Ottawa Gatineau Geoheritage

The Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage Project promotes greater public knowledge and appreciation of the geology and related landscapes in and around Canada's National Capital Region

25. Pinhey Sand Dunes

Pinhey Sand Dunes - A sand dune complex in Ottawa



Eastern section of the dunes

Photo by B.McLartyHalfkenny

Drive south on Woodroffe Avenue, and turn left two blocks south of the Nepean Sportsplex onto Pineland Avenue. Park on the south shoulder beside the signed entry gate near the end of the road (T-junction with Vaan Drive).

The Biodiversity group giving an information session

Photo by B.McLartyHalfkenny

This is Ottawa's only inland sand dune complex— the Pinhey sand dune complex. It has survived with minor modification for over 10,000 years, developed on an old shoreline of the Champlain Sea that inundated the region during the waning stages of the last ice age. This unique ecosystem is home to a number of plant and animal species that can only live in well-drained, open areas with exposed fine-grained sand. Like other sand dunes across North America, it was rapidly disappearing due to a lack of understanding of the biodiversity value of this important ecosystem. In 2011, Biodiversity Conservancy took on the huge project of restoration and reclamation of the Pinhey sand dunes, with the help of the Trillium Foundation, the City of Ottawa and the NCC.