The Montréal Biodôme, one of the five Espace pour la vie museums, was already one of Montrealers' favorite attractions. Since its reopening in August 2020, it has been garnering accolades from all over! The American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has just renewed the accreditation of the Montréal Biodôme. Granted by the AZA's Independent Accreditation Commission, this prestigious recognition guarantees that the Montréal Biodôme will continue to meet the highest standards worldwide in the management of zoological institutions. Further to this good news, the Espace pour la vie museum has recently picked up a series of major awards. Whether it is for the architectural enhancement of a Montreal landmark, its innovative museology, its significant local impact, the ingenuity of its building or the design of its gift shop, the Montréal Biodôme has earned myriad honours in the past year.
SEAL OF QUALITY
Accreditation by the AZA is of the utmost importance to the Biodôme. To ensure the highest standards in the management of animal care, animal populations and plant communities, education, research and conservation programs as well as communications and security, the AZA requires that accredited institutions successfully complete a rigorous accreditation process every five years. This process takes more than six months and allows an independent panel of experts to scrutinize all aspects of the institution's work.
"Animal welfare is at the heart of our priorities, and all our teams contribute to it. The AZA accreditation underlines the seriousness of our work and the success of our efforts. We are very proud of this achievement," said Yves Paris, Director of the Montréal Biodôme. The AZA's independent panel of experts recognized the excellence of the Biodôme's work, with special mentions for:
The quality of the work related to animal welfare, whether through the responsible management of the many animal enrichment programs or through the establishment of a committee dedicated to animal welfare;
Sustained and successful efforts related to the reproduction of certain animal species (e.g. terns, puffins and penguins);
The quality of veterinary care and the attention given to all aspects of the animals' diet;
The number and quality of conservation projects for plants (wild garlic, Mingan thistle, American ginseng) and animals (striped chorus frog, wood turtle, copper redhorse, etc.);
The quality and depth of research in species ecology and habitat protection.
"We are excited to again count the Montréal Biodôme as an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This outstanding, beautifully renovated facility is one that our independent Accreditation Commission was proud to approve. Education is a crucial role for modern zoological facilities and educational themes pervade every aspect of the Montréal Biodôme’s programs. The Biodôme staff is rightfully proud of its educational focus, and AZA colleagues around the world will learn and benefit from their efforts,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
In Canada, only six other zoological institutions have obtained AZA accreditation: Assiniboine Park Zoo, Calgary Zoo, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto Zoo, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, and Granby Zoo. The Biodôme was already accredited by the AZA before its renovation, but was waiting for its reopening to renew its membership. The Biodôme is also accredited by the Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and is a member of the World Aquariums and Zoo Association (WAZA).
The Biodôme has now received some 20 awards since its reopening in August 2020, more than half of which celebrate its renewed architecture. Its positive impact on the community and the local economy were hailed by the Chambre de Commerce de l'Est de Montréal (CCEM) at the ESTim competition in June. This fall, the museum won the Prix Excellence in its category from the Société des musées du Québec (SMQ) for exceeding the standards of museum practice, among other things. In September, the Biodôme received the Prix du Génie-Conseil Québécois (Bouthillette Parizeau) in the Mechanical-Electrical Building category.
The architectural work, entrusted to KANVA in collaboration with NEUF architect(e)s, and to ADHOC architects & MESSIER designers for the Biodôme gift shop, won more than a dozen awards, highlighting the importance given to design and architectural enhancement in the project as a whole (heritage enhancement, wood enhancement, architectural renovation, etc.). The gift shop picked up six awards, including two international awards—International Interior Design Awards 2020 and Rethink the Future Awards 2021—as well as the Grand Prize in the interior design category at the 14th edition of the Grands Prix du Design, which took place on October 20. The project as a whole took the International Grand Prize at this competition, also in the interior design category.
The Biodôme's renovation involved a colossal architectural undertaking, a completely redefined museum experience, improved habitats, sustained research and conservation efforts, a new educational approach, and two new exhibitions: Bio-machine and It’s Time to Act.
"The project embodies the Biodôme's mission: to reconnect humans with nature by creating a sense of wonder, to raise awareness of the issues that threaten nature and to encourage citizens to get involved in its protection. We are proud to receive these numerous awards and accreditations, which reflect the excellence of our teams' work," said Julie Jodoin, Interim Director at Espace pour la vie.- 30 -
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for major zoos and aquariums in the United States and twelve other countries. The AZA accreditation logo assures the general public that they are supporting an institution that strives to meet the highest standards for animal care, to provide a quality experience, and to build a better future for all living things. For more information: aza.org.
ABOUT ESPACE POUR LA VIE
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.