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The Holidays at Espace pour la vie

Montréal, November 7, 2022 - 

The level of excitement is building in our Espace pour la vie teams: the holidays are just around the corner, and with them comes an amazing lineup of activities! Having five museums means we can deliver a whole host of discoveries and experiences for everyone in the family. Here’s a glance at some of the activities our teams have put together for you—each one an opportunity to combine the pleasures of art and science with a healthy dose of holiday magic!

At the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan
Worlds of Ice, a film by Philippe Baylaucq, produced by the National Film Board of Canada in cooperation with the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, serves up a spectacular 360° immersion into the world of ice and the role it plays in our lives and in the universe. Learn all about this astonishing substance, whose properties have had such a big impact on biology, astronomy, anthropology, culture and the arts. Set to the sweet voice of Beatrice Deer, a popular figure in Inuit culture, this film is an experience that is simultaneously dazzling, surprising, moving and awareness-raising.
Starting December 14 | Length: 30 minutes | 7 years and older

At the Biosphère
Plastisapiens is a virtual reality experience that transports spectators to an ecofuturistic fable where organic beings and plastic merge. That alternative reality leads us to question the reciprocal relationship between humans and the environment that is transforming who we are, right down to our DNA.
Starting December 17 | Length: 15 minutes | 13 years and older

At the Biodôme
Giant animals on the move are back, to the delight of young and old alike! Oversized puppets, inspired by our native animal species, will wander through the spaces surrounding the ecosystems. Don't miss this magical spectacle, a waking dream for the whole family. Click here for the schedule.

While you’re here, make the most of your visit by taking part in our playful search and find activity in the company of an educator and the animals of the Laurentian Maple Forest and Tropical Rainforest. A bird’s eye view of the ecosystems will give you a better understanding of the importance of animal well-being.
Starting December 26 | Length: 3 to 10 minutes | General public, especially 3-to-8 year olds.

At the Jardin botanique
The Jardin botanique’s greenhouses are the perfect spot for a nature getaway, with 36,000 plants and 12,000 species, varieties and cultivars, all waiting to be discovered. Escape into a setting of luxurious greenery that will make you forget the harsh winter weather outdoors.

Did you know that every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., you can visit the Marie-Victorin Herbarium? With over 630,000 specimens, the Herbarium is the fourth-largest in Canada and is world-renowned. Guided tours run through December 21. Details here.

At the Insectarium
Reopened last April, the Insectarium offers a one-of-a-kind experience with an intimate, multi-sensory circuit that literally lets visitors become an insect for a while! Not to mention the Grand Vivarium, which houses a hundred species of free-ranging insects, including butterflies, and the Dome, which boasts a collection of 3,000 naturalized specimens, arranged in a magnificent chromatic arrangement on one row and by their evolutionary characteristics on the other. It all makes for a fascinating visit!

Gift ideas for the whole family
Did you know that the gift shops at the Biodôme, Jardin botanique and Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan stock a huge selection of products in line with Espace pour la vie’s mission and values?

Discover our very beautiful collection of Indigenous art at the Biodôme, including sculptures, engravings and hand-beaded jewellery. At the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, indulge in an item from our vintage collection, which includes posters from old Dow Planetarium exhibitions straight out of the 1960s and 1970s! Not to be forgotten, the Jardin botanique gift shop is full of enticing flavours and handy tools for the budding gardener. Come explore our gift shops and find the perfect gift!

Why not give an Espace pour la vie Passport?
The Espace pour la vie Passport provides one year’s unlimited access to our five museums: the Biodôme, Biosphère, Insectarium, Jardin botanique and Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan.

Available in digital format, our affordably priced Passport offers holders several benefits and will delight families, adults, students and all nature buffs.

And now, between November 20 and 30, you can enjoy a 10% discount on any purchase of an Espace pour la vie Passport!

Espace pour la vie holiday schedule
December 26 to January 3*

  • Biodôme: Every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Biosphère: Every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Jardin botanique: The outdoor gardens are open every day, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. (free admission)
  • Jardin botanique greenhouses: Every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursdays to Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

* Our museums will be open on Monday, December 26, and Monday, January 2, 2023, as well as on January 1, 2023 starting at 1 p.m. All museums and gift shops will be closed on December 24 and 25.


Find out all about our programming and museums here:

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Researchers’ Night: Back to the Future of Research!

Montréal, October 12, 2022 - 

Next November 11, Espace pour la vie will be presenting the third edition of Researchers’ Night, a yearly event that celebrates research and makes it accessible to the general public.

This year, visitors will cross a “time vortex” at the Jardin botanique and travel to the past, present and future of research. They will have a chance to meet with dozens of scientists, including experts from Espace pour la vie museums, Exploramer, the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, the Canadian Space Agency, the Institute for research on exoplanets, the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the Université de Montréal, the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec of the Université Laval, Calcul Québec, McGill University, etc.

