© 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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    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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    3×3 OUT!

    3×3 OUT!

    Although ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is a native plant, it is highly invasive. Indeed, ragweed is being found all over Southern Quebec while one hundred and fifty years ago, it occupied only a small part of it.

    The Champ des Possibles (including Bernard lot) ended up with a huge infestation of ragweed in 2016 despite having Les Amis du Champ des Possibles expend major efforts in planting competing species over the years in addition to proceeding with localized annual mowings or weedings, measures usually considered sufficient to control ragweed.

    This infestation was jeopardizing the possibility of conserving the pastoral aspect of the field as well as its mission of supporting biodiversity. In fact, ragweed is responsible for severe allergies and asthma problems. Since young children from an outdoor day care center frequent this place daily, it would have been irresponsible to let them breathe in so much pollen. In addition, ragweed showing allelopathic behavior, its presence affects the establishment of other plants.

    Rather than responding to the need to remove pollen from the air by a fieldwide mowing, Irene Mayer proposed a pilot project to test her method of selective weeding in order to reconcile public health protection with the support of biodiversity.

    The project aims to demonstrate that ragweed can be successfully eradicated in a field-like urban park while returning to conditions that support biodiversity. The 3×3 OUT! protocol (3 selective weedings, 3 successive summers and autumns) was conceived after years of experimentation in Montreal’s streets and alleyways.

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    Ville de Montréal (Large Parks, Greening, and Mount Royal Department)

    Ville de Montréal (Large Parks, Greening, and Mount Royal Department)

    Two wildlife observation sites have been redeveloped using a new and improved design concept in Montréal’s nature parks network : Observatoire Havre aux tortues in Cap-Saint-Jacques nature park, and Observatoire du marais in Pointe-aux-Prairies nature park. These structures have been adjusted to simultaneously address wildlife protection imperatives and people’s desire to observe wildlife. A wall with openings disposed at varying heights allows all visitors to view and enjoy the natural landscape without disturbing the animals. Materials consistent with sustainable development principles were selected for the construction of these structures.

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    ILEAU

    ILEAU

    The ILEAU project (interventions in local environment and urban architecture) is a program running until 2017 that fights urban heat islands in eastern Montreal. Coordinated by the CRE-Montreal (Regional Council for the Environment of Montreal) (CRE-Montreal) the project is being realized in close collaboration with several local and regional partners who are working together to create major changes in the area. The entire community is invited to tangibly participate in the project by taking action on the ground.

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    VERTical Project – AU/LAB

    VERTical Project – AU/LAB

    VERTical is an innovative urban agriculture project that covers an area of 600 m2. It is characterized by vertical self-supporting structures that allow to experiment with different types of natural and synthetic growing media, to contribute to the fight against urban heat islands, to densify food production and to transform urban roofs into biodiversity oases.

    The project is part of the Urban Agriculture Laboratory of the Palais des congrès de Montréal. The laboratory’s partner organizations, the Palais des congrès, la Ligne Verte and AU/LAB, have created this experimentation space in order to add a second vocation to the roof of the Palais des congrès, but also to develop and apply rooftop food production techniques.

    VERTical has been financed by various stakeholders including the Réseau d’Investissement Social du Québec, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec, the Borough of Ville-Marie, the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins and PME MTL Centre-Ville.

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