Every year since 1999, as part of the Great Gardening Weekend at the Jardin botanique de Montréal, the prestigious Henry Teuscher Award is given to a person whose achievements contribute in a meaningful way to the advancement of horticulture in Québec.
This year, the jury is presenting the award to Mr. Pierre Dénommé, founder and director of Sentier urbain. Mr. Dénommé has been working for 30 years to bring people and nature closer together in order to improve the quality of life in our communities. Through an inclusive citizen participation approach, the founder of Sentier urbain is helping to make Montréal a greener, more biodiverse and nurturing city.
2022 recipient: Pierre Dénommé, founder and director of Sentier urbain
A precursor of the socio-ecological transition even before this concept had been coined, Pierre Dénommé has been exploring uncharted territories for nearly 30 years.
In his native Témiscamingue the self-taught entrepreneur sketched out his vision of the link between humans and nature. In 1993, he started a social environment project that would eventually become the Centre d'interprétation Becs et jardins. After moving to the city, he dreamed of a greener Montréal, where citizens would come together to green the streets, alleys and balconies, and where children would be in contact with nature on a daily basis. He grabbed a wheelbarrow and a shovel and set out to build a 200-foot-long, 7-foot-wide path behind his home in a Montréal alley with the help of his neighbours. This spontaneous gesture led to the creation of Sentier urbain.
Always on the lookout for new opportunities to mobilize communities towards a social greening of the city, Pierre Dénommé then worked to revitalize and re-naturalize several vacant lots in the boroughs of Ville-Marie and Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve facing problems of drug addiction, prostitution and homelessness, whose transformation required the cooperation of multiple organizations. Participatory vegetable gardens, medicinal garden, horticultural workbench, pollinator garden... Today, he has a network of eight gardens based on various environmental themes to his credit. This garden circuit contributes to mitigating heat islands, strengthening ties with nature and increasing urban biodiversity through plants, birds and butterflies; it gives green spaces back to citizens in a spirit of social inclusion.
Some 30 years later, the work of one man with a wheelbarrow has become the business of nearly 40 employees, of which 15 are permanent, and 140 volunteers. Sentier urbain has become a key player in supporting residents, citizen committees and organizations in positively transforming our living environments. By promoting the transfer of expertise through environmental awareness among young people, citizen participation and the affiliation of people at risk, it allows everyone to become actors of change in a sustainable manner. Through market gardening and greenhouse production, it participates in the development of a local food system that is more supportive and ecological.
Here as in Témiscamingue, Pierre Dénommé and his organization work to bring humans closer to nature in three axes of intervention: Mobilize, Educate and Green. With this Henry Teuscher Award, a fourth axis should be added: Inspire.
“Mr. Dénommé is a pioneer in the socio-ecological transition and has undoubtedly influenced and inspired many citizens to embark on projects like the Sentier urbain. Today, this environmental and ecological approach is all the more crucial as it is a global issue that must be taken seriously. The City of Montréal is all the more proud to present this award, since the ideas behind such a project coincide more than ever with its Climate 2030 plan. Mr. Dénommé embodies a deep and necessary commitment that must be supported, encouraged and celebrated." said Caroline Bourgeois, who is responsible for large parks, Mount Royal, sports and recreation, Espace pour la vie, Parc Jean-Drapeau and East Montréal.
The Henry Teuscher Award, past and present
A visionary and passionate botanist and landscape architect, Henry Teuscher (1891–1984) designed the Jardin botanique de Montréal. He worked closely with Brother Marie-Victorin and was also responsible for designing several of the exhibition greenhouses and assembling some of the garden’s main plant collections. Since it was founded in 1999, the Henry Teuscher Award has been presented to:
Marc Légaré (2021), Maurice Beauchamp (2020), Danielle Dagenais (2019), André Poliquin (2018), Yves Gagnon (2017), Bertrand Dumont (2016), Claude Vallée (2015), Albert Mondor (2014); Isabelle Dupras (2013); Francis H. Cabot (2012, posthumously); Hélène Leclerc (2011); Jacques-André Rioux (2010); Elsie Reford and Alexander Reford (2009); Jean-Claude Vigor (2008); Émile Jacqmain (2007); Fred Oehmichen (2006); Daniel A. Séguin (2005); Gaëtan Hamel (2004); Milan B. Havlin (2003); Henri et Camille Perron (2002); Wilfrid Meloche (2001); Roger Van den Hende (2000) and Tony Huber (1999)
The Great Gardening Weekend at the Jardin botanique de Montréal celebrates the garden as a meeting place
The Jardin botanique de Montréal invites horticulture enthusiasts to reconnect with each other and with nature during its 25th Great Gardening Weekend. Under the theme "The Garden as a Meeting Place," the annual event is held in a hybrid format. All of the virtual conferences with gardening experts broadcast from May 24 to 26 will be available for replay free of charge. Until May 29, on the site of the Jardin botanique, come and meet more than forty exhibitors, including the Jardin botanique's Friendly Societies and local producers. The Great Gardening Weekend is the perfect time to obtain plants, products and valuable advice for your gardening projects. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask all your questions about ecological gardening, local purchasing and more in a perspective of socio-ecological transition. Also on the menu: embracing biodiversity with the My Garden program, participatory science with Mission Monarch, urban agriculture with Cultiver Montréal, and learn all about research with the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale.
Digital press kit (visuals): http://bit.ly/Prix_Henry_Teuscher
Espace pour la vie is made up of five major attractions: the Biodôme, the Biosphère, the Insectarium, the Jardin botanique and the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. These prestigious municipal institutions form Canada’s largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement, encouraging all of us to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.