© 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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    The Protection and Enhancement of Montreal’s Natural Habitats

    The Protection and Enhancement of Montreal’s Natural Habitats

    For over a decade, the implementation of Montréal’s Policy on the Protection and Enhancement of Natural Habitats aims to:

    (1) maximize biodiversity and increase aggregate hectarage of protected natural habitats in Montréal;

    (2) ensure the sustainability of natural habitats in existing City parks, and promote the consolidation and viability of park ecosystems;

    (3) foster enhanced integration of ecosystems and natural landscapes in built-up areas.

    The Policy identifies 10 ecoterritories, in which natural habitats are larger than 15 ha and slated for priority protection and enhancement. Conservation projects are elaborated through a concerted planning process, and are based on the ecological network concept (core zones, buffer zones, ecological corridors). The implementation of the Policy has allowed for the creation and expansion of numerous nature parks. After the Policy’s original goal was achieved in 2015, namely the protection of 6% of terrestrial areas in the agglomeration, the goal was adjusted to 10 % in the Schéma d’aménagement et de développement de Montréal. When taking into account large bodies of water around the island of Montréal, over 17 % of the agglomeration is already under protection, which corresponds to the international goal. However, the City wishes to concentrate its efforts on terrestrial areas, where balancing development and conservation is a very important and complex issue.

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    Le Mange-Trottoir

    Le Mange-Trottoir

    Mange-Trottoir attracts, gathers, informs, educates and inspires the local and international community. It meets the needs of a city that is redeveloping on a human scale to address urban greening, citizen engagement, ecological agriculture, and the reduction of urban heat islands.

    Initially launched by a neighborhood resident, the project is the end result of a collective reflection involving several members of the community. In spring 2014 they got the idea to grow sidewalk container gardens at the corner of de Castelnau and Drolet streets in Villeray, Montreal, and since then the project has really taken shape. The group rolled up their sleeves and have built what is one of the most lush and collaborative green urban agricultural projects in Montreal. Several containers are neatly arranged on the sidewalks on both sides of the street, containing a variety of edible and native plants, to the delight of residents who come to take their pick. In addition, social and educational group activities are regularly offered around the edible sidewalk gardens.

    Financed primarily by residents through plant sales and with the help of the Villeray éco-quartier, UQAM and the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre—this project creates great opportunities for local residents to connect with each other and discuss agriculture.

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    Réseau de milieux naturels protégés

    Réseau de milieux naturels protégés

    The Répertoire des milieux naturels protégés du Québec (Directory of Protected Natural Areas in Quebec), is an exhaustive directory of natural areas on private land in southern Quebec protected by non-government organizations.

    The repertoire compiles more than 750 protected sites. It locates the protected natural areas in Quebec so they can be incorporated in territory planning and regional protection strategies.

    The repertoire’s website helps to visualize the progress made towards protecting the province’s territory and the Registration Platform can be used to record a protected site that is not in the repertoire yet.

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    Rain Garden, bioretention – Decarie Boulevard

    Rain Garden, bioretention – Decarie Boulevard

    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.

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    Ephemeral Projects

    Ephemeral Projects

    Ephemeral Projects is an initiative of Université de Montréal that aims to temporarily occupy and valorize part of the construction site of its future science campus, the Outremont Site. Through collaboration with ten local environmental organizations, the construction site has become the scene of a series of micro projects whose common goal is to bring public awareness to the appropriation and valorization of urban spaces. Among others, a collective garden, a pollinator garden, an apiary, a tree nursery, and a space dedicated to small-scale intensive food production, as well as a few ecological experimental projects can be found on site.

    The site has become a platform for people of all ages to learn about how sustainable development transforms cities. Moreover, it will play host to a multitude of user-friendly and educational activities such as movie nights and outdoor concerts, workshops on urban agriculture, tours and solidarity markets. A harvest festival was also held in the falls of 2015 and 2016.

    In 2016, this project won first prize at the Gala de reconnaissance en environnement et développement durable (Gala for the recognition of the environment and sustainable development) of Montreal in the category for companies and institutions.

