|The meeting of two worlds
For years, Georges Brossard roamed the world in search of fascinating and magnificent little animals: insects. He patiently sought out, sorted and identified thousands of specimens. He had only one regret, and that was that this magnificent collection was stored away out of sight... In his basement! In 1985, he invited Pierre Bourque, director of the Jardin botanique de Montréal at the time, to see his amazing collection. Bourque was astounded by the beauty of these tens of thousands of butterflies, beetles, dipteras and other insects from some 100 countries. Their meeting marked the first step in bringing a dream to life – the creation of an insectarium in Montréal.
|Tenacious and generous enthusiasts
For this dream to become a reality, Georges Brossard, his wife, Suzanne Schiller, and Pierre Bourque all knew that they had to convince the public and the different levels of government, including city authorities. They organized fascinating exhibitions at the Jardin botanique, accompanied by lectures, which generated great public enthusiasm. In fact, a public fund-raising campaign in 1987 pulled in an impressive $600,000. That same year, Georges Brossard donated his insect collection to the city of Montréal. During a study mission to Japan, representatives of the different levels of government were enthralled by the Tama and Hiroshima insectariums and convinced that Montréal should have a similar institution. Georges Brossard had reached his goal!
|The dream emerges
The site selected, within the Jardin botanique itself, allowed the Insectarium to grow and evolve at its own pace, while taking advantage of the natural complementarity of the two institutions. Architects, scientists, ecologists, educators and museologists all pitched in. Other generous donors appeared, in particular Brother Firmin Laliberté, who offered the new museum a huge scientific collection of 100,000 specimens.
|Official opening of the Insectarium de Montréal
Finally, on February 7, 1990, the Insectarium de Montréal opened, with Mayor Jean Doré attending the ceremonies. During the initial open house period, 20,000 to 30,000 visitors braved the cold to come and see "their" Insectarium.
A number of events have shaped the history of the Insectarium de Montréal since it opened. Premieres, new exhibits and unforgettable encounters…
|First edition of Insect Tastings, which was held until 2005, then in the summer of 2017.
|Monarchs Without Borders program begins as part of Monarch Watch program (Canada, U.S.A., Mexico). Program wound up in 2016.
|Butterflies Go Free held for first time
Campaign for the choice of a Québec insect symbol. The admiral butterfly wins the popular vote.
|Entomology reference website Toile des insectes goes online
|New permanent exhibition, We Are the Insects, with over 3,000 naturalized specimens and 100 live specimens
|First international conference on entomophagy in North America, “Eating Innovation: The Art, Culture, Science and Business of Entomophagy”
|Mission Monarch participatory science program, aimed at getting citizens to help document reproductive success of monarch butterfly, set up
|The city of Montréal becomes the first monarch-friendly city in Québec, with the Insectarium playing a major role
|First Monarch Fiesta held at Insectarium (with activities and workshops) to celebrate and raise profile of monarch conservation initiatives.
In constant evolution ...
Years go by, but don’t look at all alike! Transformation lies at the heart of the Insectarium de Montréal’s evolution.
|International architectural competition for Insectarium’s Metamorphosis announced in February
|Winners announced in November: a consortium of German and Québec firms - Kuehn Malvezzi + Pelletier De Fontenay + Jodoin Lamarre Pratte + Dupras Ledoux + NCK (Berlin, Montréal)
|Closing of the Insectarium for its spectacular metamorphosis
|Opening of the new Insectarium