Oka is a small village on the northern bank of the Ottawa River (Rivière des Outaouais in French), northwest of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Located in the Laurentians valley on Lake of Two Mountains, where the Ottawa has its confluence with the St. Lawrence River, the town is connected via Quebec Route 344. It's located 50 km (30 miles) northwest of Montreal.

Oka village and Lake of Two Mountains as seen from Mount Oka
Oka village and Lake of Two Mountains as seen from Mount Oka
Location within Deux-Montagnes RCM
Location within Deux-Montagnes RCM
Oka is located in Central Quebec
Location in central Quebec
Coordinates: 45°28′N 74°05′W / 45.47°N 74.08°W / 45.47; -74.08Coordinates: 45°28′N 74°05′W / 45.47°N 74.08°W / 45.47; -74.08[1]
Country Canada
Province Quebec
ConstitutedSeptember 8, 1999
 • MayorPascal Quevillon
 • Federal ridingMirabel
 • Prov. ridingMirabel
 • Total85.90 km2 (33.17 sq mi)
 • Land57.30 km2 (22.12 sq mi)
 • Total3,969
 • Density69.3/km2 (179/sq mi)
 • Pop 2006-2011
Increase 20.3%
 • Dwellings
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Postal code(s)
Area code(s)450 and 579
Highways Route 344
Websitewww.municipalite.oka.qc.ca Edit this at Wikidata

The area was first established in 1721 by Roman Catholic Sulpician Fathers as a mission to serve the needs of Mohawk, Algonquin and Nipissing converts as well as of French settlers. In 1730, the mission site was moved about 1.5 km west along the shore to Pointe d'Oka (Oka's Point) close to where the first stone church was built in 1733,[4] and around which church evolved the village that eventually became known as Oka. The Mohawks had been assigned to a west-side village that eventually became known as Kanesatake whereas the Algonquins and Nipissings had been assigned to an adjacent east-side village. Kanesatake's status is as interim land base within the meaning of the Constitution Act, 1867, and not as indian reserve within the meaning of the Indian Act.


Pre-crisis habitationEdit

Oka is historically connected to the Sulpicians' two first Amerindian missions on Montreal island, the initial mission of La Montagne established in 1676 that was moved to Sault-au-Récollets mission established in 1696. This culminated in the King of France in 1718 granting the Sulpicians a concession named seigneurie du Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes with the view to relocating the Sault-au-Récollets Amerindian converts to new mission facilities located east of the Ottawa River at the confluence with Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes.[5]

The move from the Sault-au-Récollet mission to the Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes mission started in 1721 and was completed the next year. The Sulpicians' seigneurie du Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes was conditional on the Indians not abandoning the lands, failing which they would revert to the Crown, and was subject to the Sulpicians being indemnified by being given proprietorship of the land because of the need to construct a fort.[6] Final concession was given in 1718. In 1721, under the direction of the Sulpician Maurice Quéré de Tréguron, Algonquin and Iroquois groups relocated on the north shore of Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes and on the east shore of the Ottawa River.[5]

The chosen site was advantageous for the conversion of the Indians and for their defense and that of the colony. To prepare their installation, the Sulpician M. Robert-Michel Gay, who was the mission Lac des Deux-Montagnes' first superior,[7] made some clearing and built various buildings including a chapel, the missionary's house, a school intended for the Sisters of the Congregation Notre-Dame as well as cabins for the Indians. The Indian population increased considerably around 1727 when the Nipissings and the Algonquins of the Île-aux-Tourtes mission also came to the Lac-des-Deux-Montagnes mission site with their missionary Pierre-Élie Déperet.[5]

Between 1740 and 1742, seven oratories were established which are witness to the famous Calvary of Oka, work of the Sulpicians Hamon Guen and François Picquet.[8] Francois dit Belleville (who arrived in Nouvelle-France in 1754) was the author of the bas-relief of the chapels of this pilgrimage site, which is the oldest in America. The missionary Louis-Urgel Lafontaine (1895-1930) was the last to preach in Iroquois [language] at the location. The Calvary was built by the Indians and only for them in order to evangelize them.[5]

