Over the last 2,000 years, the archipelago in the St. Lawrence River just off Canada’s Boucherville shoreline have had aboriginal settlements, farms and even an amusement park that featured horse racing and roller coasters.

Transformed into a provincial park in 1984, the Boucherville Islands will offer something new beginning next year: Camping and chalets just minutes from downtown Montreal.

As reported by the Montreal Gazette, two new campgrounds will be built in the Îles-de-Boucherville park, with sites available to campers as early as next spring, Environment Minister Pierre Arcand said Monday (July 30).

The new campgrounds are part of a $6.3-million plan to upgrade services in the park, which is the smallest provincial park in Quebec. The plan also includes the construction of a new service and interpretation centre, a new four-season trail and a lookout over the river, as well as a new waterfront welcome centre for boats.

Discussions are also under way with transit agencies and private operators to create a shuttle service between the park and Montreal and the South Shore, Arcand said.

Arcand called the plan, drawn up by the agency that manages Quebec’s provincial parks, “magnificent” and said he hopes it will attract more people to the park.

“I think that in today’s context where people increasingly understand the health benefits of visiting green spaces and at a time where we realize that our youth has very little contact with nature, these investments will allow everyone to enjoy nature,” Arcand said.