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What is Montréal Space for Life?

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A couple walks through the Botanical Gardens.
Photo: Espace pour la vie/Raymond Jalbert
Visitors to the Botanical Garden
  • Visitors to the Botanical Garden
  • Visitors to the Biodome
  • On the Biosphere's belvedere
  • In the Insectarium Dome
  • Planétarium

Protecting biodiversity and the environment is at the heart of the mission of Espace pour la vie, which is made up of the Biodôme, Biosphère, Insectarium, Jardin botanique and Planétarium de Montréal. Together, these museums located in Montréal form Canada’s largest natural science museum complex, welcoming over 2.2 million visitors each year. In view of the challenges our planet is facing, Espace pour la vie is working to increase its impact by fostering dialogue with communities and taking actions aimed at mobilizing the public behind the socio-ecological transition. 

Mobilizing for a Successful Socio-Ecological Transition

Space for Life applies sustainable development principles and safeguards biodiversity in all its activities. Through its public programming and focus on exemplary management practices, it strives to bring members of the public closer to nature, inspire them and encourage them to adopt behaviours that facilitate the ongoing socio-ecological transition.

At the general public and community levels, Espace pour la vie seeks to engage individuals and communities. Making the social-ecological transition a success depends on rallying as many people and organizations as possible to the cause so that we can take collective action. To that end, Espace pour la vie rolls out numerous community-based programs and projects at the local, national and international levels.

At the same time, Espace pour la vie researchers are working in close collaboration with universities, governments and associations to find innovative solutions to environmental issues. Whether it’s conserving local or foreign species, determining the impact of light pollution on biodiversity or using phytotechnology to decontaminate soils, our experts are part of the scientific community’s collective efforts to preserve nature.

A unique spot for education and learning

Since 1938, Youth Gardens activities have been introducing children to gardening and to healthy lifestyles. Eighty years later, Space for Life is still offering an ideal setting for youngsters by the thousand to develop their potential.

Every year, close to 400,000 children, accompanied by their parents, visit our various institutions. We welcome approximately 100,000 students in various educational settings. Many classes choose to further their learning by participating in one of our 50 educator-led activities.
And every summer, more than 500 children sign up for our Montréal Space for life Day camps to discover ecology, entomology, astronomy, environment and botany in a playful way.

Specialized teaching, rich in experiences

Located in the Jardin botanique, the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale affiliated with Université de Montréal offers  undergraduate- and graduate-level university programs. The researchers from the Jardin botanique de Montréal collaborate closely with the Institute in research projects and as associate professors.

The École des métiers de l’horticulture from the Centre de services scolaire de Montréal is also located at the Jardin botanique and trains the next generation of horticultural professionals.

A knowledge sharing role

Space for Life plays a leading role through the dissemination of its knowledge and its expertise. It is a credible reference for the general public, teachers, journalists and scientists and is at the forefront of scientific popularization at several levels:

  • in the media, which regularly solicit the opinion of our experts;
  • on the web, with over 7 000 pages of documentation that can be consulted for free;
  • in scientific journals where research work is published.

A research hub

Some 300 people are engaged or are collaborating in scientific research at Espace pour la vie’s five institutions, raising its national and international profiles in the fields of astronomy, biology, entomology, ecology and the environment.

A springboard for participatory science

For several years, Espace pour la vie has been setting up participatory science programs where citizens can play an active role in research and conservation projects by sharing their observations. They play an essential role by collecting data that help researchers advance their research.

Space for Life's participatory science programs:

- Biodiversity Challenge

- Mission Monarch

- The Chorus Frog Ambassadors Program

- Project FRIPON/DOMe on Meteorites

- Nunavik sentinels

- SEM’AIL (from 1999 to 2022)

Invaluable collaborations on an international scale

Over the years, through its research activities and programs, Space for Life has developed a rich network of partners that fuel one another with their learning and knowledge. These are:

  • American Public Gardens Association (APGA), United States
  • Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)
  • Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC)
  • Association des planétariums de langue française (APLF), France
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), United States
  • United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada
  • Cornell University, United States
  • Harvard University and Arnold Arboretum, United States
  • International Planetarium Society (IPS), United States
  • Muséum national d’histoire naturelle de Paris, France
  • University of Florence, Italy

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