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    Le Lab Alvéole – Microhabitat

    Le Lab Alvéole – Microhabitat

    Through collaboration with Alvéole, in 2014 Microhabitat created a shared food production area in the heart of the Mile-End neighborhood in Montreal called Lab Alvéole. This urban agricultural initiative combines the strengths of both beekeepers and gardeners, and is dedicated to food production, research and education using ecological farming techniques without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

    Fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, and mushrooms are grown using ecological farming techniques without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, in addition to the honey gathered from the local hive. Their products are shipped out to restaurants on a weekly basis. To date, two restaurants (Liv Salads and Bleu Raisin) use products from Lab Alvéole and in 2016, they produced $5,000 worth of fresh food, all the while improving the city’s ecosystem. The goal of this initiative is to develop the local economy and show the greater public that it is possible to stimulate financial growth without having a negative impact on the environment.

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    Jardin communautaire Basile-Patenaude

    Jardin communautaire Basile-Patenaude

    Pioneering a new wave of community gardens, with an approach that is innovative, mobilized, creative, connected to the needs of the community and of urban gardeners, the Basile-Patenaude community garden is constantly evolving with projects paving the way for new and adaptable community garden programs.

    Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie residents have inexpensive access to gardening space to produce quality fruit and vegetables, create a network for community support, and ensure food security. This includes a new garden for children; a playful space for urban agriculture specifically designed for young gardeners, an edible green lane of over 20,000 ft² with 150 fruit trees and bushes, a cornfield, two honey meadows, a mushroom garden and unique street furniture. The edible green lane is part of phase one of the revitalization of more than 22,000 ft² of vacant land, with upcoming phases including a respite educational farm and an important food security project to benefit this multicultural and disadvantaged sector of Rosemont La Petite-Patrie.

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    Sauvons la falaise

    Sauvons la falaise

    Sauvons la falaise is a group of engaged citizens with a primary mission to protect the eco-territory of the Saint-Jacques escarpment, an oasis of nature in the heart of the city. While recognizing the need for the infrastructure renewal program proposed by the Turcot highway project, Sauvons la falaise nevertheless aims to protect the falaise St. Jacques from further incursions by the MTQ (Quebec Ministry of Transport); promote connectivity though bike paths and the green belt between NDG, the Sud Ouest, Lachine, Montreal West and Westmount; clean up the falaise; and compel the City and the MTQ to release the plans for the falaise and surrounding areas including the Turcot Yards.

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    Conservation of Meadowbrook Park

    Conservation of Meadowbrook Park

    Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook is a committed group of citizens affiliated with local and national environmental organizations that protect natural spaces. Their mission is to protect Meadowbrook from development and transform it into Meadowbrook Park, a new 57-hectare urban nature heritage park, open and accessible to all, and connected through a greenway to a network of other parks, including the falaise Saint-Jacques.

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    Mission Monarch

    Mission Monarch

    Mission Monarch is a scientific project dedicated to the conservation of the Monarch butterfly through research, citizen science and education. The project is a joint initiative of the Montreal Insectarium and the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale (Plant Biology Research Institute), that also involves researchers from the universities of Ottawa, Rimouski, and Calgary.

    As a citizen science project, participants visit milkweed fields several times a summer to examine plants in search of monarch eggs and caterpillars, and share data collected with researchers via the website. Mission Monarch aims to document and identify the best monarch breeding habitats to help researchers implement an effective conservation plan for Canada.

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    Greening activities at Habitations Jeanne-Mance

    Greening activities at Habitations Jeanne-Mance

    Habitations Jeanne-Mance’s on-site greening activities preserve and improve biodiversity, and create pleasant outdoor spaces available to city residents. As a refreshing oasis in downtown Montreal, Habitations Jeanne-Mance contributes to the well-being of the neighborhood.

    Organized by the Saint-Jacques eco-district, in partnership with the Jeanne Mance Housing Corporation, key activities include the greening of four parking lots, densification of trees and plants, plantings in front of the townhouses located around the ecological parking lot, landscaping the front area of the residential tower located at 200 Ontario Street East, landscaping the back and front yards of townhouses, and the development of a small urban orchard.

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    BioKit Montreal

    BioKit Montreal

    Initiated by Environment Canada’s Biosphere, the BioKit project helps young people discover biodiversity, both in the country and in the city. BioKits are exploration notebooks designed for budding biologists, and are available for iPad via a free application, or as downloadable digital workbooks. Through a series of interactive outdoor activities for all ages, participants learn to listen, smell, touch and observe their environment to discover a new side of biodiversity by augmenting their hiking or walking experiences.

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