Quebec entrepreneur, 93, donates cherished island after protecting it from city sprawl

FOR MOST of his adult existence, Thor Vikström has watched the seasons amendment and the birds come and move from the small Quebec island he is owned that sits opposite his riverside home in Laval, Que.

At 93, he says he is at peace figuring out the land — nestled among Montreal and Laval — will stay safe long after he’s long past now that he is donated it to the character Conservancy of Canada.

Called Île Ronde, the seven-acre island is a virtually untouched habitat within the center of an urban centre. It sits within the center of Rivière-des-prairies, close to Lake of two Mountains, the place the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers meet.

Wedged between two leading cities, it is easy to miss. But its forest and marshland is teeming with biodiversity. 

As urban building in the space stepped forward over the years, lots of the encircling shorelines were constructed up — but the island has remained in its herbal state.

Quebec entrepreneur, 93, donates cherished island after protecting it from city sprawl

Île Ronde, the small island within the centre of this drone shot, continues to be virtually untouched with its natural shoreline intact. lots of the shores local are built up and coated with concrete walls, which cause them to inaccessible to turtles. (Claude Duchaîne/Nature Conservancy of Canada )

Vikström has owned and cared for the land for the reason that overdue 1960s, whilst he built his family house in Laval and fell in love along with his view of the island. He convinced its former proprietor to promote, so he may just stay it untouched.

His recent donation ensures it’s going to be secure for generations to return.

“I consider my children; I’m certain they are going to give protection to the island. But what happens after my kids are long gone?” Vikström mentioned in an interview with CBC Information at his home in Laval, Que.

“It Is only a good feeling in my center. i know this can be there perpetually.”

Disregarded all gives of ‘stupid money’

Quebec entrepreneur, 93, donates cherished island after protecting it from city sprawl

Thor Vikström, shown right here all over his more youthful days, founded Scanada. a expert in slipform generation, used to construct highrises, towers and agricultural silos, he was once consulted on the construction of the CN Tower. (

Vikström is the type of one who is aware of what he wants and is going for it. He cracks a comic story as he introduces himself.

“My name is Thor. and also you know what that implies? The Thunder God.”

Vikström says he knew he was going to marry his past due spouse the moment he met her — and instructed her so.

The couple moved to Canada from Sweden with their first-born son in 1962 and built a existence in Quebec, sooner or later founding Scanada, a a success family company.

As an entrepreneur within the hydraulics industry, Vikström was in the trade of establishing up; he was once even consulted at the construction of the CN Tower. 

But he has refused to allow town sprawl onto his valuable island. Despite The Fact That an incessant circulation of developers knocked on his door over the years, asking him to sell, Vikström grew to become all of them away. 

“i bought the island as a result of i couldn’t see it destroyed,” said Vikström.

“Nature was more vital than some dull cash in my pocket,” he added. “I stated, ‘This is something that’s got to be preserved,’ and i stored my word.”

A family legacy

Quebec entrepreneur, 93, donates cherished island after protecting it from city sprawl

Thor Vikström smiles with his son, Hans. in the distance in the back of them, wintry weather is surroundings in on Île Ronde. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

For the Vikström family, the island was once a getaway over the years; they’d a cable ferry built to get entry to it, and often invited neighbours and friends to enroll in them there.

Hans Vikström, Thor’s son, says in preference to a cottage up north, they had the island round the corner.

“We Might camp there. We more or less grew up on the island and it was once our getaway place — a spot to chill and revel in as youngsters,” he said.

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“We Might pass over there with our buddies and we would make a bit hearth. And my dad would get mad at us as a result of we left a Coke bottle at the island.”

At one element, they stored sheep on the island for grazing. Thor Vikström stated he had the idea that the animals may stay the bushes and weeds at bay, and recollects how he could hear them calling in the distance.

At The Moment, Île Ronde has mostly been left to its natural state. Walking in his outdoor and observing out on the island, Thor Vikström points out the small cabin and birdhouses that he constructed.

good news for prone turtle

Quebec entrepreneur, 93, donates cherished island after protecting it from city sprawl

The northern map turtle, pictured here, is named for the styles on its shell which resemble a map. It Is indexed as a species of different worry at the federal degree and in Quebec, it is considered susceptible. (Ryan Bolton/Nature Conservancy of Canada)

As Canada works toward its goal of shielding 30 in step with cent of land and water by 2030, Vikström mentioned he’s satisfied to have played a part.

The Character Conservancy of Canada is also helping, thru presents of land, like this one, and purchases. the personal, no longer-for-benefit group lately acquired a big parcel of grassland in southern Saskatchewan and more than 18,000 acres of Ontario’s Manitoulin Island.

The conservancy called the Île Ronde donation awesome news, announcing that it sends a message of desire.

The island is house to the northern map turtle, a species that is federally distinctive as being of different fear and as inclined in Quebec.

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Biologist Sébastien Rouleau researches map turtles and has visited Île Ronde in the past. He co-ordinates analysis and conservation at the Zoo Ecomuseum in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que.

He stated the donation of Île Ronde, with its herbal shoreline, is especially great information for the turtles, that are sensitive to human process.

“Turtles do not climb concrete partitions really well, so having get admission to to the natural coastline will give them natural nesting web sites, in addition as basking opportunities, which is very important for their residing,” Rouleau said.

Quebec entrepreneur, 93, donates cherished island after protecting it from city sprawl

The island, observed here from an aerial view captured by means of a drone, is mostly forested, with a small marsh within the heart. (Claude Duchaîne/Nature Conservancy of Canada)

The island may be home to a unique tree species, referred to as the shagbark hickory, in addition as a wide range of waterbirds, together with picket geese, American wigeon, and gadwall.

Even As the island’s monetary worth is relatively low lately because it is positioned in a flood chance zone, the character Conservancy says what counts is its value for vegetation and fauna.

“i believe we can pack a lot of biodiversity in a unmarried hand — and picture an island of that measurement,” mentioned Joël Bonin, affiliate vice-president of construction and communications for the character Conservancy of Canada’s Quebec bankruptcy.

Though winter has now set in at the island, Vikström stated he is already taking a look ahead to observing the migratory birds return in the spring — as he has for greater than 50 years.

WATCH | A Quebec entrepreneur’s lifelong quest to give protection to an uninhabited island from urban sprawl:

Quebec entrepreneur, 93, donates cherished island after protecting it from city sprawl

A Quebec man’s lifelong quest to give protection to an uninhabited island

1 day ago


A virtually untouched island between Montreal and Laval, Que., Île Ronde will stay free from city building as a result of the determination, love of nature and stubbornness of Thor Vikström. THREE:FIFTY EIGHT

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