Terra-Cotta Natural Park

This ecologically valuable urban woodland was made into a park by the City of Pointe-Claire to preserve its diversity and make it accessible to the public. Nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts are delighted by the variety and abundance of its plant and animal and life.

100 Terra-Cotta Avenue
See map of hiking trails


Terra-Cotta Natural Park is:

  • A woodland covering almost 40 hectares;
  • 4,4 kilometres of hiking trails and 11 interpretive panels;
  • A wide range of ecosystems and plant species;
  • A natural habitat for many birds, reptiles and mammals;
  • A favourite place for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

Help us preserve the park

  • Stay on the marked trails.
  • Do not remove any natural feature (animals, plants, wood, stones or rocks, etc.).
  • Do not feed the animals.
  • Leave waste in bins at park entrances.
  • Keep dogs on a leash at all times.
  • Put dog excrement in a sealed bag and drop it into one of the bins at park entrances.

Thanks to our partnership with the Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l’environnement, the City has carried out the following projects in Terra-Cotta Natural Park, and the initiatives will continue until the summer of 2018:

  • Developing paths by planting 1,060 plants;
  • Hosting a planting activity with residents;
  • Marking paths by installing signs;
  • Cutting and pulling out weeds and dangerous plants;
  • Installing two nest boxes for screech owls, two bat houses, and a snake hibernaculum;
  • Creating and installing 15 signs on tree stumps;
  • Creating and installing five entrance panels, ten interpretive panels, and two interactive panels;
  • Hosting an awareness activity at a school.

Monarch butterfly educational garden

According to the Government of Canada, the monarch butterfl y is at risk, being listed as a species of “special concern”. The decline in North America’s monarch population is due to a number of factors.

  • The loss of milkweed – a native flower that is the sole source of food for monarch caterpillars – due to the systematic spraying of herbicides on fields.
  • The pressures that agriculture and tourism put on the Mexican forests where monarch butterflies migrate in winter.
  • Climatic changes that disrupt the monarch’s migratory pattern by altering the milkweed’s growth cycle.

To protect this species and give it a place to feed and lay its eggs, you can add nectar flowers and native plants, such as milkweed, to your flower beds.


The garden is made possible with the financial support of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Bee educational garden

The Viburnum entrance of Terra-Cotta Natural Park now includes a honey plant garden that aims to preserve biodiversity. The garden includes a path, three interpretive panels, and a bench. These plants produce nectar and pollen, playing a vital role for pollinating insects such as bees and monarchs.

The garden will be inaugurated on September 15, 2018, at 1 p.m.

Estimated projection in 2020:

A little history

Located in the Hochelaga neighbourhood of Montréal, the Montreal Terra Cotta and Lumber Co. was founded in 1888 by the Honourable Alphonse Desjardins. A few years later, a major clay seam was found in Pointe-Claire on land used for agricultural and firewood production. The company acquired the land and began extracting the clay in 1912.

The Honourable Alphonse Desjardins (1841-1912), lawyer, journalist and manufacturer, was a Member of Parliament for 18 years in the House of Commons and a senator. The title Honourable distinguishes him from Alphonse Desjardins, founder of the Caisses populaires Desjardins, who lived during the same period.

1930: Brick making

The clay extracted from the embankment was mixed with sawdust and baked in kilns on site. The final product – a hollow fireproof tile used to build walls and floors – was shipped by train or truck to Ontario and western Canada.

The only manufacturing industry in Pointe-Claire until 1959, Montreal Terra Cotta employed up to 60 people. In 1962, after approximately 700,000 cubic metres of clay had been extracted over half a century, the seam was depleted. The factory closed and the company rehabilitated the site in the following year.

1973: Site conservation

Without further development, the lands attracted speculators. In 1971, a committee made up of John Rennie High School students and local citizens proposed to transform the Montreal Terra Cotta site and the land located just east into a natural park.

The Terra Cotta Conservation Area Project (Pointe-Claire) Inc. was created and studies of the area’s ecological potential were conducted. Citizens mobilized and the City of Pointe-Claire purchased part of the site in 1983 to create a natural park.

2011: Dedicated to nature

Today, there is as little human intervention in the park as possible to foster regeneration and enable the community to experience the area. A conservation agreement protects the site until 2041 and confirms the natural park as a public wooded area of great ecological value for environmentally friendly recreational activities.

Links and downloads


For more information about the Terra-Cotta Nature Park, contact the Public Works Department at 514-630-1230 or tp@pointe-claire.ca