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The Grande Place

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The Grande Place.
Photo: Espace pour la vie (graph synergie)

The first space in the world dedicated to humankind and nature

The Grande Place, which physically and metaphorically links the Biodôme, the Insectarium, the Jardin botanique and the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, is intended as the concrete expression of Space for Life. This perpetually changing and huge public space will symbolize the relationship between human beings and nature. It will be shaped by Montrealers and people from the world over, summoning them all to take concrete steps. The public will in effect be invited to invent new ways of coming together, of delighting in the spaces, of enjoying everyday life and of acting graciously. The space’s evolving configuration will serve as a pretext for citizen participation and for a high-level creative and collective approach.

- Opening progressively between now and 2017 -

The Grande Place at the Montréal Space for Life will link all four institutions. It will offer visitors a new way of moving around, coming together, enjoying the spaces and building and experiencing everyday life. Its design is still in the planning stages, but it will be based on public input. Everyone will be invited to take simple, progressive and meaningful actions to put their own mark on the sites. A constantly changing agora, brought to life by its users, will come to life in every season. With a fluid, intuitive and well-designed path, the Grande Place and the entire experience will symbolize the bonds between humankind and nature.

The Grande Place is central to the Space for Life, both physically and metaphorically. It will run from the Jardin botanique and Insectarium to the Biodôme and Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, linking the four institutions and bringing them together to create a Space for Life.

Different ways to enjoy nature to the fullest in the Grande Place

  • A new way of gathering: Joining in relaxed, informal discussions of current issues and biodiversity. Gardening. Jogging. Star gazing. Coming together to listen to fascinating speakers.
  • A new way of enjoying the spaces: Sampling goodies picked from a vegetable plot and cooked on-site, with your neighbours, with your head in the stars, or sharing them with the community.
  • A new way of building things: Designing street furniture with hardened compost. Sculpting a block of stone in your own special way. Reflecting together on solutions for the future.
  • A new way of interacting: Knowing at a glance that this is a Space for Life. Taking meaningful actions to identify the sites and what makes them special.
  • A new way of experiencing everyday life: Working on your laptop in the shade of the flowering crabapples, thanks to power outlets using renewable energy.

Moving around easily and pleasantly

The Grande Place at the Space for Life will make it easier for visitors to move between the Biodôme, Insectarium, Jardin botanique and Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. There will be metro entrances nearby, making it fully accessible. It will offer an original way of getting around, with no chance of ever being bored. Accessible both day and night, it will give people a range of experiences and a chance to relax and breathe away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. At the centre of the Grande Place there will be a gathering place, brought to life by the people who assemble there.

Original experiences in every season

The Grande Place will allow visitors to enjoy nature with a wide variety of fascinating experiences, with something different in every season. As they move from one site to another, they will be able to experience everyday life differently, to pause, chat and gather at will, in a relaxing venue open to everyone.

  • Urban vegetable plot. At the heart of the Grande Place there will be an urban vegetable plot, a place for gardening, harvesting, sampling, experimenting and discovering. A great line-up of festive attractions will showcase the joys of urban agriculture.
  • A unique walking and training path. The goal here is to allow Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Rosemont residents to visit our sites free of charge, to get together and enjoy themselves here. Imagine a path linking our institutions on both sides of Sherbrooke, where people can walk, run and train. Different sections of the path covered in different textures where people can go barefoot will let them actually touch the soil, the Earth.
  • Nuit blanche in winter. The Grande Place will be all decked out for Nuit blanche à Montréal, offering an avalanche of fun activities and meetings with such fantastic creatures as will o’ the wisps, knights and witches. Visitors will think they’re dreaming as they explore the pathways through the Biodôme’s ecosystems by night.
  • Meet some penguins outdoors in winter. Rolling out the red carpet for the penguins! Visitors will be able to gather in the Grande Place near the Biodôme to see the penguins when they come outdoors and learn all about these fabulous creatures from the South Pole.
  • Fall harvest festival. To celebrate the Earth’s bounties, local residents and social organizations will be invited to help harvest the urban vegetable plot and share the fruits of their labours in community kitchens set up on site. 

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