What citizen among us is not concerned with the changes generated by GEOs, SARS and pollution? How can we promote biodiversity, sustainable development, and other such endeavours?
Concerned with contributing to the dissemination of scientific culture, the Space for Life Foundation helps the Montréal Space for Life-the Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Planetarium-to carry out their common, unique mission: to familiarize current and future generations with the natural sciences, to develop their interest in these sciences and in nature, and to enhance their knowledge.
These four scientific institutions-pioneers in scientific education constituting the largest museum assembly in Canada-are at the leading edge of natural discovery. They share their creativity and unique skills with many students of all ages, providing them with unique experiences while promoting the acquisition of renewed knowledge.
Air Liquide invites you to slow down and breathe
9 stations – 9 vital functions
Work is currently underway on this project, to be launched in spring 2013.
It was made possible by funding from the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications et de la condition féminine du Québec and Air Liquide.
At the Biodôme
A new Polar World
The polar regions are very important for our planet and, unfortunately, the first ones to feel the impact of climate change. The Biodôme has developed considerable expertise in caring for and breeding waterfowl in this ecosystem, and would like to integrate more diversity, by adding some small Arctic mammals, among other features. The Polar World at the Biodôme deserves to be rearranged and made more complex, so as to immerse visitors even more in the habitats and help them understand the rich diversity there and the threats facing it.
- To maximize awareness of how biodiversity is threatened in the polar world, the Biodôme must update its Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems.
The Biodôme by Night
This activity is now presented during spring break every year. Visitors can tour the Biodôme’s ecosystems by a bluish light similar to moonlight, and see many species of nocturnal animals as they move around at night. The activity is very popular, and the Biodôme would like to enhance it. In addition, with this special bluish light, the Biodôme could easily be used as a prestigious setting for gala evenings, and reach a new clientele.
- To enhance this activity, the Biodôme will need to review its presentation and interpretation so as to attract more visitors.
At the Insectarium
Discovery Zone: a plant biodiversity maze
The Botanical Garden and the Insectarium have jointly developed plans for a large play space and thematic garden for children and families, in the area around the Insectarium. The plant biodiversity maze is a unique idea – fun, attractive and educational all at once. The goal is to offer our young visitors ages 8 to 12, and their families, an outdoor theme exhibition where they can run around, have fun and learn some basics of plant biodiversity.
- To make young people aware of the importance of plant biodiversity, the Insectarium has to complete its planned Discovery Zone by adding this plant maze.
Reception and activity spaces
The Insectarium is always a favourite children. So as to better handle this clientele and renew its visitors’ experience, many changes have to be made to the layout of the museum. This new space will be used to welcome school groups, families and amateur and scientific entomological societies. Visitors have been asking for this kind of improvement for 18 years.
- To offer a space better suited to all its clienteles and handle its many visitors, the Insectarium must modernize its layout.
Collection renewal fund
The Insectarium’s collections are central to visitors’ experience (400,000 visitors/year and 200,000 for travelling exhibitions). Our collections are divided into two categories. The scientific collection (140,000 specimens) is used for research, while the exhibition collection (20,000 specimens) is used for educating the general public. The scientific collection is growing thanks to donations, but the number of insects for display purposes has declined substantially since the institution opened in 1990.
- To maintain its reputation for excellence and innovation as a museum of entomology, the Insectarium must renew its exhibition collection.
At the Botanical Garden
Thanks to the diversity and beauty of its collections, the Garden is also a popular setting for public and private events in conjunction with conferences, congresses and so on. The Botanical Garden also has a desperate need for a space where it can host short-term exhibitions such as the annual exhibitions organized by its partner organizations. In fact, the Garden has to turn away many such requests every month because of a shortage of space. The new glass pavilion will be used mainly to host events attracting a wide variety of visitors.
- To host one-time, short-term gardening and other events, the Botanical Garden needs a new space attached to the greenhouse complex.
Since 1938, over 17,000 young Montrealers have taken part in this program. Different projects have been tested and adopted to integrate young people with special needs. Autistic children, Down’s syndrome children or others with learning disabilities, pairs of grandparents and grandchildren and elderly gardeners have come to share and help out, fitting naturally into the groups. After 70 years, we need to build on our past success and improve the services offered for children, by providing them with a learning-oriented environment. Moving the Youth Gardens close to the Louis Dupire greenhouses means completely upgrading a site to make it better suited to the Youth Gardens. .
- To do a better job of meeting children’s needs, we must be able to spark their interest in plants while teaching them to respect the environment and adding to their knowledge in certain fields.
The Shrub Garden was one of the first at the Botanical Garden, dating back to the 1930s and 1940s. Over the past 25 years, the proportion of ornamental shrubs has exploded in comparison with pure species, and it now seems that a new concept is needed in order to present this collection properly. Having the shrubs arranged by their flowering times and seasonal attractions will help visitors learn more about the different types of shrubs and plant screens.
- To present its “plant screens” formed of shrubs with their own specific characteristics and encourage people to use them in their own plantings, the Botanical Garden must restore its Shrub Garden.
Lighting for the exhibition greenhouses
Since the greenhouses were built in the late 1950s, they have welcomed millions of visitors. However, the plant treasures they contain suffer from a lack of light for much of the year. It is difficult to properly appreciate these rich collections in the evening or even in late afternoon and on cloudy winter days. This project aims to equip seven exhibition greenhouses with powerful lighting systems in keeping with the standards of the energy-saving program in effect at Montréal Space for Life.
- To make it possible to keep the greenhouses open longer in the evening and run nighttime programs at certain times of the year, the Botanical Garden must equip its seven greenhouses with a proper lighting system.
A universally accessible route
The Botanical Garden already meets recognized standards for access for disabled visitors and offers wheelchairs. In addition, it has the Courtyard of the Senses, a unique experience. The Courtyard of the Senses does not necessarily meet traditional garden design criteria, because rather than being a visual experience it is meant to be explored with the senses, with its soft, sharp, rough and sticky textures. We would like to continue improving accessibility for disabled visitors, so that all can enjoy their visit, regardless of age and physical condition. The existing paths leading to the Garden’s major attractions must be enhanced to reduce obstacles still further. This universally accessible path will be adapted to visitors wishing to take a short and well-marked tour of the main attractions.
- To make sure that all visitors feel welcome, valued and respected regardless of physical ability, the Botanical Garden must upgrade its main paths to ensure that disabled visitors can enjoy their time here as much as anyone else.
For the Foundation
An endowment fund
An endowment fund will give the Foundation access to long-term investment funds for development. Over the years, the income from the endowment fund can be used for specific projects. First of all, it is essential to make sure that the Foundation has a stable source of funding to allow it to carry out its mission properly. Secondly, it is crucial that the Museums be able to expand their collections, to remain leaders in their respective fields and offer quality exhibitions for visitors. The endowment fund could be created to honour a donor, a family member or another highly regarded individual.
- To maintain and enhance the credibility of the Montréal Space for Life itself, and give the Foundation more room to manoeuvre, it is important that it have an endowment fund.