All these great scientific minds will be on hand to talk about their current research projects and those they dream about, without overlooking the things they’ve learned and the mistakes and successes they’ve had along the way.

Research: A key factor for Espace pour la vie museums
With their collections, laboratories, equipment and highly qualified personnel, museums are privileged places for research and training. Researchers' Night is one of the key projects that helps build bridges between scientists and the public.

Once again this year, the event will be held simultaneously at the Jardin botanique de Montréal and the Sherbrooke Museum of Nature and Science.

A unique event that won’t be repeated twice!
Researchers’ Night reinvents itself every year:

  • A chance to visit places that aren’t usually accessible to the general public
  • One-of-a-kind opportunities to meet scientists from a wide range of fields
  • A festive ambience and refreshments for sale on-site

Visitors are invited to wear a costume representing a past era or a desired future.

Full programming and ticket reservations

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Project Regeneration

Plants have the ability to clean soil and bring it back to life, a phenomenon known as phytoremediation.

Regeneration is the product of an art-meets-science collaboration. It is a contemporary digital artwork in progress that documents in real time the phytoremediation of an area of land near the Jardin botanique. Through a light and sound installation, visitors can witness in a fascinating way data collected by cameras and sensors.

Art brings to life the invisible yet vital work of plants.


Outside, north of the Jardin botanique, a showcase for phytoremediation was created on a plot of land. The soil contains relatively low levels of contaminants, including trace elements of metals. Sensors were installed to monitor the plants’ decontamination work. These sensors are connected to an installation at the Biodiversity Centre.

Sensors and data

Some of the signs that the land is regenerating, as more plant species grow, include healthy alder trees, exchanges of gas between land and air, and the amount of moisture in the soil.

A set of sensors continuously monitors the land’s evolution, while others record weather conditions and the passage of time. We can quantify the neutralization of contaminants through random analyses of soil samples. We have observed a resurgence of biodiversity through the return of butterflies, bees, earthworms, birds and small mammals.

The data collected, which serves as scientific research and artistic creation, is the foundation of the artwork. It offers an impressionist interpretation of the regeneration of the soil in that area.

Plant community

Flowering plants, grasses and willows form a living community that works closely together to purify the soil. Pollutants, absorbed through the roots, can make their way up through the stems and leaves. Come fall, the vegetation will be cut and destroyed in a safe manner. Summer after summer, the plant community thrives with the appearance of spontaneous (natural) vegetation, embellishing the landscape while creating a more pleasant environment.

At the crossroads of art and science

The piece was created through a close collaboration among artists Alexandre Burton and Mélanie Crespin, and Jardin botanique researcher Joan Laur. The artistic installation includes a mobile made from bioplastic products derived from material collected at the plot. The lighting is modulated based on the digital data, which is presented on a screen and brought to life in two ways: “live” in which data is displayed and updated in real time; and “cyclical” where archived data is accelerated, showing a time-lapse-up view of the very slow evolutionary process.

The project is a coproduction of Espace pour la vie and the National Film Board of Canada.



Montréal, September 13, 2022 - 

Halloween is the time of year when the first frosts arrive, the leaves turn red and the boundaries between worlds become thin. The Sorcerer Kalbacius has jumped on the opportunity to cross those borders and create a haven for himself and his fantastic creatures in the Jardin botanique’s Main Greenhouse!

Espace pour la vie is inviting all children (and their parents!), from October 1st to 31st, to come out and lend Kalbacius a hand. He has to return to his own world by midnight on October 31! But he has a long road ahead and would be grateful for all the help he can get!

The Sorcerer’s Haven
Main Greenhouse – Every day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Guided activity between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Main Greenhouse is in a shambles! The Sorcerer Kalbacius has transformed it, setting up a temporary home for himself and his menagerie of unusual creatures. The vampire-gargoyle tunnel delivers chills and thrills, the vegetable garden and its strange scarecrow made of plants promises to keep everyone in line, and the cat-spiders’ web will have your skin crawling! Not to mention our crazy jack-o’-lanterns, the spectacular Ghost Tree and Kalbacius himself!

The Potions Workshop
Entrance Greenhouse – Every day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To help Kalbacius, you’ll have to master the art of potion-making! This plant sorcery workshop will give sorcerers in training a chance to try their hand at potions using plants that react in some very unexpected ways!

Frisson l’écureuil et la course aux bonbons – for children ages 4 to 8
Play - Auditorium – October 1 to 14
Monday to Friday: 11:30 a.m. | Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Starting October 17, every day at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Frisson l’écureuil (Scaredy Squirrel), a character created by author Mélanie Watt, is worried: How do you prepare for the scariest day of the year when you’re afraid of everything? Will he be ready to go trick-or-treating? With a little help from children, his friends, he might be!
Passes available at the Welcome Desk. Reservations recommended for groups (514-868-3000).

