The “Virage du Campus MIL”
The Virage du Campus MIL, nestled at the crossroads of Outremont, de Parc-Extension, Rosemont and Mile-Ex, is a secret 1.5 ha oasis in the shadow of the construction site where the new Université de Montréal science campus is being built.
Its mission? To bring Montrealers and the academic sector closer together.
“We want to break the effect of the Université de Montréal and its ivory tower atop the mountain,” said Alexandre Beaudoin, biodiversity advisor for the Unité du développement durable de l’Université de Montréal (UDD).
“Here, we have Mount Real, a project to bring people together that offers a superb viewpoint of the city. Mount Real was thought up by German architect Alexander Römer and designed by ConstructLab,” said Beaudoin.
As soon as you enter the site’s entrance pavilion, which is built in containers that recall the railway heritage of this former switching yard, you’re sure to be surprised by the quantity of plants growing in a site that was formerly surrounded by dust and rocks.
“We have several community gardens where everyone can come to learn more about urban agriculture, while all the trees near the entrance belong to the Société de verdissement du Montréal métropolitain (SOVERDI), one of the partners that has worked with us since the project began in 2015,” said Beaudoin.
“Kids from Montréal elementary schools collected seeds in the Parc du Mont-Royal, prepared the seedlings, and took care of the baby plants until these trees ended up in our nursery,” the biodiversity advisor added.
This project by Seeds of the Future, which was carried out by Les Amis de la montagne, looks just like Virage: educational, useful and unifying.
“We are responsible for redesigning our cities – managing rainwater and heat islands, for example. With this program for residents, we are reaching out to them and hoping that they will be empowered to take over the space – and their city,” said Beaudoin.
Useful and fun
Residents can also learn to understand and act through watching noteworthy documentaries, participating in apiculture workshops and workshops on urban gardening and presenting lectures by renowned guests such as Chris Reed on urban planning, Pierre Thibault on Québec’s future schools and Thomas Mulcair on the right to live in a healthy environment.
“We also offer classes linked to the Université de Montréal development centre, like the urban agriculture summer school, which involves more than 40 hours of training and community gardening led by a horticultural facilitator,” said Beaudoin.
Around 15 partners are now involved in the Virage du Campus MIL adventure, all of them key players in their communities. The Virage site is accessible every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit the Facebook page for a complete schedule of events for 2018: www.facebook.com/leviragemtl (in French)
“We invite people – and their kids, and their dogs – just to come and hang out here with their lunch or their laptop. Make yourself at home!” said Beaudoin.
It’s a date, at the corner of Avenue Durocher and Avenue Atlantic!