The church, the presbytery and the outbuildings of Oka were set on fire on 15 June 1877.[5][9]

The present church was built between 1878 and 1883 according to the plans of the architects Perrault and Mesnard.[5]

Oka crisisEdit

In 1990, the small community gained international attention in what became known as the Oka Crisis. It had approved development of a private golf course, to add nine holes and nearby luxury housing. The Mohawk of Kanesatake opposed this.[10]

Several years before the crisis the Mohawks had initiated and lost a land claim court case in which they tried to gain control of what they termed "historic land", land known from the early mission settlement as commons land, which including pasture land, "The Pines" forested land and a nearby aboriginal cemetery. The most recent claim had been in part rejected by the Federal courts. The Mohawks of Kanesatake initial response to the golf course development decision was to blockade a dirt road leading to "The Pines" land.[10]

The conflict escalated from there with the Sûreté du Québec enforcing on July 11 a Provincial injunction to dismantle this first barricade, which resulted in shots being fired on both sides, one SQ officer being killed, the SQ abandoning several of their vehicles and the Mohawk Warriors erecting a new barricade this time across Route 344, the main road access to Oka and Kanesatake.[11]

By the end of July, there were at least 1,000 people assembled in Oka's Paul-Sauvé Provincial Park in support for the Mohawks. Among them were delegations represented by Cree, Innus, Hurons-Wendats, Algonquins, Ojibwes, Micmacs and other Canadian First Nations people.[12]

During the confrontation lasting 78 days, the Quebec Police Force (SQ) (and later Canadian Army units) confronted members of the Mohawk nation of the adjacent community of Kanesatake. The latter were joined by other Mohawk and First Nations and Native American tribes. In addition, for several weeks, Mohawk at Kahnawake blockaded the approach to the Mercier Bridge, a route that ran through their land. Negotiations finally led to the Mohawk re-opening the road. An SQ officer Corporal Lemay was shot and killed at a period of heightened tensions. Numerous people were arrested. The disputed area was acquired by the Canadian Federal Government as had been planned before the crisis. Development was stopped.[12]

Some in the media reported the Mohawks' opposition being based on the expansion of the golf course over what the Mohawks considered sacred land.[citation needed] This however was never the premise of contention.[citation needed][example needed] Instead, the dispute laid over persistent claims dating back to land right issues between the Sulpicians and Mohawks that related not to burial grounds or cemeteries, but to i) what was known as the commons lands including part of "The Pines", and, ii) that commenced at the onset of the British conquest, iii) the Mohawks allegiance to them, and, iv) the definite change of attitude of the Mohawks towards the French.[clarification needed][non sequitur]


The Oka crisis garnered a great deal of media attention and brought forth dozens of articles and books. The death of Corporal Lemay remains unsolved, and as of January 16, 2017, the ongoing land claims to the pine forest have all been dismissed in Federal courts. Despite promises to the contrary much of the disputed land obtained by the Federal Government remains unceded to traditional owners.[citation needed]


Oka, postcard
Oka waterfront at Pointe d'Oka

Population trend:[13]

  • Population in 2011: 3,969 (2006 to 2011 population change: 20.3%)
  • Population in 2006: 3,300
  • Population in 2001: 3,194
  • Population in 1996:
    • Oka (municipality): 1 514
    • Oka (parish): 1,498
  • Population in 1991:
    • Oka (municipality): 1,658
    • Oka (parish): 1,656

Private dwellings occupied by usual residents: 1,546 (total dwellings: 1,633)

Mother tongue:

  • French as first language: 92.3%
  • English as first language: 4%
  • English and French as first language: 1.2%
  • Other as first language: 2.5%


Highway 344 passes through Oka. The Oka Express goes to the Deux-Montagnes station and Terminus Saint-Eustache


In the summertime, the community's long stretch of beachfront along the Ottawa River and the Lake of Two Mountains, and its marina draw people to the area from Montreal and neighboring cities. Another attraction is the Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac, famous for its Oka cheese produced by Trappists monks there.

