Palais des congrès de Montréal expands its green roof
September 11, 2023
By Canadian Consulting Engineer
The building has re-opened its green roof after a year of renovations, with a major expansion to its urban agriculture and research facilities.
After a year of renovations, the Palais des congrès de Montréal has announced the re-opening of its green roof, with a major expansion to its urban agriculture and research facilities.
With a surface area of 35,000 square feet (3,250 square meters), the initiative reflects the Palais’ ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable practices and a greener Montréal.
After debuting to international recognition in 2011 at the Écocité global summit, the Palais’ green roof became an important showcase and testing ground for urban agriculture in Québec in 2016, with projects led by the team at the Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB), including Éric Duchemin, science director, and Noémie Roy, crop manager.
Numerous improvements were made during the renovations, adding an optimised drainage system, installing a new roof lining specially designed for green roofs, and opening the site to all visitors. The green roof also has an additional surface area of 15,000 square feet (1,400 square meters).
For the new green roof’s inaugural season, work has primarily focused on prepping the soil, which has been treated with green fertilizers to increase fertility and strategically irrigated via an artificial intelligence system to provide optimal growth conditions. Honey plants have also been specially planted, along with 50,000 bees from a new beehive brought in by Alvéole.
In addition to research in urban agriculture, the green roof is also home to a social project led by Éric 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 one hundred refugees and migrants will benefit from the project this year.
For this inaugural season, AU/LAB is also offering a community garden pilot project for Palais staff. Ten plots totalling 3 square meters have been given to ten aspiring gardeners to grow their own fresh food and add some greenery to their workplace, while receiving valuable, professional advice from the AU/LAB team.