What used to be the city’s dump at the former Miron Quarry in Saint-Michel, is now being hailed by the city as “the most ambitious environmental rehabilitation project ever undertaken” in North America.

A portion of the new Frederic Back Park was inaugurated on Saturday, and although it no longer smells like a dump, the garbage is technically still there. 

The city built on top of the old landfill, trucking in 20,000 tons of soil to complete the job. 

“We hope to make this place something like Central Park, it's bigger than Mont Royal in fact,” said Laure Waridel of Equiterre. 

The park sits on 153 hectares of land, located near Highway 40 at the corner of Papineau Ave. and Cremazie East Blvd. 

In 2012 the site was supposed to be converted into a composting centre for Montreal but residents didn’t want the neighbourhood to continue to be a dumping ground. The plant was eventually moved to the east end of the city. 

At the new park, public art is on display, using some of the waste found in the landfill. 

Artistic bubbles around the park are actually covers for pipes that run gas from the underground waste over to a nearby plant that produces electricity. At night the spheres will turn phosphorescent. 

“Already the city itself is using that for its own buildings and TOHU is a good example of that,” said Mayor Denis Coderre. 

The project is financed by the city as part of Montreal’s 375th anniversary and came in under budget at $27.2 million.

The remainder of the park is expected to be open to the public in a few years, after renovation and landscaping work is complete.