Best Practices and Innovation
Education and Awareness
- Marie-Ève Julien-Denis
Explore Biopolis projects and discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are supporting biodiversity in cities across Southern Québec.
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 Southern Québec. Explore our featured projects to discover how citizens, researchers, institutions, businesses and community organizations are working to support urban biodiversity.
Within the innovative movement of urban agriculture, Biquette à Montréal is working to bring pastoral elements back with initiatives to help sheep graze in the city. The main objective of the pilot project, carried out in Pelican Park, Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, is the introduction of eco-grazing in contemporary Montreal. Biquette à Montréal was developped within the Urban Agriculture Lab (AU/LAB).
Biquette à Montréal is summed up by three words: graze, educate and enjoy. Graze, by creating grazing areas in Montreal; educate, by creating a public space for citizen education about urban agriculture showcasing their flock of lambs; enjoy, by creating a meeting place with agriculture, which helps us connect to both the rural and the urban. Biquette à Montréal is a gathering place that is educational, fun and interactive all at once.
Ever since it was founded, the Cercle Carré Housing Cooperative has been hard at work in the implementation of a green roof project, which represents the focal point of its initial concept. The transformation of the otherwise lifeless roof of the building into a lush community oriented green space renders this project a beacon in its category and a perfect example of thoughtful urban development in a rapidly mutating neighbourhood. Upon realizing the entirety of its project, Cercle Carré will have contributed to the greening of 3000 square feet of roof top space, which would in the end meet the desired expectations that would positively impact life at the Coop and in the neighbourhood:
The Coop called upon the architect Owen Rose and his firm ROSE Architecture as well as Toiture Nature for their help in transforming the roof into an urban oasis comprising of plants native to Quebec, complete with urban agriculture and terrace spaces. The Coop also hosts a number of workshops and cultural events, thanks to a partnership with Éco-quartier Saint-Jacques. Furthermore, Cercle Carré obtained a generous grant from Environment Canada through its Eco Action Program, in order to help the Coop in covering the costs for plants, substrates, architect services and communications.
The city of Montreal issued a mandate to Vinci Consultants in 2011 to supervise the conception and performance of the bioretention island of Décarie Boulevard, between St-Jacques Street and Crowley Avenue, a rain garden designed to capture runoff waters. A 200 meter long segment of the street, comprising of four traffic lanes and one parking lane, was redesigned to support the entrance to the new McGill University Health Center. The client’s wish was to carry out an efficient, aesthetic and innovative runoff management project that would contribute to the fight against heat islands, which constitutes a threat to public health.
As a first step, the mandate included a feasibility study that was conducted in partnership with the landscape architects from Fahey et Associés and the DIrector of Urban Planning of the mandated firm, Pascale Rouillé. This study allowed the identification of numerous proposed alternatives to sustainably manage runoff waters of the Boulevard. The chosen option was that of a six meter wide bioretention island located within the central mall, which would allow drainage, retention, and filtration of runoff waters.
The mandate then included the supervision of the plans and specifications of excavation designed by an independent firm. Vinci Consultants was also mandated to supervise the construction work, evaluate the performance and social acceptability of the project and ensure the issuance of a certificate of final acceptance of the works.
The Saint-Michel Environmental Complex (CESM) is an immense 192-hectare site in the heart of the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough. This site, once home to the Miron limestone quarry, was converted in 1968 into a giant landfill of 75 hectares. Eventually acquired in 1984 by the City of Montreal, their goal was to turn it into a vast environmental technology and education complex surrounded by green space, helping to improve the cultural and recreational life of the area.
Today it has become the second largest green space in Montreal, after Mount Royal Park. This is one of the most ambitious environmental restoration projects ever undertaken in a North American urban area.
Branché is an app geared towards the betterment and enhancement of urban forests. Connected to the City of Montreal’s database, the app allows users to identify more than 200,000 trees, helping them recognize and get to know trees growing around the city.
It registers the position of the user’s smartphone and automatically displays the species and other info whenever they walk past a tree in Montreal. The app also lets users leave messages on particular trees, report ash trees that are infected by the Emerald Ash Borer, identify other app users, and georeference unlisted trees by using the species identification key.
Wild City Mapping is a project that was initiated by a group of artists, advocates for green spaces, nature lovers, and geeks. Their mission is to map the personal significance of Montréal’s wild green spaces with their on-line, open-source platform. Often thought of as abandoned, these sites are catalogued through the eyes of the citizens who use them regularly. In addition to the on-line map, they hold creative interventions in urban green spaces, from creative mapping walks to film screenings and site-specific installations.
Les Toits Vertige is a Montreal company specializing in the design and construction of green roofs. Their mission is to transform the flat roofs of Montreal into urban oases, improving the quality of life for all without affecting urban development.
The project that has had the greatest impact on biodiversity to date is undoubtedly the green roof of the STM building on Stinson street, located in an industrial area of Ville Saint-Laurent where mineral surfaces are vast and ground vegetation is rare. Completed in 2014, it is one of the largest vegetated roofing projects in Canada, extending over an area of 72,000 ft². The roof canopy is composed of twenty species of plants, namely sedum, which bloom from May to October and attract a host of insect pollinators.
Help protect threatened species and their habitats.