Palais des congrès de Montréal expands its green roof
After debuting to international recognition in 2011 at the Écocité global summit, the Palais des congrès de Montréal’s green roof became an important showcase and testing ground for urban agriculture in Québec, with innovative projects led by the team at the Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB), including Éric Duchemin, science director, and Noémie Roy, crop manager.
Since then, numerous improvements have been made through renovations, including adding an optimized drainage system, installing a new roof lining specially designed for green roofs and opening the site to all visitors. With an additional surface area of 15,000 square feet
and an improved irrigation system, the green roof is now the ideal setting to host new projects and promote Montréal as a research hub for urban agriculture. It also serves as a showcase to help expand the green roof concept across Montréal and Québec.
For the new green roof’s inaugural season, work has primarily focused on prepping the soil, which has been treated with green fertilizers and strategically irrigated via an artificial intelligence system to provide optimal growth conditions. Honey plants have also been planted, and a new beehive has been brought in by Alvéole along with 50,000 bees. This initiative not only helps protect the environment, but also provides a habitat for native insects.
In addition to research in urban agriculture, the green roof is also home to a social project led by Duchemin: a partnership with the community organization Centre social d’aide aux immigrants (CSAI) to supply vegetables from the roof to refugees at the Maison Marie-Gérin-Lajoie. Every Monday, refugees and migrants help look after the garden and pick vegetables to take with them. This initiative keeps the green roof in top condition, while also letting newcomers discover new varieties and find familiar vegetables that remind them of their native soil. It also helps them meet new people and overcome their isolation. In total, some 100 refugees and migrants will benefit from the project this year.
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