Outdoor activities
From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Guided activities end at 5 p.m.
Acorn and butternut squashes, pattypans, gourds and pumpkins: Cucurbita are a large family of vegetables that come in a wide range of shapes and colours—including some weird and funny ones! The Squash Kiosk is the place to learn about the life and “death” cycle of gourds with our science educators. How does a pumpkin’s life end? What happens when it rots? It’s also another opportunity to lend Kalbacius a hand by collecting a wealth of useful information!

Our young visitors, paper and pencil in hand, can take part in the Magical Creature Hunt, searching the garden for creatures that have escaped from Kalbacius’s clutches and run away! But first, the young trackers will have to brush up on their agility with the Magic Steps Circuit!

In the Japanese Garden
Kalbacius is not the only one to have a world of his own at the Jardin botanique! Come meet the characters that inhabit Japanese imaginations thanks to the magical art of paper theatre!
KOWAI ! Des histoires à faire peur… – for children ages 4 to 8
Japanese Pavilion — Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Japanese folklore teems with frightening characters: ogres, witches, spirits and demons. Are you brave enough to listen to tales of their evil deeds? Yield to the charm and evocative power of kamishibai—Japanese paper theatre. Your imagination will take care of the rest!

Virtual Pumpkin-decorating Contest
Our virtual Pumpkin-decorating Contest is back for another year!
To take part, just decorate a pumpkin or any other member of the amazing Cucurbit family. Let your imagination go wild!
Enter the contest between September 26 and October 26.

La Presse and the Friends of the Garden are our partners for the Halloween Shivers event.
Online ticketing and schedule


Two for one!
Gardens of Light continues until October 31. Take advantage of your visit to combine two magical events at the Botanical Garden.

Tickets for Gardens of Light provide access to the outdoor gardens and the greenhouses all day.
The visit to Gardens of Light takes place at the time indicated on your tickets.

Online ticketing

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Montréal, August 11, 2022 - 

Espace pour la vie is immensely proud to celebrate the 30 years of passion and creativity of its team, who year after year manage to find new ways to dazzle visitors during the Gardens of Light, our signature event.

In 1992, the Jardin botanique installed the first lanterns at the Chinese Garden. Who could have known that 30 years later, the event would not only be a Montréal cultural landmark but that it would have grown to its current size, now highlighting the Jardin botanique’s three cultural gardens?

Don’t miss Ode to the Moon, from September 2 to October 31. Come discover or rediscover this magical circuit, presented for the first time in 2021. A very special finale awaits visitors in the Chinese Garden in honour of the luminous event’s anniversary.

Ode to the Moon
As the universal beacon that has guided human beings since the dawn of time, the Moon accompanies visitors throughout their exploration of the Gardens of Light. As they stroll through the gardens, guided by the night star, visitors are invited to howl and spy wolves. The Wolf Chorus is a dialogue between man and nature.

The Japanese Garden is transformed into a vast canvas onto which autumn paints its colours, while the First Nations Garden takes visitors on an immersive and poetic journey into the heart of the seasons of life, accompanied by the spirits of the river, fire, forest and wind. And finally, in a spectacular finale, the Chinese Garden lights up, seeking to outshine its lunar rival. Its hundreds of lanterns whisper the legend of Pangu, the giant who created the world. Expect a fabulous edition of the event featuring stunning lanterns in a multimedia water show on the Lake of Dreams. It’s a new, immersive experience and a Chinese Garden the likes of which you’ve never seen!

Ode to the Moon is a concept of Atomic3 and 20k.

At the Japanese Garden
The cycle of the seasons

The Japanese are very sensitive to the present moment and to the many signs of the changing seasons. The impermanence of things makes the seasons all the more precious. The illuminated Japanese Garden is a living work of art where the landscaping and the plants themselves, with their myriad structures, forms and colours, take pride of place.

At the First Nations Garden
The rhythm of life

At the heart of the circle where the seasons of life follow one another in an endless stream, the Moon marks time and sets the rhythm of life. In keeping with the fundamental principles shared by Aboriginal peoples and given voice by the words of Innu poet Joséphine Bacon, the illuminated path of the First Nations Garden beckons visitors on an immersive and poetic journey into the heart of the circle of life.

