Mer Bleue Bog: Ottawa’s best kept secret

Photos: Sofia Donato

The stay-at-home order has been lifted and while you wait for things to reopen consider heading to the east end to check out one of Ottawa’s hidden gems, Mer Bleue Bog. Located in Ottawa’s Greenbelt, Mer Bleue Bog is a 3,500-hectare conservation area. Over 7,000-years-old, the bog is the largest in the capital region and the second largest in Ontario. It is home to many rare plants and wildlife.

The name Mer Bleue (Blue Sea) comes from the combination of the morning sunlight and the mist that covers the bog creating a blue effect that resembles the sea. But what exactly is a bog? A type of wetland, a bog is made up of wet, spongy ground with soil composed mainly of decayed vegetation. Bogs depend on rainwater to obtain moisture. 

Cutting across the eye-catching Mer Bleue bog is the boardwalk, a wooden bridge built low to the ground. Surrounded by tall strands of moss and grass, the 1.2 kilometers Boardwalk Trail is a unique experience. With it’s rare landscaping, Mer Bleue Bog is a beautiful place to take photos. The Boardwalk Trail is the shortest and is a fairly simple, self-guided path that is open year round.

Known for its unique northern boreal landscape, the conservation area features trails, forests and sand ridges. It also has washrooms, free year round parking, and multiple picnic areas. With over 20 kilometres of trails, Mer Bleue is the ideal location for hiking, bird watching, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing!

Not only is the bog a perfect place to go for a relaxing stroll, or a family adventure, but it is an exceptional land to study. Researchers observe the area to learn more about climate change, the spotted turtle population, and is an education centre for elementary, secondary and university students.

The bog is an essential tool in stabilising the climate, as it is one of the most studied bogs in the world. As a permanent research station, Mer Bleue Bog’s researchers are able to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide and methane released by the wetland.

This summer go for an adventure without the hassle of leaving home, enjoy one of Ottawa’s surreal landscapes with friends and family.

Mer Bleue Bog is roughly located south of Innes Rd, north of the 417 and east of Anderson Rd. To get there, take exit 110, Walkley Rd, off of the 417 and head east on Walkley Rd E/Ottawa Regional Rd 74 E (signs for Chemin Ramsayville Road E). Turn left on Ridge Rd and then look for P22 parking on your right.