Petrie Island is an island situated in the Ottawa River in the eastern named part of the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The island has several nearby islands and the general collection of islands is also called Petrie Island.
The islands were formed from clay and sand that was deposited following the end of the last ice age. The area incorporates provincially significant wetlands and wooded areas that provide habitat for plants, animals and birds, especially during spring and fall migration. Extensive flooding occurs during the spring. The size of the islands was reduced when water levels were raised by the hydroelectric dam at Carillon.
The island was named after its original owner, Archibald Petrie, an early inhabitant of Cumberland Township. In 1955, Donat Grandmaître purchased the island and set up a sand and gravel extraction facility. The island is now owned by the City of Ottawa and incorporates the Grandmaitre Ecological Reserve, the William Holland Trail, the Al Tweddle Picnic Area, the Friends of Petrie Island Interpretive Centre, and Stuemer Park. Stuemer Park was named after an Ottawa family who sailed from Petrie Island around the world, returning to Petrie to complete their voyage.
The Petrie Island Park area is classified as Significant Wetlands by the province of Ontario, which defines it as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest. One of the last relatively natural environments on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River below the nation’s capital, the archipelago features a Carolinian deciduous swamp forest, possibly the only one in Eastern Canada north of Toronto. Seasonal flooding, extensive sand deposits, abundant water plants and thin but fertile soils have helped maintain a variety of life not found in many other places and its habitats are extremely rich. There are several species of turtles, some rare, and well over 130 species of birds have been identified at Petrie. There are also provincially rare plants, including stands of hackberry trees. There is a network of trails through a nature preserve, and a small interpretive center, both maintained by volunteers.