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Montréal Space for Life invites you to a symphony of colours

Butterflies Go Free – February 19 to April 26
Montréal, February 16, 2015 - 

Starting February 19, Montréal Space for Life invites you to the 18th edition of Butterflies Go Free in the Main Exhibition Greenhouse at the Botanical Garden. Learn the secrets of butterflies’ dazzling colours as you immerse yourself in their shimmering aerial ballet. Enjoy a microscopic incursion into their universe, as set designer Mylène Chabrol reduces us to the size of a grain of pollen so we can fly on butterfly wings, to a soundtrack specially created by Émilie Laforest. This colourful event, produced and organized by the Insectarium, gives us a close-up look at the microscopic structure of the scales on butterfly wings, through the unique perspective of biochemist and photographer Linden Gledhill.

Flying colours

There are no colours in the dark. No orange monarchs. No brilliant blue morphos. But what a show sunlight brings! As the light strikes butterflies’ scales, it reveals their multi-coloured hues and the fabulous patterns on their wings. The colours of some species even appear to change depending on what angle we view them from. To help us understand these natural masterpieces, knowledgeable nature interpreters will explain the physical and chemical phenomena responsible for the butterflies’ colourful patterns and the transparent windows on some moths’ wings.

Larger than life

Biochemist and photographer Linden Gledhill uses microscopy and cutting-edge equipment to examine butterflies in a whole new way. He focuses his lens on the subtle nuances of the colours and the contrasting structures of butterfly scales to reveal them in a way that would be impossible with the naked eye. Visual designer Mylène Chabrol was inspired by these spectacular images to create an intriguing, brilliantly hued set inviting us to venture into the infinitely small universe of butterfly scales, by shrinking us to the size of a grain of pollen.

Butterflies Go Free in figures

  • Over 20,000 butterflies released throughout the event
  • 1,500 to 2,000 butterflies present at the same time
  • About 75 species from 7 countries (Costa Rica, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines, El Salvador, Tanzania, United States).
  • Temperature in the Main Exhibition Greenhouse: 24 to 29°C.


  • Butterflies are more active in the morning, on sunny days, and when there is a change in atmospheric pressure.
  • Buy your tickets online to avoid line-ups, at

Montréal Space for Life is made up of four attractions on the same site: the Botanical Garden, Biodôme, Insectarium and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. 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.

For further information and to purchase tickets online, see our website,

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Contact our team

Karine Jalbert
Communications Co-ordinator
514 872-1453 / 514 250-3230

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