The Biodôme: 25 years and 22 million smiles

Conception of the Biodôme (1991)
Credit: Biodôme de Montréal
Conception of the Biodôme (1991)
  • Conception of the Biodôme (1991)
  • Conception of the Biodôme (1991)
  • Conception of the Biodôme (1991)
  • Conception of the Biodôme (1991)
  • Rachel Léger, Director of the Biodôme during its conception (1991)
The Biodôme: 25 years and 22 million smiles

The Biodôme, a wonderful gift from the government of Québec for the 350th anniversary of the founding of Montréal, is already celebrating its 25th birthday. I was there, and it seems like yesterday. During the three years of construction, rocks, cliffs, waterfalls and basins came into being that would host future plants and animals. A disciplined approach allowed us to re-create ecosystems that reflect reality very faithfully.

Twenty-two million people have admired our living museum, which to this day remains one of a kind. Prominent visitors from around the world have made their way along its pathways: prime ministers, princes, renowned environmentalists, movie stars, singers – but above all thousands of schoolchildren, our true raison d’être.

 Ecosystems close at hand

Our mission of guiding human beings towards a better experience of nature is part of a collective effort to preserve the natural world. The educational programs, the research projects, but more than anything the ecosystems contribute to a deeper understanding of species and habitats so that these can be better protected.

The Biodôme’s ecosystems, among them the South American Tropical Rainforest, are intended to raise visitor awareness with regard to the extraordinary biological wealth of those ecosystems, and to their extreme vulnerability as well.

The Laurentian Maple Forest demonstrates the adaptability of ecosystems to the variations in temperature and light that set the pace for the changing colors of the seasons and animal breeding periods.

The great Gulf of St. Lawrence basin reveals the nutritive richness of that area, home to fish and invertebrates in addition to seabirds nesting on the granite cliff faces.

Finally, the subarctic zone represents the Labrador coast, inhabited by alcids that include puffins and guillemots. At the other end of things, the sub-Antarctic habitat is populated by four species of penguin. These birds from the far north and the far south, which are in no way related, have evolved in similar fashion.

Science, art and emotion in the new Biodôme

These ecosystems are impressive in their realism, each one having its own habitats, climate and lighting. We had to meet significant energy challenges in regard to our mission, since we wanted to greatly improve energy efficiency, crucial to protecting the environment. This involved an enormous project, including installation of an open-circuit geothermal system, one of the most important in Canada and for which we’ve received prestigious awards.

After 25 years, the adventure continues. The Biodôme is reinventing itself courtesy of its Migration project. The objective is to transform the visitor experience by making it more immersive and by offering new points of view on the ecosystems. In adding experiences that bring science, art and emotion together, the Biodôme will carry on with its mission of steering humans towards a fuller experience of nature. Thank you to the hundreds of impassioned workers who’ve made the Biodôme a huge success since day one!

Today and all summer long, the Biodôme lets you take a look behind the scenes to celebrate its 25 years. Discover all the special programming.

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