What are The Champlain Oaks?

This house was built around a bur oak tree decades ago. It's just one example of tree-friendly symbiotic development (on Patricia Avenue) in Champlain Park neighbourhood.

The Champlain Oaks are Bur Oaks within the Champlain Park neighbourhood of Ottawa, and descendants of an old-growth forest that once lined the Ottawa River from Chaudiere Falls to Deschenes Rapids. The oldest trees are confirmed to be more than 190 years, which means they are not just older than our 60 year-old neighbourhood,  they also much older than Canada itself. 

The oak forest ecosystem that these oaks come from would have covered the south shore of the Ottawa River when Samuel de Champlain explored the area that bears his name in the early 1600s, and he surely would have seen some of the parents of our current oaks. One of his compatriots, Captain Pierre Chevalier de Troyes, noted "the oak forest" here in 1686 on his way up the Ottawa river to expel the English from James Bay.

 

The neighbourhood of Champlain Park -- near the Champlain Bridge 7 km west of downtown Ottawa -- was created around these oak trees, thus preserving more than two dozen of them, often in backyards.  They are called the Champlain Oaks because of their location in Champlain Park neighbourhood and because, like Samuel de Champlain himself, they are part of local history. 

The Champlain Oaks also refers to the group of neighbours that came together in early 2011 to raise awareness about the threat posed to these giant trees due to lack of enforcement of Ottawa's Urban Tree Conservation By-law. 

In the fall of 2017, a ceremony in our neighbourhood listed four bur oaks as heritage trees. Forests Ontario officials affixed plaques to the trees. In early 2018, three more bur oaks received heritage plaques to recognize their heritage status. 

Where are The Champlain Oaks?

The map shows the location and diameter of the mature bur oak trees in Champlain Park neighbourhood in 2016. Some have been lost since.  

Click on this interactive map to see the Champlain Oaks near you. 

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Bur oak leaves and acorns