© Marc Sardi / WWF-Canada lavender growing in an urban garden

BIOPOLIS PROJECTS

Explore Biopolis projects and discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are supporting biodiversity in cities across Canada.

Biodiversity Projects in Canadian Cities

The projects listed on Biopolis are diverse and a source of inspiration for all. They were selected according to their objectives to enhance and preserve urban biodiversity in cities across Canada. Explore our featured projects to discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are working to support urban biodiversity.

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    Building for Bees

    Building for Bees

    The Building for bees project is a 224 square foot pollinator garden, that was part of the EnviroSeries: Building for Bees workshops that took place over the Spring-Summer of 2019 at Wilfrid Laurier University, generously funded by the WWF-Canada’s Go Wild grants. Wilfrid Laurier University is proud to be a Bee Campus and continues to support and promote a diversity of pollinators on campus, as outlined in their 5-year Sustainability Action Plan. The site of the pollinator garden is also home to the region’s first designated pollinator spiral as well as home to many important community initiatives including community and market gardens. You can read more about those here.

    The goal of the Building for Bees projects is to protect bees by providing a dedicated space for pollinators to nest and forage for food. Ground nesting bees will be protected from tilling and other disruptions that can damage or destroy nest sites. It also provides people with a hands-on way to learn about native pollinators. The first step to protecting our 400+ species of native bees is to make people aware of these species through interactive community engagement such as this event. Planting a Pollinator Garden goes beyond the immediate space it is planted in by demonstrating how people can incorporate pollinator friendly, native, perennial, plants to their own gardens and it gives them the tools they need to incorporate these kinds of bee-friendly activities in their homes, school yards, community gardens, etc.

    The lasagna style of garden construction creates healthy, non-compact soil that helps to feed worms and reduce water usage. It is a way to teach people that gardens can be good for both people and pollinators! Targeted species were all pollinating insects in South-Western Ontario (bees, flies, butterflies, beetles, etc.) with a particular focus on native bee species. This is important because the flowering plants that were selected were selected for a variety of flower colours, sizes, and blooming times.

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    Landscaping of the Roger-Paquet Pond

    Landscaping of the Roger-Paquet Pond

    Over the past few years, the land surrounding Roger-Paquet Pond, located just a few steps from the city centre, has suffered many disturbances. Beavers have knocked down several trees, and invasive alien species, such as Japanese knotweed and Phragmites, posed a real threat to biodiversity and access to the pond. In 2018, work was carried out to lower the nearby Zachée-Langlais dam, dropping water levels of the Nicolet river and pond to critical points. Major measures had to be taken by the City to maintain this historic site with high ecological value.

    With a limited budget and a great desire to work in collaboration, the Environment Department for the City of Victoriaville set up a project to enhance the wetland. The area was made more accessible to people through the addition of a wooden path and rest area. The project also made the spot more educational, thanks to the addition of interpretive signs on birds. Additional effort was also taken to make the area more beneficial for wildlife, with the planting of native trees and shrubs and the installation of nest boxes, rocks and logs for ducks and other species.

    Since it opened in the fall of 2019, bird watchers, teachers, yoga enthusiasts, photographers and families have made this place their own.

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    Protection and development of Boucher Forest’s future park

    Protection and development of Boucher Forest’s future park

    The Boucher Forest Foundation’s mission is to protect the biodiversity of the Boucher Forest. Following the signing of a management agreement between the City of Gatineau and the Boucher Forest Foundation, the Foundation is now in charge of the development of the future Boucher Forest Park, a park whose main purpose is the conservation of biodiversity.

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    Niakwa Trail Rain Garden

    Niakwa Trail Rain Garden

    The rain garden is designed to collect storm water runoff from the roof and parking lot of the Great Canadian Superstore on St. Anne’s Road in Winnipeg, with a catchment size of 9860 square meters (2.4 acres). The garden was initially planted with 670 native plants of 58 different species, covering an area of 460 square meters. The plants and soil act as a natural filtration system, removing pollution and contaminants from the water. The water then drains through an underground pipe to the Seine River, providing clean water downstream. Since the initial planting, the rain garden has continued to be maintained and supplemented with additional plantings.

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    Seine River Greenspace Enhancement Project

    Seine River Greenspace Enhancement Project

    The Seine River Greenspace Enhancement Project includes several initiatives focused on connecting people with the Seine River as well as enhancing natural habitats. As Winnipeg grows, so too does the use of its remaining natural spaces. While it’s wonderful that people are spending time in nature, the increasing human activity is eroding riverbanks, damaging sensitive vegetation, and degrading upland habitats. This project aims to enhance the use and appreciation of the Seine River Greenway while protecting its natural spaces.

    This project aims to:

    • Restore native prairie on the upper banks of the river
    • Repair steep sections of eroding riverbank
    • Enhance floodplain trails to protect vegetation and improve safety
    • Install interpretive signs
    • Create an interpretive node for small tour groups
    • Improve public launch sites for canoes and kayaks
    • Create a land-integrated accessible kayak/canoe dock

    The accessible dock will be the first of its kind in Winnipeg. While more funding is still needed, the goal is to install a dock that will be usable by a variety of people with a range of abilities, ages and sizes. Project partners: The City of Winnipeg and Scatliff+Miller+Murray.

