Purdon Conservation Area

Purdon Conservation Area

COVID-19 Update:

Purdon Conservation Area is open. However, due to government restrictions in response to COVID-19, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) has put the following measures in place to help protect the health and safety of all visitors and staff:

  • Directional signage: A portion of the boardwalk will be one way.
  • Face masks: Given the narrow boardwalk, a physical distancing space of six feet cannot always be maintained and therefore it is recommended that visitors wear face masks.
  • The porta potty will be opened and sanitized on a regular basis.


Visitors are reminded to practice physical distancing by staying at least two metres or six feet apart when possible, not to congregate in groups, and if they feel ill to stay at home. MVCA is also asking the public to plan short visits to areas that have been reopened to ensure the space can be shared with all those looking to get outside and into nature. Visitors are also reminded to obey signage, keep their pets on a leash at all times and take any garbage with them when they leave

The 2020 blooming season has come to an end. Thank you for visiting! The site remains open for hiking and sightseeing. 

We understand that due to COVID-19, many people are unable to visit Purdon Conservation Area this year. So, MVCA is bringing Purdon to you! Take a stroll with us through the orchid colony by watching this video: https://youtu.be/nUAIfaSa50g


Want to See Thousands of  Orchid Blooms? Spend A Day At Purdon 


Visiting the Purdon Conservation Area is a great way to improve your mental and physical health: take your kids on self-guided hikes through an uplands forest and see a real Canadian beaver pond. Enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk of a rare fen wetland and see endangered species regenerating such as the Showy Lady Slipper.

For three weeks beginning in mid-June, the Showy Lady Slipper orchids are in full blossom. The orchids are a shining example of stewardship, made possible by Joe Purdon. Mr. Purdon discovered a small cluster of native orchids in the 1930’s and grew the colony to over 16,000 blooms. The colony is under the care of the MVCA, who continues to preserve Joe Purdon’s legacy.

From Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving, Purdon Conservation Area is open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week.


Printable Brochures for Self Guided Tours

Orchid Biology
Wetland Ecology and Plant Guide
Self-Guiding Interpretive Trail

Total Length of Trails: 2.5km

Orchid Colony Management

MVCA manages the colony based on recommendations outlined in the Purdon Conservation Area management plan most recently updated in 2006, A New Management Plan for the Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Ted Mosquin, Liz Brown 2006).

The active management of the site consists of some tree clearing to allow more light into the fen, water level management through beaver pond also known as Purdon Lake, and hand pollination. These orchids don’t attract insects like other flowers; hand pollination helps ensure the seeds are propagated.

It can take up to 15 years for new plants to bloom so measuring of progress can be a slow process. Every five years a group of orchid specialists undertake a full census of the fen to record the number of blooms for the season. This is done to track bloom success on the site.

Support Purdon Conservation Area (click)


Directions: Please note Purdon Conservation Area is located on 8th Concession Dalhousie, off Watsons Corners Road in Lanark Highlands.

From Ottawa, ON

From Kingston, ON

From Perth, ON

From Arnprior, ON


For questions about your visit or to volunteer your time at Purdon, contact info@mvc.on.ca or call (613) 253.0006.

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