City butterflies…

Butterflies Go Free 2018
Credit: Space for Life (Mathieu Rivard)
Butterflies Go Free 2018
  • Butterflies Go Free 2018
  • Hyalophora cecropia
  • Danaus plexippus
City butterflies…

Butterflies Go Free isn’t the only place in town to get a good look at butterflies. Were you aware that many of Québec’s butterfly species can be easily observed even in the city?

From the famous monarch to the timid cecropia moth, more than 100 species of lepidoptera flit around from one green spot to another, in our midst, despite all that asphalt! So, suppose we invited them into our gardens, as a way of changing the world one insect at a time?

Urban oasis

Although we sometimes may forget it, city gardens are a major component of urban biodiversity. In combination with one another these habitats make up corridors that link all our little scraps of nature together in important networks. Which is a way of saying that setting out plants on a balcony or a terrace, organizing a kitchen garden or arranging flowers in a lane are effective means of preserving nature right at home.

And, laying out urban gardens provides a haven for a considerable number of native pollinators, such as butterflies. You simply need to follow a few basic rules if you want to turn a tiny corner of your backyard into a paradise for insects.

For example, milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies. When we add it to our gardens we create a true oasis for a butterfly whose numbers in easternNorth Americaare declining. And we’re working directly towards the protection of that emblematic butterfly while at the same time meeting the needs of an array of other species.

Living better lives in town

Observing examples of teeming small-sized wildlife in the heart of town is a constant source of discoveries! In enjoying the garden with their children and sharing some of the results with friends and family, urban gardeners are initiating a significant community movement for the conservation of our natural heritage.

In the 21st century, increasing urbanization represents both a challenge and an opportunity. Because in taking concrete action, for example by creating butterfly gardens, we can all protect biodiversity, each in our own way.

That nature, completely urban, considerably improves the health and wellbeing of each and every one of us. And so, together, we learn to live better lives in town…and to “dwell on our planet differently”!

For more practical details on creating an oasis for monarchs, refer to the Space for Life website.

And to provide an extra bit of support, help scientists come to a better understanding of the monarchs’ breeding habitat by participating in the community science project Mission Monarch.

To learn more about the essential role of insects and arthropods
Subscribe to the Our Neighbours the Insects newsletter

Share this page

Follow us!

Subscribe to receive by email:
2 Comment(s)
Blueflame's picture

I put out flowers around mid-May this year in order to attract butterflies. They are on our balcony (2nd floor). I haven't seen anything so far. I was aiming for Black Swallowtails and read that their flight season starts mid-May. Why haven't I seen anything, yet?

Space for life


Thank you for your interest in Montreal Space for Life. We sent your request to our experts from the Insectarium and here are their answers :
- Butterflies are just beginning to emerge. According to 'Science citoyenne' data, only a few have been spotted in Ontario to date.
- Butterflies of the Black Swallowtail family are good flyers, so the fact that you are on the 2nd floor should not be a problem if the host plant is there.
- And finally (and unfortunately!), it is not necessarily because a host plant has been planted that it will be visited by the butterfly...

We hope this answers your questions.


The Blog Team

Add new comment
Anonymous's picture