Skip to main content

Montreal borough deciding what to do with 10,000 sunflowers

On the site where a munitions factory once stood during the Second World War, there is now a garden of 10,000 sunflowers.

The field in the Ahuntsic–Cartierville borough became a gathering place in an unlikely area.

Walking between the very tall sunflowers, Elena Di Stefano could not help but say, "It is an oasis in the middle of an urban setting!" while standing on one of the boardwalks that crisscross a huge patch of 10,000 sunflowers.

Pollinators, birds and people have been flocking to the area all summer.

Di Stefano works with the Société de Développement Commercial District Central (SDC District-Central) and said pollination is one of the key words. "We are pollinating our ideas," she said.

During the past four months, the area with tables, wi-fi, shelter and lighting has hosted community gatherings, work meetings and even paint nights among the blooms.

"We also had workshops where people could learn about all the properties of sunflowers and learn about heat islands," said Di Stefano.

The SDC aims to enrich this area north of Chabanel, which has long been an industrial wasteland.

A poster onsite shows the history in the region.

In 1942, a munitions factory was built in the area as part of Montreal Works.

That building was demolished in 2016, and Di Stefano said the future here will be different.

"District central has big plans, not just business-wise but ecology-wise," she said. "By 2040, we aim to be the greenest district in the Montreal area."

As autumn settles in, the sunflower season is waning, and the initiative will move onto the next step. Di Stefano said research and development will see what the stalks can be used for.

"Can they be used for urban furniture? Can the petals be used for dye or can we just open the field and let people pick the sunflowers they want?" she asked.

With 10,000 sunflowers to work with, there are plenty of options.

The sunflowers will be planted again in the same area next May, part of the five-year plan. Top Stories

Ontario doctors disciplined over Israel-Gaza protests

A number of doctors are facing scrutiny for publicizing their opinions on the Israel-Hamas war. Critics say expressing their political views could impact patient care, while others say that it is being used as an excuse for censorship.

'No concessions' St-Onge says in $100M a year news deal with Google

The Canadian government has reached a deal with Google over the Online News Act that will see the tech giant pay $100 million annually to publishers, and continue to allow access to Canadian news content on its platform. This comes after Google had threatened to block news on its platform when the contentious new rules come into effect next month.

Live updates

Live updates Hamas frees 10 Israeli women and children, 4 Thai nationals

Ten Israeli women and children and four Thai nationals held captive in Gaza were freed by Hamas, and Israel followed with the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners Thursday. It was the latest exchange of hostages for prisoners under a temporary cease-fire in the Gaza war. Two Russian-Israeli women were also freed by Hamas in a separate release.


opinion Don Martin: With Trudeau resignation fever rising, a Conservative nightmare appears

With speculation rising that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will follow his father's footsteps in the snow to a pre-election resignation, political columnist Don Martin focuses on one Liberal cabinet minister who's emerging as leadership material -- and who stands out as a fresh-faced contrast to the often 'angry and abrasive' leader of the Conservatives.

Stay Connected