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Ecological restoration the Grande Poudrière's ponds

Société du parc Jean-Drapeau Building and development projects

The Grande Poudrière's ponds are located in the middle of Île Sainte-Hélène, near an artificial lake that was dug in the late 1840s. The ponds are part of the defence system of the old military site on Île Sainte-Hélène, which is of great patrimonial significance. The first formal development was designed by landscape architect Frederick Gage Todd in the 1930s, while a second more naturalistic, superimposed layout, was done by W. S. Goshorn in the years 1950-1960.

Parc Jean-Drapeau's bodies of water, except for the Grande Poudrière's ponds, draw their water from various places of the Saint Lawrence River. The Grande Poudrière's ponds currently use the drinkable water from the aqueduct for supply replenishing and daily maintenance.

Rehabilitation work

The rehabilitation work on the Grande Poudrière's ponds is much needed, both for their enhancement and providing better access to the ponds to the Parc's visitors. The work will be carried out over a two-year span and it should be completed by the summer of 2025.

Once it has been done, the rehabilitation work will enable visitors to enjoy a renewed, more ecological landscaping experience through the building of a laid-back area with universally accessible walking trails and an outdoor spot that is both edifying and educational.

Characteristics of the sector and its components

The condition ot the existing layout is such that some major work is required to improve the sealing and waterproofing of the system, the water supply, the circulation and oxygenation system, shoreline support, plants, masonry work and footbridges.

Most of the visible or submerged infrastructures, such as wooden bridges, terraces and retaining walls, are restored. The adding of aquatic and terrestrial plants brings an ecological function to the site, in a series of four complementary ecosystems: filtering marshes, wet meadow, a shallow pond and deep pond; these are what are inspiring the sketches of architects who are behind the development of the project.

From a sustainable development aspect, Parc Jean-Drapeau is including the following elements in the project:

  • Drilling an artesian well to eliminate consumption of water from the aqueduct (chlorinated);
  • Waterproofing the ponds to reduce the loss of water;
  • Overhauling the pumping system to ensure a closed-circuit system for water filtration and circulation;
  • Developing plant, riparian and water ecosystems for natural water filtration and enhancing the area's biodiversity;
  • Adding new trails, ramps and footbridges to provide universal accessibility on the edge of the ponds;
  • Seeking SITES certification for the project, delivered by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).


August 2023 to July 2025

Rehabilitation of the Grande Poudrière's ponds, creation of new ecosystems and enhancing overall accessibility.

Budget $12.9 million
Status In progress
Impact The ponds, which are usually full in early May, will not be full in 2023, nor will they be during the two years in which the work is conducted. They will not be accessible to the public while the work is ongoing.

Learn more

To obtain more details or for any request for information, do not hesitate to contact our staff.



It is possible to visit the sector via Chemin de la Grande Poudrière during the work.

Getting to Tour de Lévis

To make it easier to get around, here is the exact location of the Grande Poudrière at Parc Jean-Drapeau posted on Google Maps.

Subway Station

The Jean-Drapeau subway station on the Line 4 — Yellow is located on Île Sainte-Hélène, in the heart of Parc Jean-Drapeau. To get to the Parc easily and quickly, the subway is still the best way to go!

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River shuttle

During the summer season, Parc Jean-Drapeau visitors can use the river shuttle as a means of transportation, from the Vieux-Port de Montréal (Jacques-Cartier pier) and the city of Longueuil.

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STM shuttle

Three STM shuttles provide a connection between the Jean-Drapeau subway station and various attractions.

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The Parc is one of the few places where you can cross the Saint Lawrence River on your bike: simply take the bike paths of the Jacques Cartier Bridge, the Concorde Bridge or the Bike link.

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People can enjoy many of the cycling paths to get to or pass through the Parc Jean-Drapeau, either running or walking.

With more than 25 kilometres of trails and pathways, the Parc is a pleasant spot for hiking, all year round.


Motorists can get to Parc Jean-Drapeau by taking the Jacques Cartier Bridge or the Concorde Bridge.

Nearby parking areas: P7, P9, P10

Rates and parking areas

Taxibus service

You can reserve a taxi for your travels at the Parc by using a valid STM transport fare.

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  • Subway
  • STM
  • River
  • Bike
  • Walking
  • Parking
  • Taxibus

Thanks to our Partners!

  • Ville de Montréal