Green roofs take root in Montreal

Montréal is on its way to earning the designation of “agricultural zone”!

Who’d have figured? Montreal, this vast metropolis of skyscrapers, asphalt and concrete, with a population of two million and a road network that carries over a million vehicles a day, is on its way to earning the designation of “agricultural zone.”

This won’t happen tomorrow, of course, but considering the number of green roofs that are sprouting up on many of its buildings, this new appellation may not seem so far-fetched a few years down the road!

Palais des congrès

Inaugurated in 1983, the Palais des congrès de Montréal is now one of the world’s top-rated convention centres. It was shortlisted five times for the APEX World’s Best Congress Centre award, and, this spring, it announced it was going carbon neutral. The Palais is devoting significant efforts to reduce its environmental footprint to a minimum, and it hasobtained BOMA BEST certification, which recognizes excellence in environmental management.

In recent years, the Palais turned its roofs into urban farming spaces. In collaboration with AU/LAB (Urban Agriculture Laboratory), it developed Canada’s first rooftop vineyard. It also grows fruits, vegetables and herbs that are used in the dishes prepared for the Palais’ guestsand also donated to charitable organizations.

The rooftops are also home to several hives with a population of 50,000 bees that produce an average of 45 kg of honey per year.


The Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ) also partnered with AU/LAB to install a small vineyard on its roof, with some 20 vines on the 4th floor and another 40 on the 11th. They expect the grapes to be of sufficient quality to make wine within three years.

A vegetable garden has also sprung up on its roofs, which supplies the kitchen of the Institute’s restaurant. There are also two hives, whose honey is used in its pastry classes and restaurant. Not only that, but the ITHQ’s urban farming program is now part of the training given to future cooks, sommeliers and restaurant managers.

Promenade d’Iberville

The major rehabilitation of the former Alexandra Pieron the Port of Montreal’s Grand Quay is part of the City’s plan to give Montrealers better access to their river. Pedestrians are free to stroll along thelarge green roofof the Promenade d’Iberville, a landscaped marvel located on the roof of a cruise terminal, featuring a vast wooden terrace and over 30,000 flowering and aromatic plants. At one end of this garden roof is a green meadow that gently slopes down toward the river.

And atop many hotels

The green roof trend is spreading to hotels. Two stunning examples include the Hilton Bonaventure, with its magnificent rooftop garden on the 17th-floor roof, featuring a duck pond and streams running through it, and the Hôtel Monville, which has taken a colony of bees under its wing on the 20th floor.