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    Restoring Western Chorus Frog Habitat in Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park

    Restoring Western Chorus Frog Habitat in Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park

    The Western Chorus Frog was declared vulnerable in Quebec in the early 2000s, but its status is under review and may change to threatened. Once found in abundance along the south shore of the St. Lawrence in the 1950s, now there are only a few fragmented populations of this tiny amphibian remaining. And all of them can be found between the river and Highway 30. Western Chorus Frog habitat continues to be destroyed and fragmented by urban development. In 2015 and 2016, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and the Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park began to experiment with restoring irrigation ditches, a habitat appreciated by the chorus frog. Mini-dikes were built there to keep water levels at 30 cm until mid-summer and to limit abrupt changes in temperature, regardless of the amount of precipitation. Since 2017, close water monitoring has been carried out across five developed sites and some control sites. Corrections have also been made to ensure proper drainage of excess water during heavy rains. This process helps us learn more about chorus frog habitat and understand its dynamics throughout the water basin. In the long term, this project aims to reintroduce populations of Western Chorus Frogs into Mont-Saint-Bruno National Park.

    This tiny frog, no bigger than a $2 coin, breeds in temporary wetlands. These habitats, dry out slowly, preventing predators like fish, green frogs and dragonfly larvae from feeding on the tadpoles.

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    Eco-Scavenger Hunt Series

    Eco-Scavenger Hunt Series

    Meewasin organizes and leads group activities that encourage and enable the community to take part in citizen science projects to help monitor the biodiversity within Meewasin’s conservation zone. With these projects, we bring awareness and help educate on issue of declining biodiversity and invasive species, and guide and assist participants in making accurate observations, recording their sightings and submitting data.

    The data collected through citizen science then helps inform Meewasin’s conservation work on habitat, connectivity and ecosystem services for the future, including but not limited to: prescribed fire, targeted conservation grazing, wildlife friendly fencing and native species planting.

    All data retained is used as part of a valley-wide project monitoring the health of the area in an urban environment. We use this data for a five-year cycle report called State of the Valley. Participants are encouraged to share their data with citizen science apps including iNaturalist and eBird.

     

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    Save Our Seine Landcare

    Save Our Seine Landcare

    SOS Landcare is an initiative seeking to restore areas overrun by invasive (non-native) plants and encourage the growth of wildflowers native to the area. Landcare volunteers also clear winter garbage, plant shrubs and trees, clear storm damage on the paths, and become the local eyes for the river and land.

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    Meet up Garden

    Meet up Garden

    The empty grounds of Bois-Francs School Board and the Victoriaville Cégep gained new life as a community garden and orchard. This three-phase project was made possible thanks to a partnership between the City of Victoriaville, the school board and the Cégep. Several other partnerships contributed to the success of the project, including volunteers of the carpenter club Du bois francs, who set up the planters in phase one and the sidewalk in phase three. This gathering and learning space is run by two students hired by the City each summer.

    This garden is above all a gathering and sharing place — a green space in the city. Citizens and visitors can come and take advantage of this garden, which promotes learning about trees, plants and biodiversity. In a few years, visitors will also be able to participate in the maintenance and harvesting of vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

     

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    Wildlife tree conservation in nature parks

    Wildlife tree conservation in nature parks

    At the heart of the nature parks’ landscapes, one can observe the presence of dead or declining trees as well as tree trunks, tree stumps, and stacks of branches. Visitors might be surprised by the sight of these structures, but several animal species depend on woody debris and snag trees, which we call wildlife trees, that provide food, perches, shelters, and nesting sites.

     

    The City conserves as wildlife trees some naturally declining or dead trees, by leaving in place parts of their main branches, while ensuring safety. A variety of tree species, of different sizes, diameters, and declining stages, is conserved to create micro-habitats and enhance biodiversity. Woody debris can be generated naturally by falling trees or be derived from arboricultural work carried out for security reasons near park trails and other areas commonly used by the public like picnic areas.

     

    Wildlife trees and woody debris can be used by animals for several decades before returning to the ground in the form of organic matter. In fact, birds nesting in wildlife tree cavities account for one fifth of all nesting birds in nature parks, which represents about twenty species including the wood duck as well as various woodpeckers and birds of prey. Mammals such as squirrels, voles, and raccoons also use wildlife trees. Several insects, as well as amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals use woody debris at one point or another during their life cycle.

     

    Live trees, snag trees and woody debris, all have important and complementary roles to play in the protection of forest biodiversity. This initiative is related to Montréal’s Ecosystem Management Program

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    ICI on verdit!

    ICI on verdit!

    GRAME works to promote sustainable development and environmental protection by taking into account long term and global issues, such as climate change. “ICI on verdit!” is a project that started in 2015, which invites institutions, businesses and industries located in the South West area of the Island of Montreal to plant trees. The plantations are primarily located in Lachine, Dorval, Lasalle, Baie-D’Urfé and Saint-Laurent.

    This project is part of the Plan d’Action Canopée (Canopy Action Plan) , which aims to increase the canopy in Montreal by 5% by 2025. Our plantations aim to diversify species while taking into account those already present in the field.

    Since 2015, the project has led to the plantation of more than 2100 trees and 435 shrubs and the mobilization of over 1600 people.

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    Ecosystem Management Program in Montréal’s large parks

    Ecosystem Management Program in Montréal’s large parks

    The Ecosystem Management Program provides for knowledge acquisition on ecosystems, ecological evaluation, monitoring of components of interest, as well as field interventions aiming to protect and enhance biological diversity in Montréal’s large parks. Ecosystem management maintains a balance between public access and protection of large parks’ ecological integrity. The Program supports informed decision-making when projects and activities are undertaken, in an effort to protect and minimize impacts on natural habitats and to ensure that their ecological value or integrity are not compromised. The Program has been implemented by the City for over twenty years.

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