After a two-year revamp, new and improved Montreal Biodome set to reopen just before the fall
MONTREAL -- Montrealers who've missed hanging out with the city’s resident sloth will be happy to know that after two years of renovations, the Biodome is scheduled to reopen at the end of August.
The wildlife centre had been closed for a $37-million architectural revamp that has added "something new in each of the five ecosystems," according to Espace pour la vie, the body that also oversees the city’s Planetarium, Insectarium and Botanical Gardens.
In the Tropical Rainforest, visitors can benefit from a new treetop view that was "virtually invisible until now." The Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the other hand, is now home to new walkways, and there’s a new perspective of the lynx habitat over in the Laurentian Maple Forest. In the Sub-Antarctic Islands, where all the penguins waddle around, there's a new tunnel and a wall of ice.
Canadian Lynx, Claude Lafond, Espace pour la vie
"To make the experience even more immersive and multisensory, the designers have rethought every aspect, including access to the ecosystems: you'll hear and smell before you enter and see," said Espace pour la vie, who organized the "Biodome Migration Project" alongside the city of Montreal. The project was a competition, awarded to KANVA, an architect collective, Bouthillette Parizeau, an engineering firm, and NCK Inc, an engineering consultant firm.
Biodome mezzanine, Marc Cramer, Espace pour la vie
In addition to switching up the ecosystems, the Biodome has also updated how it educates visitors – instead of the traditional informational panels located throughout the centre, people are now able to download a mobile app for their phone which Espace pour la vie says gives users "the impression of being immersed in nature."
"After more than two years of work, we have our Biodome back—more beautiful, more relevant and more informative than ever," Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said in a statement. "Thirty years after it opened, the Biodome is still playing a leading role in showcasing our ecosystems and reminding us just how fragile and invaluable biodiversity is."
Espace pour la vie said visitors will now be able to learn more about what Biodome employees do behind the scenes to take care of the animals who live there.
New mobile app designed to enhance the visitor experience at the Montreal Biodome. Mathieu Rivard, Espace pour la vie
"One way to rally people around (the importance of biodiversity) is to show, concretely, what (it) is and what it provides us with on a daily basis. And that's exactly what the Biodôme does," Plante added.
Espace pour la vie's executive director, Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, said the Biodome revamp is more than just a material update.
"It's a migration in our way of viewing our relationship with nature," he said. "The current pandemic is showing us, once again, just how much we need nature, but also to what degree we have become disconnected from it. Reconnecting with nature, appreciating it, and getting to know and understand it better are the first steps in what is becoming a crucial movement to protect it."
New treetop view at the Montreal Biodome. Mathieu Rivard, Espace pour la vie
The site is set to reopen on Aug. 31 and visitors are being asked to purchase timed tickets online to explore at their own pace due to COVID-19. As in all other closed public spaces across Quebec, visitors must wear a mask.