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Visiting Petite Île Limerick, Near Portage-du-Fort, Quebec: Curious Island in the Rivière des Outaouais / Ottawa River

Updated on August 27, 2019
Flag of Quebec
Flag of Quebec | Source
Chenaux Hydroelectric Power Station on the Ottawa River, Ontario/Quebec, Canada
Chenaux Hydroelectric Power Station on the Ottawa River, Ontario/Quebec, Canada | Source

In a region popular for fishing

The Rivière des Outaouais / Ottawa River contains many islands within its course. Among its more well known ones is Victoria Island, at Ottawa, Ontario, opposite the city of Gatineau, Quebec.

Petite Île Limerick — the English form, Little Limerick Island, does not seem to be used much — is another such significant island in the Rivière des Outaouais / Ottawa River. Situated about 2 kilometres from the village of Portage-du-Fort, the island is wholly within the boundaries of Quebec's Municipalité régionale de comté de Pontiac / Pontiac Regional County Municipality.

The island is quite heavily forested and is uninhabited — unless one were to count night janitors at the Chenaux Generating Station! This Station is situated partly on Petite Île Limerick and partly on the Ontario bank of the Rivière des Outaouais / Ottawa River (see also the photo I have supplied, above); this unusual situation can lead to complexities both in inter-provincial regulation, bilingual requirements and in the overlapping spheres of involvement among Ontario and Quebec union representatives.

Petite Île Limerick is crossed by Chemin de l'île, which as Route 301 is the continuation in Quebec of Ontario's Chenaux Road - Route 653, as it crosses the western channel of the Rivière des Outaouais / Ottawa River which divides the island from the Ontario bank. Route 301 continues over two of the dams across the river and over neighbouring Île Limerick and thence to and beyond Portage-du-Fort (1).

The wider region has many fishing opportunities and Petite Île Limerick is included in an inventory of fishing spots near Portage-du-Fort (2).

The name 'Limerick' is in all probability in indirect reference to the fact that in the 19th century many Irish workers were hired to the region's lumber industry. The (sometimes seasonal) settlement of Irish workers during the 19th century and their at times complex relations with Francophone counterparts became a significant part of the local history and lore of the Rivière des Outaouais / Ottawa River region (3).

July 31, 2019


(1) For a detailed, interactive map of Municipalité régionale de comté de Pontiac / Pontiac Regional County Municipality, see: .

(2) See:

For general fishing regulations in Quebec, see also: (in French) ; (in English)

(3) The semi-legendary figure Jos Montferrand (1802-1864) — sometimes rendered 'Big Joe Mufferraw' in English — was a logger and amateur boxer, who worked for many years in the Rivière des Outaouais / Ottawa River region, and acquired a reputation for his willingness to defend with his fists the honour of Francophone people. While he has also been the subject of popular lyrics and folklore, Gatineau's principal courthouse is named for him.

Jos Montferrand
Jos Montferrand | Source

Also worth seeing

In Portage-du-Fort, Quebec, itself there are various heritage properties, some of them of built of stone, which surround or are close to Parc Brosseau; the village has become well known for artistic exhibitions.

In Gatineau (distance: 88.3 kilometres), the Musée canadien des civilisations / Canadian Museum of Civilization is Canada's most visited museum. Gatineau's Masion du citoyen / Citizen's House has a noted art gallery and the Hall des nations / Hall of the Nations containing valuable cultural artifacts from around the world. Parc de la Gatineau / Gatineau Park has exceptional recreational and scenic possibilities.

In Ottawa (distance: 91.1 kilometres) possesses cultural treasures, structures of architectural excellence and noted museums which are too numerous to mention properly here; but a few of these include Parliament Hill, Rideau Hall, the Chateau Laurier, Laurier House, the Rideau Canal, and the Bank of Canada's Currency Museum.


How to get there: Air Canada flies from various North American destinations to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport / Aéroport international Macdonald-Cartier d'Ottawa (distance from Portage-du-Fort, Quebec: 103.3 kilometres), where car rental is available. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

Map location of Municipalité régionale de comté de Pontiac / Pontiac Regional County Municipality
Map location of Municipalité régionale de comté de Pontiac / Pontiac Regional County Municipality | Source


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