The Montréal Insectarium owes its creation to a self-taught entomologist. Armed with passion and perseverance, Georges Brossard (1940–2019) succeeded in making his dream come true. An extensive traveler, he contributed to the discovery of many insects and to a better understanding of the ecological roles they play and their importance in preserving biodiversity.
An interest in insects that dates back to childhood
Born on Montréal’s South Shore, Brossard grew up on a farm in the country. As a child, he developed an interest in insects and started his first collection.
Later, he considered doing a PhD thesis on bees, but chose to become a notary instead. At the age of 25, he opened an office where he practised for 13 years.
Travels inspired by entomology
His love of insects, natural science and the environment led Brossard to leave his notary practice in 1978, at 38 years of age. His partner, Suzanne, also left her job as a dental surgery assistant to accompany him in his adventures.
As a person of independent means, Brossard decided to travel the world. In 1979, during a trip to Thailand, his childhood passion was rekindled. From that point on, he set out to scour every continent in search of thousands of species of insects to add to his collection.
As his collection grew, he dreamt of one day building a true temple to insects—an insectarium with an educational, scientific, cultural and tourism vocation.
Founding the Insectarium
In the 1980s, Brossard began showing his collection to the Québec public at various exhibitions. The collection’s popularity soon made it clear that an insect museum could attract a lot of visitors. His dream of sharing his treasure began to elicit a great deal of interest.
Brossard’s first step in creating his insectarium was to book an appointment with Montréal Mayor Jean Drapeau. Brossard gave the city his impressive collection of approximately 250,000 specimens from a hundred countries.
Mayor Drapeau supported the project and put the entomologist in contact with Pierre Bourque, the director of the Botanical Garden, who also backed the idea.
Following a grassroots fundraising campaign, Brossard’s dream began to take form. Other donors stepped up to help expand the museum's collection. Finally, on February 7, 1990, the Montréal Insectarium opened its doors.
An insect lover who left his mark
Throughout his life, Brossard sought to bring insects to the attention of the general public. He hosted educational television series and gave hundreds of lectures.
However, his actions were not limited to Québec. In the 1990s and 2000s, he helped create other insectariums, including the one in Shanghai.
The Insectarium’s founder was a source of inspiration for many entomologists. He was sensitive to environmental issues and understood that insects were endangered and that we had to learn to recognize their true importance. A marker honouring Georges Brossard now stands in the museum's Pollinator Garden.