Friends of Petrie Island

Oziles Marina Canoe Club Reservations

Sign up your kids for the JUNIOR NATURALIST program or add your name to the list for the year’s activities by email. 

Book a tour for your youth group, school group, or summer camp, here.

RENEW your membership in person at Interpretive center or here.

2017 SPRING FLOOD: With floodwaters receding, the Friends of Petrie Island will monitor levels in the coming days. As access improves over time we will begin the cleanup and repairing of facilities. Planned activities will resume when it is safe to proceed, so please keep monitoring our website for updates and a revised calendar. We thank all those who offered assistance. Also check our Facebook page for more frequent updates.

More photos of the island in flood are filed as Dispatches.



As Canada turns 150, the Friends of Petrie Island mark their 20th year of volunteer service to the community. In 1997, members of a group formed to maintain the walking trails of Queenswood Heights /Fallingbrook in Orleans saw potential in a nature preserve and park at Petrie Island, acquired in 1983 by the municipality from its private owners. The Friends of Petrie Island also opposed construction of a new interprovincial bridge that would have been destructive to the island environment. They also  saw possibilities for an environmental education program. Twenty years later, that program has been a resounding success, and the volunteers and staff of Friends of Petrie Island are proud to serve the community by managing the trail system and picnic area. Many thanks to all who have served, and especially to the elected representatives and municipal officials and staff who supported us along the way. Over the years, Friends have received over $200,000 in support.


Alors que le Canada célèbre son 150e, les Amis de l’île Petrie marquent 20 ans de bénévolat. En 1997, plusieurs membres d’un groupe constitué pour entretenir les sentiers de Queenswood Heights et Fallingbrook à Orléans ont vu le potentiel d’une reserve naturelle, avec un parc, à l’île Petrie, que la municipalité avait acheté en 1983. Les Amis s’opposaient aussi à la construction d’un pont interprovincial à l’île Petrie, projet qui en aurait dégradé l’environnement naturel. Les Amis envisageaient aussi un programme d’éducation. Vingt ans ont passé, et ce dernier est un franc succès, alors que les bénévoles et le personnel des Amis de l’île Petrie sont fiers de servir la communauté en assurant l’entretien du réseau de sentiers et du terrain de pique-nique. Nous remercions tous ceux et celles qui ont fait partie de l’effort, et surtout les représentants élus et le personnel municipal qui nous ont appuyé. Au fil des ans, les Amis on reçu plus de 200 000$ de soutien.

What’s coming in 2017

Our popular Junior Naturalist day camp program, adult guided walks, theme days (Turtle Day, Membership Day Open House),  group cleanups, invasive species removal as well as flower and tree planting and our regular Wednesday work days are among the activities planned for 2017. Attention teachers: school class visits are now being booked for mid-May to June. They include a tour of the Interpretation Center, short scavenger hunt, nature walk and free time, for a total of two hours or so, including a snack break. Fee is $5 per child, no charge for adults.

Click on Programs and Events for details.

Front row: Paul, Robert, Jocelyn, Christine, Kayla, Emily, Sarah; Back row: Bill, Mike, Stephen, Al, Gil, JoAnne
Front row: Paul, Robert, Jocelyn, Christine, Kayla, Emily, Sarah; Back row: Bill, Mike, Stephen, Al, Gil, JoAnne


After a short winter Petrie Island was flooded four times between January and May, with roads closed a total of 43 days.  Beavers were very active during the flood, debarking many large cottonwood trees. Volunteers wrapped a dozen large trees to save them. It also became evident that a large number of ash trees were  dead or were dying from the ash borer disease. The City came in to remove over 30  large  dead ash trees. Friends is working with  Forestry to protect  trees by wrapping with wire mesh as well as growing and planting replacement trees.

Friends received grants to hire five students through Careers Canada. This allowed us to expand our educational programs, do our displays and initiate development of a tree nursery. We had an increased number of school tours, with over 1,200 students and parents from 15 schools attending 15 tours in May and June and our Junior and Youth naturalist had 36 events attended by 811 people.

We continued our Wednesday adult workdays on a  variety of projects to maintain the picnic area, trails and nature centre.  Work continued on new trails, benches and completing the new storage facility in the plant nursery area.

The City purchased  private property at the head of the Bill Holland trail where one new loop trail was developed with fine river views.

The Membership program was continued with two open houses and tours highlighting features of Petrie Island including edible and medicinal plants, archeology of the area, trees of Petrie island and invasive  plants. We also sent out regular dispatches to members.

We continued our monitoring of Turtle basking and nesting started in 2005.

We continued to support  Kayaking at Petrie Island with the newly formed Canoe club under Sarah Kennedy. The club ran day camps during the summer using  the Friends’ activity tent and storage areas for their program.

We would like to thank members and many others for their support of our programs, all continuing in 2017.

Al Tweddle, Chair – Friends of Petrie Island

FOPI LOGO 2015.large 2


                         Get Involved

Want to know more about FOPI membership and volunteering? Find out more here: Get Involved

We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation

Check out the Petrie Island Canoe Club's summer programs! ... See MoreSee Less

Love the idea of the classic summer camp, but don't want to send your kids away? Our 2-week camps give your kids all the adventure, boating skills, and exposure to nature, without the stress of a sleep-away! More info @:

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Some of our picnic tables have decided to escape and take a swim down the river! They don’t bite, but if you see them we would love to be reunited with our dear picnic tables! ... See MoreSee Less

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While there have obviously been many negative effects of the Ottawa River flooding this year, normal fluctuations in water level are actually a regular occurrence and play a unique role in the ecology of Petrie Island. Many species of plants require flooding to disperse their seeds, and others rely on the shifting of shoreline sediments that occurs during floods. Many animals have also become adapted to these floods, as the still backwaters formed during regular flooding provide habitat for many species not found in the open river. (adapted from the Friends of Petrie Island Handbook, excerpt written by Stephen Darbyshire).

This year, despite the unusually high water levels, there is still some animal activity on the island!
SPOTTED ON PETRIE ISLAND: “at least a dozen very large beavers; they were all huddled together, in a big furry pile. I paddled right up to them, and they made adorable little grunting noises before evacuating the one remaining mound that's still out of the water”
- Sarah Kennedy, FOPI member and Commodore of the Petrie Island Canoe Club (PICC)
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Anybody who would like to make a donation to Friends of Petrie Island can send them to 1395 Sault Street, Orleans ON, K1E 1G8 (addressed to Al Tweddle, the chairmain of FOPI). We are appreciative of any donations you would like to give, however, as a forewarning we are unable to give tax receipts. For those of you that would rather give physical support we will keep the Facebook page updated for any volunteer opportunities! We really appreciate the support that the community has shown to Petrie Island and we thank you in advance! ... See MoreSee Less

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2017 SPRING FLOOD: With floodwaters almost 4 meters (12 ft) higher than the summer average, Petrie Island is entirely under water, except the beach pavilion and very small areas on the western end and at the marina. There has been some loss of park furniture and considerable damage to trail structures and platforms; all buildings are flooded waist-deep. The waters have started to recede, and we will continue to monitor and update on the situation. We are presently updating all displays to reflect the effects of the flood on the island and its wildlife, and we will be resuming all FOPI activities when the island is accessible. Once the water levels have lowered we will be assessing the damage, and will likely need both physical and financial support through membership or other donations to repolish this gem in our city. ... See MoreSee Less

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