Oiseau Rock

Related links:


Click on any image to view a larger image in the photo gallery…

Oiseau Rock at sunset

It is a sheer, rock face about 150 metres in height that rises straight out of the Ottawa River in the Municipality of Sheenboro across from the Chalk River Atomic Energy Plant. This historical record indicates that Aboriginal people have considered Oiseau Rock to be a sacred site. In the 17th century, a French soldier Chevalier De Troyes commented that Aboriginal people made offerings at the Rock by throwing arrows with tobacco attached to them over the Rock. In 1913, an Anishnabe man from Temagami told an anthropologist that there was a picture of Nanabojou (an Anishnabe Manitou) on a rock on the Ottawa River.

Yet many Anishnabe legends are associated with the Rock. One is that a baby was saved by an eagle from falling over the top of the cliff. Another story is how an eagle plucked a baby from its mother’s arms and flew to the top of the Rock. The mother climbed to the top and snatched the babe from the eagle. A more tragic tale is that of an Anishnabe woman, grief-stricken over the death of her love, who leapt from the Rock to her death.

Old postcard of Oiseau Rock

Oiseau Rock, being a sacred site, also has pictographs, or rock art, painted on its cliff faces. There are 77 pictographs depicting canoes, arrowheads, fish, serpent-like figures, thunderbirds and other motifs. Unfortunately, many of these pictographs are covered with graffiti. The site is deemed by experts to be the most important and prominent rock-art site in Quebec.

At the top of the Rock is a spring-fed lake and a lookout where you can take in great views up and down the river. In 2010, a new hiking trail was officially opened, and it starts off the Schyan Road in the Municipality of Sheenboro, bringing hikers to the lake at the top of the Rock. While on the trail, you will come to three lookouts showing different perspectives of the Ottawa River.

Oiseau Rock with voyageur canoes

In addition, peregrine falcons nest at Oiseau Rock. Also, as the Rock faces the south-west, it is a unique ecosystem as certain singular plants survive on the top of the Rock. Finally, the Rock has been a recreational sight since the mid-1900s as steamboats took visitors and cargo up the River, stopping by the Rock. The captain of the boat would blow the whistle and the sound would echo off the face of the Rock. Since then the Rock has been frequented by visitors in canoes, cruisers, sailboats, houseboats, and now Sea-Doos. All come to look at this ancient rock, to experience its beauty and the rock art, and to hike its trails.





Check weather for Sheenboro…