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Official Opening of First Station on Espace

pour la vie’s Pathway to Phytotechnologies
by Judith Dubeau
August 27, 2019

Official Opening of First Station on Espace pour la vie’s Pathway to Phytotechnologies

As part of the restoration and development of the Aquatic Garden, nestled in the midst of the Jardin botanique, Espace pour la vie and its Foundation take great pride today in officially opening the very first station on the Pathway to Phytotechnologies: Filtering Marshes.

The Ville de Montréal and the Space for Life Foundation have worked together to build the Pathway to Phytotechnologies to demonstrate the importance of developing clean, efficient alternative ways to reduce water, soil, air and noise pollution.

The first of what will eventually be seven stations, the Filtering Marshes are a key feature of the plan to rehabilitate and redevelop the Aquatic Garden. Residue-laden water is purified in two filtering marshes that complement each other—one with a horizontal flow and the other vertical—before being returned to the plant collection basins and, from time to time, to the ornamental flower beds.

“This wonderful project fits perfectly into the Ville de Montréal’s Resilient City Strategy, as well as our vision for promoting advanced technologies to solve various environmental problems faced by companies, cities, industries and even citizens. We are very pleased to support the one-of-a-kind expertise being developed by researchers at the Jardin botanique and the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale (IRBV),” said Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, who represents Espace pour la vie on the Ville de Montréal’s Executive Committee.

“I would particularly like to thank RBC Royal Bank and the Québec Mining Association for their generous contribution of $400,000 to the Filtering Marshes station, as well as the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation for its investment of $500,000 in the educational component of the Pathway and toward other Espace pour la vie citizen projects,” said Pierre B. Meunier, president and chairman of the Space for Life Foundation. “At this time of enormous environmental challenges, support for Espace pour la vie’s research and educational activities is more important than ever,” he added.

The Aquatic Garden, designed and built in 1938 under the supervision of Henry Teuscher, had never undergone a true restoration. Despite constant maintenance, it really needed work. In 2017, a rehabilitation proposal was drawn up to renovate it and add a new central basin, taking into account the original heritage plan and Espace pour la vie’s new sustainable development approach. A key feature of this major restoration is the addition of a central basin with heated water to accommodate young Victoria ‘Longwood Hybrid’ plants, a cross between Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziana, originally developed at the famous Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia.


In the spring of 2017, Espace pour la vie began an ambitious project at the Jardin botanique involving seven stations that will use thousands of living plants to help solve a number of environmental problems. The Pathway to Phytotechnologies will serve to treat runoff, reduce the heat-island effect of its parking lot, stabilize pond banks, reduce the impact of city noise and decontaminate soil.


Espace pour la vie is made up of four attractions on the same site: the Biodôme, Insectarium, Jardin botanique and Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. These four prestigious municipal institutions form Canada’s largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement in favour of biodiversity, encouraging all of us to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.


The Space for Life Foundation is an independent public foundation whose mission is to raise funds from corporations and philanthropists for the benefit of Space for Life. Since it was established in 1999, the Foundation has contributed over $10 million to the innovative projects of Space for Life’s four major institutions.

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