A small ferry service operates between Oka and the town of Hudson across the Ottawa River. During the winter months, a toll ice bridge provides access on this route.[14] There is also connection with the AMT Deux-Montagnes Train to and from Montreal's Central Station and Deux-Montagnes Station by the Oka Express minibus.[15]


The Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Îles (CSSMI) operates French language public schools.[16]

Schools include:

Some portions are instead zoned to École de l'Amitié in Saint-Placide.[19]

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB) operates Anglophone public schools. Mountainview Elementary School and Saint Jude Elementary School, both in Deux-Montagnes, serve this community.[20][21] Lake of Two Mountains High School in Deux-Montagnes is the zoned high school.[22]


Oka has a humid continental climate (Dfb) with warm, rainy summers and long, cold winters.

Climate data for Oka
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13
Average high °C (°F) −6.4
Daily mean °C (°F) −11.3
Average low °C (°F) −16.2
Record low °C (°F) −38.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 91.2
Source: Environment Canada[23]


  1. ^ Reference number 45314 of the Commission de toponymie du Québec (in French)
  2. ^ a b Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire - Répertoire des municipalités: Oka Archived December 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "Oka census profile". 2011 Census data. Statistics Canada. Retrieved November 22, 2010.
  4. ^ Thompson, John (January 1991). A Brief History of the Land Dispute at Kanesake [Oka] from Contact to 1961 (PDF). Library Indian and Northern Affairs. Note on p. 11: "That year they built a stone church on the point".
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Paroisse Saint-François-d'Assise". Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Thompson (January 1991), p. 10.
  7. ^ Paradis, Jean-Marc (1969, rev. 1982). “Gay, Robert-Michel”, in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto / Université Laval, 2003–, accessed December 1, 2021
  8. ^ Dansereau, Antonio (1974). “Guen, Hamon”, in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 3, University of Toronto / Université Laval, 2003–, accessed December 1, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Smith, Donald B. (1982). "Onasakenrat, Joseph". Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 11. University of Toronto / Université Laval.
  10. ^ a b Riopel, Alexis; Béland, Antoine (July 9, 2020). "La crise d'Oka, jour par jour". Le Devoir.: See timeline's notations in the 2 paragraphs immediately before and after March 11, 1990 event.
  11. ^ Riopel & Béland 2020. See timeline's notation for July 11, 1990 event.
  12. ^ a b Riopel & Béland 2020. See timeline's notation for July 29, 1990 event.
  13. ^ Statistics Canada: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 census
  14. ^ "Hudson-Oka ice bridge opens". The Gazette. January 22, 2009. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
  15. ^ "OKA Express mini-bus". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "Admission et inscription Archived 2015-01-31 at the Wayback Machine." Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Iles. Retrieved on December 7, 2014. "La Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Iles (CSSMI) offre ses services aux résidents des municipalités de : Blainville, Boisbriand, Bois-des-Filion, Deux-Montagnes, Lorraine, Mirabel (Saint-Augustin, Saint-Benoît, Sainte-Scholastique et secteur du Domaine-Vert), Oka, Pointe-Calumet, Rosemère, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Sainte-Thérèse, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, Saint-Placide et Terrebonne Ouest."
  17. ^ "secondaire d'Oka." Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Iles. Retrieved on December 7, 2014.
  18. ^ "des Pins." Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Iles. Retrieved on September 20, 2017.
  19. ^ "Répertoire des aires de desserte par ville 2017 - 2018 (Généré le 7/9/2017) Oka Archived September 20, 2017, at the Wayback Machine." Commission scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Îles. Retrieved on September 20, 2017.
  20. ^ "Mountainview Elementary Zone Archived December 11, 2014, at the Wayback Machine." Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board. Retrieved on December 8, 2014.
  21. ^ "Saint Jude Elementary School Zone Map Archived December 11, 2014, at the Wayback Machine." Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board. Retrieved on December 8, 2014.
  22. ^ "LAKE OF TWO MOUNTAINS HS ZONE." Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board. Retrieved on September 4, 2017.
  23. ^ Environment Canada Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 14 July 2010

External linksEdit