Catharine Parr Traill and Mount Ararat
According to Traill scholar Michael Peterman, the south shore of Rice Lake occupies “a prominent place among Catharine Parr Traill’s literary landscapes,” and the “most notable representation of it is in the novel Canadian Crusoes.” During her years in this area, Catharine also wrote “Forest Gleanings” sketches, Lady Mary and Her Nurse or A Peep into the Canadian Forest, and The Female Emigrant’s Guide and Hints on Canadian Housekeeping. 

Catharine gained wide-ranging knowledge of the flora, fauna and geography of the Rice Lake Plains through constant nature study. Her botanical activities included documenting the indigenous species of the region’s native tallgrass prairie, leaving us with a valuable record of what is now an extremely rare ecosystem.
The distinguished early Canadian writer Catharine Parr Traill spent eleven of her most productive years as an author and botanist on the Rice Lake Plains. From 1846 to 1857, she and her family lived on the south side of Rice Lake, part of that time on a farm she named Mount Ararat because it was “the highest elevation on the Rice Lake Plains.” The height of the land reminded her of the biblical Mount Ararat where Noah’s ark was described as coming to rest. 

The spectacular views from the site include the mouth of the Otonabee River to the north and many of the lake's drumlin islands. Mount Ararat’s varied landscape is the focus of many exciting passages in Catharine Parr Traill’s famous children’s novel, Canadian Crusoes: A Tale of The Rice Lake Plains.
A view from Mount Ararat

Welcome to our website. In 1999, we purchased Mount Ararat from absentee owners/land speculators and since then we’ve enjoyed living here and stewarding this historic Ontario property. In doing so, we’re endeavouring to honour Catharine Parr Traill's important literary legacy and her significant contributions as a naturalist and early ecologist. Our site highlights Catharine’s relatively unsung relationship with the Rice Lake Plains, and the relevance of Mount Ararat to Canada’s cultural and natural heritage. We hope you enjoy it!    

Sharon Keogh and David Acomba
Mount Ararat, Hamilton Township, Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada
“We now ascended the plains - a fine elevation of land ... A number of exquisite flowers and shrubs adorn these plains, which rival any garden in beauty during the spring and summer months. Many of these plants are peculiar to the plains, and are rarely met with in any other situation.”
Catharine Parr Traill in The Backwoods of Canada (1836)

Wild Blue Lupines

New Jersey Tea

Pine Warbler

Butterfly Milkweed



Clay-colored Sparrow Nest

Botany / EcologyBotany___Ecology.html
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