooded area while encouraging outdoor recreational activities.

This was designated a National Park on 2001, a title given by the International Union for Conservation of Nature on a protected area managed primarily for ecosystem protection and the development of wildlife habitat.

Parc national d’Oka’s aim is to safeguard a representative section of the St. Lawrence Lowlands, namely the southern half of this region. Amerindians have been there for years, as per the  to artefacts and ecofacts excavated in the park, and they used the Lake des Deux Montagnes coastline for camping, pottery making, fishing, and hunting.

The Sulpicians persuaded French Trappist monks to live in Oka and use the agricultural areas. They worked together to establish a renowned agricultural school. The Trappist monks of Oka and their institution contributed to some of Quebec’s agricultural legacy, including Oka cheese, Chanteclerc poultry, and a new kind of Oka melon.

Several remnants of the park’s agricultural heritage and historic buildings may still be seen today. The jungle is gradually engulfing uncultivated lands.

2. Oka National Park: Hiking Trails and Wildlife

Oka National Park, located less than an hour from Montreal, is both historical and ecologically significant. It is situated on the north bank of Lake des Deux Montagnes, between both the communities of Oka and Pointe-Calumet, and provides camping, outdoor sports and pastimes, a diverse array of plant and animal life, and much more.

Look for maples and beech-sugar maples on Calvaire Hill, red oak-sugar maples on Masson Hill, and white pine-red oaks in the camping section. Perhaps you’ll see any of the park’s species, such as the Great Blue Heron, beavers, bats, or the Wood Duck (which is on the verge of extinction).

Courtesy: Sepaq

If you want your own camp area and a picnic table, arrive early! The campground general shop sells just the very basic things, but there is usually enough of wood. Oka, if you forget something, the village is only a short drive away.

Marshes are now acknowledged for their ecological value. They provide as habitats for many creatures, providing locations for protection, breeding, and food that are vital for survival. Its vegetation not only prevents bank erosion and lessens the impact of spring flooding, but it also aids in water filtering. It was predicted in 2001 that 90% of wetlands had vanished in southwest Quebec, making it critical to protect these areas in Parc national d’Oka.

3. Reaching Oka National Park

The National Park of Oka is not distant from Montréal. The peak of the Calvaire d’Oka route offers spectacular views of Lac des Deux Montagnes and the Adirondacks in both winter and summer season.

Oka National Park, located 55 kilometers northwest of Montreal, offers a lot to offer history aficionados and nature enthusiasts.

Courtesy: Sepaq

There are two entrances to the National Park. The park’s main entrance gate is on Route 344, while the secondary entrance is near the western end of Highway 640. In the winter, Highway 640 is closed.

From the South Shore, use Highway 30 and Highway 40 towards Gatineau. Take the Oka-Hudson ferry ($) as directed. Turn right off the boat into Notre-Dame Street. The park entrance is 2.8 kilometres on the right.

Traveling is followed by tiresome activities. To regain your energy, we can suggest you best hotels near Oka National Park just as your convenience.

  1. Auberge de l’Abbaye d’Oka
  2. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vaudreuil, an IHG Hotel
  3. Château Vaudreuil Hôtel & Suites

These hotels overall provide proper hygiene, bathroom facilities, great ambiance and its reviews shows nice secluded separation. Thus, these can contribute to the best service in hotels you will find. Enjoy your trip to the best by staying in these suites to make your trip less tiresome and more memorable.

5. Nearby Attractions of Parc National d’Oka

Oka is such a big pool of tourism that you can never complete your list of visits in the place. Little hyperbole, but worth it!

  • First and foremost, during a 1.5-hour walking tour, you may learn about the history and development of old Montreal. Follow a tour into hidden courtyards and explore where the city began in the nearly forgotten Place Royale.
  • Stroll through the lively squares of Place Jacques-Cartier and Place d’Armes, as well as through rebuilt historic warehouses in the Old Port and on rue de la Commune, which are home to chic restaurants and digital start-ups. See the finest of both east and west Old Montreal on this trip and the walk will be very pleasing.
  • Oka Beach, located in Oka National Park in Montreal, Canada, is one another option. Because of the frigid winters in Canada, the summer and winter scenes are very different. It changes into a ski resort in the winter, with bent skiing, sleds, snowshoes, and other winter activities. There are clean lakes and sandy beaches in the summer for fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, and other activities.
  • One more best thing which can be done is, a visit to St. Joseph’s Cathedral. After the Cathedral of Yamoussoukro in Côte d’Ivoire and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the dome of St. Joseph’s Cathedral is the third biggest in the world. Every year, around 2 million visitors and pilgrims visit St. Joseph’s Church. It is located in  3800 Rue Queen Mary, nearby Côte-des-Neiges metro station. St. Joseph’s Church was designated a Canadian Heritage Site in 2005. The city of Montreal is represented in the Monopoly game with a photograph of St. Joseph’s Basilica.

Reviews of Oka National Park

During the fall season, Oka National Park is a beautiful and warm area, especially towards the end of October, as if nature’s beauty is at its peak. You can enjoy your beautiful warm days of the upcoming winter where Oka provides easy access to numerous local wonders, and the park camping spots are particularly lovely. You will find pathways peaceful and pleasant and the location is not congested.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan you stay at the amazing Oka National Park and experience a holiday of natural beauty, fun and adventure.

Shruti is a physics graduate and an aspiring writer in dynamic fields of interest. Pursuing a hobby of reading fiction and psychological thrillers, she is also a solo traveller who faces entanglement between exploration and satisfaction.