MONTREAL, June 6, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - On June 19, the Montréal Biodôme, a Space for Life, celebrates its 20th birthday! A remarkable success story at every level, the Biodôme has attracted roughly 17.3 million visitors since it opened in 1992. It is the most visited paid tourist attraction in Montréal, but it is especially noteworthy for being the only institution in the world that brings together five entirely different ecosystems under the same roof. This is an accomplishment whose realization relied not only on complex technologies but also on settings as authentic as nature itself and on animal and plant collections that are highly varied and typical of each habitat. Added to these have been research work and a program of original and participatory educational activities for the general public and school groups. Twenty years later, the experience enjoyed by visitors remains without equal, placing them as it does in the very heart of nature and its extraordinary biodiversity.
Explains Rachel Léger, director of the Biodôme since 2006 and a member of the Biodôme's design team: "When we created the Biodôme, we wanted visitors to marvel at the beauty and diversity of habitats found in the Americas, with the goal of encouraging behaviours that are respectful of the environment. Twenty years later, we still rely on the effect of positive messages; we want people to keep hope alive and to take action, on however small a scale."
A house of life in constant evolution
Inspired by the Floralies, creation of the Biodôme resulted from the work of an international advisory committee, two of whose members were scientist-essayist Albert Jacquard and ecologist Pierre Dansereau. In 2012, this "house of life," a member of AZA and CAZA, continues to stand out for the quality of the environments that make it up, the imposing biodiversity that it houses, and the expertise that has developed there. The meticulous care that has gone into the faithful reproductions of living conditions typical of each ecosystem has produced habitats that foster the reproduction and propagation of species. Under the great glass roof, over 1,500 plant species and some 250 animal species consisting of about 4,500 individuals live and thrive - a true microcosm of the Americas. These animals benefit from natural-behaviour stimulation and enrichment programs inspired by the most recent developments in those fields, the purpose being to ensure their physical and psychological health. The Biodôme experts, with their passion and their knowledge, have made the institution an important international reference from both the scientific and ecological points of view.
Challenges for the future
The Biodôme has put its commitments to sustainable development in concrete form by integrating new, more efficient technologies at every level of its operations. As part of the energy-conservation program launched by this Space for Life, an open-circuit geothermal system has been installed, along with an energy-recovery system and energy-efficient lighting. These major innovations have been recognized with a number of distinctions and acknowledgements, on a national scale.
And now, in connection with the celebrations marking the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montréal, in 2017, the Biodôme will innovate once again by offering a brand new tour path for its facilities. A number of ideas are currently under consideration, including new observation points and an area focusing on the connection between humankind and nature. Because protection of biodiversity remains at the core of the Biodôme message - a message of hope and commitment!
For further information:
Nadine Fortin, Communications Coordinator
514 868-3053/ 514 250-7753