Quebec Press Garden Tour 2003
Including Mosaiculture & Reford Gardens


Up and out by 8 to meet our guide again, Carole Lemaire and departure for the delightful bakery Boulangerie Premiere Moisson located in the Atwater Public Market. After a wonderful breakfast of lattes, fresh baguettes, pates, pastries and juice we had a chance to visit the market and pick up fresh fruit and other goodies. This market specializes in garden plants and flowers and is the most important retail market in Montreal with 18 horticultural growers. Thank you to Tourisme Quebec and Tourisme Montreal for this glorious start to the day!

Three minutes from the market, we boarded the boat to cruise on the Canal de Lachine. Paul-Emile Cadorette, responsible for interpretation services for Parks Canada gave us a very knowledgeable history of this very important canal. This canal in fact was the cradle of Canadian industry. As we sat in a lock waiting to go down to meet the water, he explained how this canal had huge companies like Redpath Sugar who set up in 1897. This canal was built in 1825 and in 1885 it underwent its last revision. It was built to bypass the rapids of the St. Lawrence River. It was closed in 1970 and opened again 2 years ago so this experience is very new to the City of Montreal. It is open to small craft only and in its first year saw 5,000 boats come through the 5 locks. It is 14.5 kms long with a 45 foot drop. We were in lock #3 and the gates alone weight in at 20 tons each. Speed is limited to 10 kms per hour to protect the environment. The canal is monitored for pollution and speed is monitored. Thank you to La croisiere du canal de Lachine and Parks Canada for this wonderful ride through history which also led us past the old CN Port Bridge that was a swing bridge and the Wellington Bridge which stood at 93’ high. Visit


We were now at Mosaicultures where Mireille Soucy met us. There were three guides that each took some of us around this fantastic exhibition called ‘ Myths and Legends of the World’. 30 countries presented 62 mosaicultures showcasing the imaginary realms of the planet’s greatest civilizations. Set right by the canal, in the old port of Montreal this was a delight to wander. Each display was so unique. Mosaiculture International Montreal 2000 was a first in the international annals of horticulture. One of the many innovations it introduced was the great International Mosaiculture Competition, overseen by the International Mosaiculture Committee made up of directors of the parks departments of some of the world’s great cities. In May 2002, Metropolis agreed to co-sponsor the event, making it the only activity of its kind supported by this major international association of the world’s major metropolises. The international jury will evaluate the pieces according to a number of criteria, and the winners in the major categories and the People’s Choice Award will be announced at a huge gala on October 3rd, 2003.

There was over 2 million spent on plants and 2 million spent on labour. Local producers were chosen first for plant material then they imported from outside. The first order was placed in December 2002.

This year is the last time that this prestigious competition will be held in Montreal for Shanghai and Boston will be hosting it in 2006 and 2009.

This is the year – if you have not made this a must see while it is here in Canada, do so before October 6th, 2003.

All three of our groups made it back in time to relax with a wonderful hot lunch right on the site. It was super. The lady behind Trevor Cole is Ms Lise Cormier, Director of the Parks, Gardens and Green Spaces Department of the City of Montreal, Executive Vice-President and CEO of Mosaiculture International Montreal and Chair of the International Mosaiculture Committee.

Thank you to Mosaiculture International Montreal 2003 for sharing this wonderful exhibit with us and providing a great meal! The exhibit is situated in the heart of old Montreal and is very easy to access. Visit their site at


That afternoon after returning to the hotel, I decided to walk around a bit and take a few pictures. There are a couple here of Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal, both an outside shot as well as the Notre-Dame du Sacre Coeur Chapel. The first Notre Dame Church was begun in 1672 by the Sulpician Order of Montreal. While the first church served a vital role in Montreal's Catholic community for many years, a growing population dictated that the church be expanded and enlarged several times throughout Montreal's history. By 1824, however, work was begun on the present day basilica under New York-based Irish architect James O'Donnell and the second Notre Dame church was completed in 1829 as one of the most sophisticated and beautiful examples of Neo-Gothic architectural style in all of Montreal. O'Donnell converted to Catholicism on his deathbed in order to be buried beneath the spectacular church that he so dearly loved. An enormous church with room for thousands of worshippers, the huge interior was judged to be inappropriate for wedding ceremonies, prompting the construction of the Chapelle du Sacre Coeur at the rear of the building in 1888. Known as the Wedding Chapel, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart has been the site of countless marriage ceremonies over the years.

Boasting a breath-taking decor designed by the architect Victor Bourgeau from 1872 to 1879, the Notre Dame Church was elevated to the status of a minor basilica on April 21st, 1981 during Pope John Paul II's visit to Montreal. Featuring a series of stained glass windows depicting scenes from throughout the history of Montreal by the renowned French stained-glass artist Francis Chigot, the Notre Dame Basilica is truly a marvel to behold. Other interesting features include a spectacular organ that was finished in 1991 by Casavant de Saint-Hyacinthe with nearly 7,000 individual pipes, as well as various intricately designed gold-leafs and sculptures throughout the basilica. The site of various classical concerts and solos, the Notre Dame Basilica is a major piece of Montreal history.

Also located just behind the Basilica is the oldest garden in North America, but more on that later.

Next are a couple of pictures of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal May 17th, 1642. For those of you interested, there is magic every evening with the lighting display throughout the historic city center. Many buildings, squares and streets are lit at night to show off the many details of their architecture. Many shops and restaurants are waiting to greet you as you enjoy your stroll. It was wonderful walking back from our bistro as everything was lit and at night it all takes on a new meaning…it makes you look up instead of just looking ahead…it’s magical! Visit


We met again on the patio of our hotel for drinks and nibbles courtesy of our Hotel. Then we were in for a very special treat as one of the priests, Msgr. Poirier came over to meet us and take us to the oldest garden in North America. While very sparse in planting material it made up for in history and trees. There were 69 trees planted in 1927 – 16 species, mostly chestnut and silver maple. 23 priests still live here in what is now a retirement home for them, but this garden has been going since 1685. You can see him bending down over the tomato plants. A wonderful and very happy gentleman who was proud to tell us about his gardens.

Then we were off to the Boris Bistro for some great music and food. It was not far from our hotel and the walk was refreshing. Thank you to Boris Bistro and Tourisme Montreal for providing this wonderful evening out for us. A lazy walk back to the hotel, looking up at the buildings that were lit was the perfect ending to this day. Visit




  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row