The site is a natural stop along the Richelieu River and helps commemorate its importance in the history of Indigenous, local and regional communities. The establishment of a variety of functions on the site makes it possible to offer an enhanced visitor experience, while standing out within the region’s recreational tourism offer. The exceptional natural environment of the canal will be enhanced, while the effects of climate change will be better known and documented, allowing for a mitigation of the impacts on the integrity of the site and infrastructure.

Renewing the historic site

The Parks Canada Agency Act requires Parks Canada to prepare a Management Plan for each national historic site administered by the Agency. The Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan, once approved by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada and tabled in Parliament, ensures Parks Canada’s accountability to Canadians, outlining how historic site management will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate.

Some of the objectives identified in the 2005 plan have been achieved, including repairs in the Superintendent’s house, maintenance work on the Vianney-Legendre migratory pass, the development of a diversified animation on the site by the “Amis du Canal de Saint-Ours,” as well as the growth and renewal of clientele, in particular by the addition of oTENTik accommodation units.

Key strategies

1 - A Historical Jewel and Landmark Along the Richelieu River

This strategy aims to take advantage of the location of the Saint-Ours Canal site, which straddles the Richelieu River, and make it a main attraction along recreational and tourism routes in the Bas-Richelieu region. The goal is to better showcase the canal’s rich history and improve visitors’ understanding of the importance of the river throughout time, both for Indigenous peoples and for the region’s development. Citizens, local organizations and adjacent municipalities will feel a greater sense of ownership towards the site, which will foster a stronger sense of belonging and promote the canal regionally.

Some suggested actions...

  • Carrying out a tourist destination positioning strategy
  • Aiming to annually increase the number of visitors (families, boaters, cyclists, etc.) to the site
  • Suggesting new initiatives or experiences to better explain navigation along the Richelieu River throughout history
  • Enhancing programming and services offered on site in collaboration with the municipalities
  • Promoting citizen and community activities and events on the site
2 - A Site That Welcomes a Variety of Users (Boaters, Visitors and Campers)

The goal of this strategy is to improve the condition of the site’s facilities and infrastructure to make them sustainable and enhance the visitor experience. It also includes reinforcing the function of the various areas of the site based on the needs of different users as well as improving the experiences offered. Promoting oTENTik accommodation units in partnership with the community will also help better position the Saint-Ours Canal within the region’s recreational and tourism scene.

Some suggested actions

  • Improving the facilities and services intended for visitors, recreational boaters and camp site users (oTENTik)
  • Preserving and enhancing the Superintendent’s House, the original canal layout and/or the stone shed
  • Implementing measures to improve visitor paths and signage between the site and the surrounding municipalities
  • Improving access between the different areas of the site (the Saint-Ours shore, Darvard Island and the Saint-Roch shore)
  • Providing, in collaboration with tourist organizations and activities in the region, promotional initiatives combined with stays in oTENTik units
3 - Preserved Heritage, Protected Flora and Fauna

In light of climate change, this strategy involves mitigating the impacts of flooding on infrastructure sustainability and the commemorative integrity of the Saint-Ours Canal National Historic Site. Renewed facilities and tools will help visitors better appreciate the site’s rich history and natural components. Identifying the site’s flora and fauna will enable visitors to learn about the canal’s biodiversity and exceptional natural environment. It also aims for the Vianney-Legendre Fishway to contribute significantly to protecting and spreading knowledge about species at risk or likely to be at risk in the Richelieu River.

Some suggested actions

  • Planning and implementing adaptation and mitigation measures to reduce flood impacts on site components
  • Sharing, in partnership with Indigenous communities, the importance of the Richelieu River, as told from their knowledge, perspectives and experiences
  • Renewing tools for interpreting, promoting and showcasing historic heritage of the Saint-Ours Canal
  • Pursuing efforts to protect endangered species, in particular the Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi)
  • Improving the layout of the Vianney Legendre fishway’s surroundings for visitors