When Thor Vikstrm built his family home in Laval, Quebec, in the 1960s, he fell in love with the small island he saw each day, and convinced its former owner to sell it to him so he could keep it untouched. Now the 93-year-old entrepreneur has donated it to the Nature Conservancy of Canada so it will be protected forever. Called le Ronde, the seven-acre island is a nearly untouched forest and marshland habitat in the middle of an urban centre. It sits in the middle of Rivire-des-prairies, near where the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers meet, and has remained in its natural state even as many of the surrounding shores have been built up over the years.

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