HURRY UP AND SLOW DOWN! In 2014, the Montréal Space for Life Invites You to Take Your Time

MONTRÉAL, March 17, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Wouldn't you love to slow the clock for a while? Just take your time? At the Montréal Space for Life, we're stretching the year out over six seasons, so that you can get more out of nature and rediscover the joys of relaxation. We've planned all our activities around this new relationship with time and nature, offering four new and highly original attractions that invite visitors to ease up and think about how important it is to take their time. The Arts Put on a Show at the Garden and enhance the different blooms throughout the summer. Nature's Slowpokes brings you nose to nose with the sloths at the Biodôme. Musical Siestas and Les Escales Sonores, "sound stopovers," are a chance to stop for a while and forget your daily cares in the heart of the Insectarium gardens. And Vertigo takes you on a wonder-filled voyage through time at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium.

"We are delighted to announce, for the first time, an annual program of activities that reflects the synergy and connection between our institutions with a mosaic of experiences that will transform our relationship with nature … slooowly. This year, we're also welcoming the input and inspiration of five Montréal creators by giving them an opportunity to put their inventiveness to work and offer us four new and highly original attractions. We're also pushing our vision of Science, Art and Emotion even further, as we head toward Montréal's 375th anniversary," says Space for Life Executive Director Charles-Mathieu Brunelle.

" By moving from the infinitely small to the infinitely large, Espace pour la vie changes our relationship with nature and is instrumental in raising consciousness. The 2014 program features surprising and inspiring discoveries. I invite Montrealers to discover this great science facility ", said Manon Gauthier, Montréal Executive Committee member responsible for culture, heritage, design, Space for Life and the status of women.

The Arts Put on a Show at the Garden
Every Sunday at the Botanical Garden, from May 18 to August 31, poets, painters, musicians, storytellers and dancers will be visiting gardens in bloom and revealing each garden's special charms.  People can take a seat in the comfortable Adirondack chairs and listen to a string quartet among the lilacs, romantic poetry in the garden next to the Flowery Brook, storytellers in the Leslie Hancock Garden or musicians in boats on the ponds, or watch tango dancers in the Rose Garden. "Art blossoms in a setting that heightens our senses so that we can appreciate the way that time slows down. This marriage of nature, art and visitors will create moments of pure enchantment and amazement," says Charles Dauphinais, artistic director for the summer activities at the Garden. There will also be some big names performing in the Centre Stage series: Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà, on May 18; Michel Faubert, on July 27; Marie-Josée Lord, on August 3; and Pierre Lapointe, on August 31.

Nature's Slowpokes in the spotlight at the Biodôme
From June 7 to October 26, the Biodôme will be paying tribute to Nature's Slowpokes. Visitors will have a chance to linger along a path leading from the entrance all the way to an all-new habitat, a sort of artistic installation inspired by sloths' natural surroundings. This soothing space lends itself to relaxation and offers a great view of different animal species that are true champions of indolence, including four two-toed sloths and a number of iguanas and tortoises. The tour continues with several stops in the heart of the ecosystems, to add to the sensory pleasures. Farther on, in the amphitheatre, visitors can play along as a conductor transforms animal sounds into a surprising collective musical creation. Marie-Claire Lagacé, designer and artistic director of the event, hopes that "visitors of all ages will come to appreciate the joys of slowing down and leave the experience with a sense of calm and smiles on their faces."

Musical Siestas and Les Escales Sonores at the Insectarium
Every Saturday afternoon from June 21 to August 30, it's Musical Siesta time right next to the Insectarium, beneath the boughs or comfortably seated in the middle of the butterfly gardens. To the sound of a very different kind of music, visitors can relax as they disconnect from the whirlwind of the outside world and connect to nature's tranquility. Starting in August, it's Les Escales Sonores, "musical stopovers," four environments fashioned from materials like cork and fabric, inside which visitors can unwind to relaxing original musical compositions inspired by pollinating insects. As they stroll from one alcove to the next, they can learn about nectar-bearing plants and chill to the sounds of easy melodies. "We have created spaces where time has no meaning, far from our everyday cares, where we are invited to let go," says Sylvie Teste, Director of Les Escales Improbables de Montréal.

Vertigo and Coral: Rekindling Venus at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium
Since the dawn of time, people have been striving to control time, to speed it up or even stop it. But what is time, really? Vertigo, the second immersive show made especially for the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, is a total visual, musical and poetic experience examining our relationship with time. "Our main intention is to encourage viewers to weigh this constant sense of urgency and to question the nature of time," explain Jimmy Lakatos and Alexandre Burton, the show's designers. Scripted in collaboration with physicist Stéphane Durand and produced by Miguel Raymond, of Studio Fly, Vertigo invites audiences to think about time and sparks discussions about its mysteries.

For just a few days, from April 17 to 27, the Space for Life will be presenting an amazing Montréal premiere on the dome of the Chaos Theatre at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Coral: Rekindling Venus is a contemplative and immersive film by Australian artist Lynette Wallworth. Coral fluorescence is a fascinating, little-known phenomenon, putting on a thrilling show that makes us aware of everything that connects us to this precious living community beneath the ocean waves. Audiences will be gently rocked to a soothing soundtrack as they watch the spellbinding motions of these mysterious bioluminescent creatures.

New favourites and well-kept secrets
The Space for Life has all kinds of treasures dotted around its sites. Here are a few you won't want to miss throughout the year:

  • At the Biodôme, spring comes early! See the buds on the trees in the Laurentian Maple Forest in early March, and marvel at the 2,000 fish swimming in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 
  •  At the Botanical Garden, in summer, cover your eyes and take a guided tour of the Courtyard of the Senses. Touch, smell and even taste the plants. You can also renew your inner energy with the languorous rhythms of tai-chi and qigong every Sunday, from June 21 to September 1, at the Chinese Garden.
  • At the Insectarium this summer, you can taste fresh honey and build insect hotels. 
  •  At the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, look at the Sun through telescopes and admire an impressive collection of meteorites.

Throughout the six seasons, some essential attractions and old favourites
Over not four but six seasons, the Space for Life welcomes visitors to a series of unforgettable experiences.

  • Butterflies Go Free, until April 27, at the Botanical Garden: a colourful event featuring hundreds of lazily fluttering butterflies and moths, and the slow and always mysterious transformation of chrysalises.
  • Great Gardening Weekend, May 23 to 25, at the Botanical Garden: the one event gardeners never want to miss; the perfect chance to chat with experts and other avid gardeners.
  • Gardens of Light, September 5 to November 2, in the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden: a dream opportunity to see the lanterns at dusk and watch the spellbinding dance of light and shadow.
  • The Great Pumpkin Ball, October 3 to 31, at the Botanical Garden: admire the decorated cucurbitaceae and let their delightful orange faces reawaken the joys of childhood.

The Montréal Space for Life is made up of four attractions on the same site: the Botanical Garden, Biodôme, Insectarium and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. These four prestigious institutions form Canada's largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement, urging everyone to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.

For further information and to purchase tickets online, see our website: espacepourlavie.ca/seasons

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SOURCE Espace pour la vie

For further information: Karine Jalbert, Communications Co-ordinator, 514 872-1453 / 514 250-3230 (cell), karinejalbert@ville.montreal.qc.ca; IXION Communications / Judith Dubeau, 514 495-8176, judith.dubeau@ixioncommunications.com