At the Chinese Garden
The legend of Pangu, the giant who created the world

Before the world was created, legend tells that the Universe looked like a large egg in which Heaven and Earth were mixed together and Pangu lay in a deep sleep. After 18,000 years, he emerged, shattering the walls in a thunderclap. It took him another 18,000 years to put the broken pieces back together again. When he died, his body became the fertile soil; his blood, the rivers; his sweat, the rain; his hair, the trees and plants; his eyes, the Sun and the Moon; his breath, the wind; his voice, the thunder; and his lice and fleas ... human beings! His limbs formed the four cardinal points reigned over by China’s mythical animals: the Azure Dragon, Vermillion Bird, Black Tortoise and White Tiger.

Timed tickets
Timed tickets, a popular and effective system, are back. To make the most of your experience, you will have to choose a set time for your visit when you purchase your tickets. Your timed ticket will allow you to wander freely through the three cultural gardens inside the Jardin botanique. They also give you access to the Jardin botanique as a whole, which can be visited at any time on the same day.

Ticketing and schedule:

Gardens of Light is funded in part through the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal between the City of Montréal and the Government of Quebec.

La Presse, Partner of the Gardens of Light event


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Joan Laur

At the Jardin botanique I contribute along with my students to the integrated deployment of phytotechnologies. With my wide-ranging background in applied plant biology, I can’t help but think that a host of innovative solutions for making the transition a success are within easy reach.

  • Botanist at the Jardin botanique
  • Scientific director of the Jardin’s Pathway to Phytotechnologies
  • Researcher at the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, in charge of the Institute’s phytotechnology platform
  • Associate professor at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Biological Sciences
  • See her publications on her webpage:

Area of research and expertise

  • Hydric relationships of plants and movement of contaminants
  • Use of native plants in phytotechnology
  • Land resilience and agrobiodiversity


Postdoctoral - Phytotechnologies, 2019
Université de Montréal

Postdoctoral - Phytology and plant protection, 2018
Université Laval

Doctoral – Forest biology and sustainable management, 2014
University of Alberta

Master’s – Plant biosciences, 2010
Université de Toulouse

Bachelor’s - Microbiology, agro-biosciences, bioinformatics and systems biology, 2010
Université de Toulouse

About my work

My work and the work of my team of student-researchers focuses on the development of simple technologies to deal with the great environmental challenges of the 21st century. We combine the tools of molecular biology and plant physiology to study the interaction of plants with their environment.

A better understanding of the natural processes governing our ecosystems also means using them to develop a resilient agriculture that will successfully stand up to climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean up soils, water and the air.

Why I love research

All along my career path I’ve had mentors who loved experimenting and putting in place. This is the same approach my students take in designing their research projects: they set themselves challenges, then define objectives and the appropriate methodologies for finding just the right solution.

Working at the Jardin botanique is also an opportunity for us to take concrete steps in concert with the different teams to make our work quickly accessible to communities.



Montréal, July 18, 2022 - 

Espace pour la vie was in for quite a surprise this morning! The huge flying greenhouse of the French team of L'Expédition végétale landed on the site of the Jardin botanique during the night!

Jardin management has learned that a very peculiar research team, L'Expédition végétale, is interested in native plants and their phytovoltaic properties (the ability to produce energy) and wishes to conduct research on the site of the Jardin botanique this summer.

These adventurers from the company La Machine travel the world aboard their mythical aircraft—the Aéroflorale II—a 4-storey high structure propelled by the electricity produced by the plants on board. During their stopover in Montreal, the team will conduct a series of experiments on the richness of the biodiversity of the city and its surroundings.

Mission to the Far North
After a long stopover in the Far North where the “researchers” studied, among other things, the ancient pollen of sunflowers of a yet to be discovered variety in the permafrost, the crew has now set course for America, for the first time in its history. Since its last stopover in September 2019, in Calais along the English Channel, L’Expédition végétale took to the skies once again on March 12 for its next mission to Quebec and its metropolis. Once there, its members will conduct a series of experiments on the richness and capacity of Quebec's endemic species to produce the proverbial phytovoltaic energy.

“We are very honoured that the Jardin botanique de Montréal is L'Expédition végétale's first North American stop,” said Anne Charpentier, Director of the Jardin. “The research conducted by this team of peculiar ‘scientists’ will give us the opportunity to address the importance of greening the city in an entirely original way.”

“On behalf of the Expédition végétale crew, I would like to sincerely thank the Jardin botanique for allowing us to land with the Aéroflorale II. The ability of plants to produce electricity is at the heart of our research. We are going to explore the Jardin botanique and try to identify endemic plants with high phytovoltaic yields,” said F.D., the captain of the Aéroflorale II.

Extended visiting hours at the Jardin botanique
The entire team of L'Expédition végétale will be glad to share their work with the visitors at the Jardin botanique from 10 am to 10 pm (last access to site at 9 pm), until their mission comes to an end on July 31. After that date, they will make their way to their next destination. Please note that the crew will be off on July 20, 21, 26 and 27.

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.

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