Huntingdon forest, QC (Photo by John Ryan)

Huntingdon forest, QC (Photo by John Ryan)

Huntingdon — A land of sharing and diversity

John Ryan's paint of his forest in summer

John Ryan's paint of his forest in summer

In Godmanchester, south of the St. Lawrence River, fifteen minutes from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, a piece of land the size of 14 National Hockey League-sized rinks has just changed hands. For the first time in two centuries, this magnificent site is now protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).

The Ryan family, concerned about development in the area, has a deep sentimental attachment to this ancestral land. John Ryan told us several stories about the forest here. As a painter, he is very involved in his community, and through his images he has brought a bit of that natural beauty to people with Alzheimer’s disease. The nurses have noted an improvement in the general condition of the patients following John's visits.

He has also invited students to come and enjoy nature on his property. “Nature is soothing and it’s good for them to have access to it,” says John. With a very open outlook, he hopes that his passion for nature and its beauty will inspire and bring happiness to those around him.

John Ryan's paint of his forest in winter

John Ryan's paint of his forest in winter

As Canada's leading land conservation organization, NCC secures properties through donation, purchase, and other means, and protects and manages them for the long term. For this piece of land, there is no doubt that its richness lies in its history and the sharing it has enabled.

When John, Joanne and Michael Ryan learned that they could entrust their land to NCC, they immediately thought, “This is too good to be true!” And when NCC saw the beauty of the place, its spring plants and the fact that this property is the first to be protected in the area, the feeling was mutual.


In loving tribute to Michael Ryan (1947–2021), brother of John and Joanne, whose wish to see this land protected has now been realized.

Sharing Through the Generations, mural by John Ryan

John Ryan's mural for the project Sharing Through the Generations

NCC would like to thank the different parties involved in this acquisition, and the Ryan and McDonagh families.

Gouvernement du Québec   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service NAWCA


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