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Butterflies Go Free 2018 - Sharing your habitat to dwell together on our planet

Montréal, February 21, 2018 - 

On February 22, 2018, the Butterflies Go Free event gets underway at the Jardin botanique’s main exhibition greenhouse. In much the same way as we humans are concerned with taking shelter in the middle of winter, this year’s Butterflies Go Free theme looks at the relationship butterflies have with their habitat. Better still, with help from our Insectarium scientific guides, you can already start dreaming of summer by learning all sorts of tips on how to attract these magnificent lepidoptera to your garden. A wonderful way to share your habitat with butterflies and “dwell together” in better ways on our planet! But this is just the beginning… all year long Space for Life will be looking at the multiple ways that living things—fauna, flora and other living organisms—inhabit the planet. What can we humans do to live in better harmony with nature?


BUTTERFLIES GO FREE – NATURE HAVEN February 22 to April 29, 2018 
Jardin botanique, Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm
Open Monday, March 5 (March Break) and Monday, April 2 (Easter) Flitting from flower to flower, landing gracefully on a shoulder, they spread their colourful shimmering wings. We fall under their charm and would like to do something to protect them, especially the endangered monarch. This year, Butterflies Go Free could very well inspire you! It’s no coincidence that the setting in the botanical garden’s main greenhouse contains hints of an urban environment… because butterflies will come to the city if they see an attractive spot. Find out how to make good use of the educational tools available in the main greenhouse. Perhaps you will have the pleasure of sharing a small portion of your dwelling with them!

A magnificent butterfly chair 
At the entrance to the botanical garden, the first thing visitors will see is the Butterfly Chair installation, a piece by Andrea Williamson that underlines the correlation between outdoor pollution levels and the vitality of the butterflies on the chair. Linked by computer to sensors in the city of Montreal detecting polluting gases nearby, each butterfly flaps its wings to the speeds determined by the fluctuating levels of the four gas pollutants. As levels increase, the flapping of the wings slows, lulling the butterflies into a state of lethargy. Inversely, as the level of pollutants decreases, the faster and more vigorously their wings flap. This provocative artwork thus alerts us to the impact that human activity has on living beings.

In Montreal, as elsewhere in the world, urban sprawl and the fragmentation of green spaces are contributing to the disappearance of biodiversity. Numerous species are degrading or disappearing. Yet, concrete actions can be taken to positively influence our environment. Creating an inviting garden for butterflies is one of them.

Did you know?

  • Since 2008, over half of the world’s population lives in cities. If current trends continue, the world’s urban population is expected to nearly double by 2050, to approximately 6.5 billion city-dwellers. (Source: International Union for Conservation of Nature)
  • The My Space for Life Garden program offers many tips for creating a monarch oasis.
  • Montreal became a “Monarch-friendly city” in 2017.

A few figures…

  • In the main greenhouse, the temperature varies between 24 and 29 °C. 
  • Every day, there are between 1,500 and 2,000 free-flying butterflies in the main greenhouse and approximately a hundred of them are released throughout the day.
  • A total of 15,000 to 20,000 butterflies are released into the greenhouse during the event.
  • During your visit, you can see about 50 of the 75 different species that are active throughout the event. 

“You don’t need a big garden to attract butterflies! A small balcony, some flower pots or a corner in the alley is enough… the goal is to promote biodiversity while having fun. It improves our living environment and gives us pleasure by observing butterflies and other pollinating insects,” said Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Director of Espace pour la vie. “By creating gardens that are inviting to butterflies, together we’re learning a different way to dwell on our planet and live in better harmony with nature.” TIPS FOR A GREAT VISIT
To maximize your experience, purchase your tickets online at

Nature dwells within us
In 2018, Espace pour la vie is taking a look at the many ways we dwell on our planet through inspiring ideas and thought-provoking talks and discussions to encourage citizens to become involved. This year at Espace pour la vie, nature dwells within us more than ever! 

Espace pour la vie is made up of four attractions on the same site: the Jardin botanique, Biodôme, Insectarium and Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. These four prestigious municipal institutions form Canada's largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement, urging everyone to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.

Visual, video, facts sheet:

Butterflies Go Free:

2018 Program:

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Contact our team

Caroline Bergevin 
Communications and public relations advisor, Communications Infrarouge
Office: 514 849-4554 / Cell: 514 914-5138
Marie-Joëlle Filion
Communications Coordinator, Espace pour la vie
514 868-4840

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