The Palais des congrès de Montréal is launching an Urban Agriculture Lab to showcase the technology and techniques used in urban farming in Quebec. This innovative project, which promotes the greening of the roof of the Palais through an experiment in sustainable development, makes it possible to add another purpose for its 31,500 square feet of roof space.
In collaboration with AU/LAB, a laboratory associated with the Institut des sciences de l’environnement of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and La ligne verte, the Palais is simultaneously launching the most recent phase of the greening of its rooftops, the VERTical project, with 6,000 square feet of space. This innovative urban farming project is characterized by free-standing vertical structures that make it possible, among other things, to test various natural and synthetic tarps, to contribute to the fight against heat islands, and to increase the density of garden production. Herbs, leafy vegetables, strawberries and edible flowers are on the menu for the first year of experimentation.
The VERTical project has received financial support from the Réseau d’Investissement Social du Québec, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec, the Arrondissement de Ville-Marie, the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins and from PME MTL Centre-Ville.
“The major VERTical project, a first in North America, will be an opportunity to test various technologies and techniques while allowing the Palais to become the principal showcase of vertical farming. It will also enable Montréal to shine at the international level as a destination that is committed to sustainable development,” states Jean-Philippe Vermette, co-founder of AU/LAB, a laboratory associated with the Institut des sciences de l’environnement of UQAM and associate professor.
Raymond Larivée, CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal, states: “We’re very proud to play a leadership role in sustainable development in the industry and in the community by deploying concrete actions.” He adds: “By becoming a showcase of experimentation and promotion of technologies and techniques in urban farming in Québec, the Palais contributes to the reduction of heat islands while proudly participating in the promotion of Montréal as an international city that is actively engaged in sustainable urban development.”
Thus, the Urban Agriculture Lab of the Palais now comprises:
- Culti-VERT, the project showcasing green roof technologies and techniques for vegetable gardening in containers which make it possible to grow flowers, plants, fruits and vegetables including species aimed at protecting the plant heritage as well as hops that will be part of the project to brew a special beer to celebrate Montréal’s 375th anniversary. This project is possible thanks to the collaboration of Antoine Trottier from La ligne verte and Maxine Dufresne, horticultural consultant.
- Three (3) bee hives that contribute to the pollination of the VERTical and Culti-VERT projects, in collaboration with Miel Montréal.
- VERTical, the urban farming project that presents a new vertical-agriculture technology using free-standing structures equipped with experimental tarps.
In addition, the Terrasse du Palais, a 31,500 square foot space for holding major events at the Palais, was unveiled in 2010.
The projects realized by the Urban Agriculture Lab of the Palais des congrès de Montréal aim specifically to:
- Participate in reducing the urban heat islands and improving the quality of the air in Montréal’s downtown area.
- Encourage industry and property owners to take action in matters of greening their rooftops.
- Contribute to promoting Montréal at the international level as a city actively engaged in sustainable development.
- Allow Palais visitors as well as residents of La Maison du Père to enjoy the produce harvested in collaboration with Capital Catering, the exclusive provider of the Palais.
Unveiling in September
During the summer of 2016, installation and planting are taking place, with the unveiling of the VERTical project scheduled for September 2016.
A certified Palais
In addition to holding BOMA BEST environmental certification, the Palais des congrès de Montréal is also certified by iCompli Sustainability in accordance with the ASTM 2015 – Venue Level 1 standard. The ASTM-APEX standard is the first in North America to establish performance criteria relative to sustainable practices and responsible management systems for tourism stakeholders of the convention sector.