Esplanade Tranquille's new rooftop market garden is open for a greener Quartier des Spectacles

Press release | For immediate release

Montreal, May 10, 20233 – Today the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership is inaugurating a market garden on the roof of the Esplanade Tranquille pavilion, in collaboration with the Laboratoire d’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB) and the Ville de Montréal. The new green rooftop is the final step in the launch of Esplanade Tranquille, and it is part of a series of actions aimed at greening the Quartier des Spectacles as whole. The 7,000 sq. ft. rooftop garden will be shared by three urban agriculture start-ups. Until 2024, the space will be cultivated by Biome, Emporium Safran Québec and Fleurs en Ville.

Designed to help achieve sustainability goals and unique for operating year-round, Esplanade Tranquille’s rooftop garden is a space where urban agriculture companies can experiment. Produce will be distributed through local markets such as Le Beau Marché or the Marché des éclusiers in Old Montreal, as well as several restaurants in the Quartier, including Galaxie Brasserie, Restaurant Zinzin, Morso and Pintxo. At the end of the summer of 2022, bouquets of leafy greens were also given away to Esplanade Tranquille visitors.

“Esplanade Tranquille’s rooftop market garden is another step toward a greener downtown and a city adapting to climate change. As the final phase in Esplanade Tranquille’s development – following the skating rink, inaugurated in February 2022 – we are delighted to see this urban public space take shape at a human scale. It is a citizen-centred space that adapts as the seasons change. The rooftop market garden is an important step in building our city’s circular and social economy, made possible by the active participation of committed organizations,” said Valérie Plante, mayor of Montreal.

“We are delighted to be opening the market garden on the roof of the Esplanade Tranquille pavilion. It is a wonderful highlight of the Esplanade, which Montrealers have so eagerly embraced. The rooftop garden also allows us to play an increasingly active role in greening the downtown core and mitigating heat islands,” said Monique Simard, chair of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership’s board of directors.

Building expertise through a partnership with AU/LAB

AU/LAB, which partnered with the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership at the beginning of the rooftop garden project, will operate the facility. As one of AU/LAB’s incubators, the site is a showcase for the organization’s technical and technological experimentation and research on rooftop agriculture.

“Montreal’s dynamic urban agriculture movement is internationally renowned. Created in close collaboration with the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, Esplanade Tranquille’s rooftop market garden is not only a place for experimentation and incubation, it is also a showcase for Montreal’s expertise in cultivating certain products, and supports the emergence of an urban agriculture ecosystem in the heart of downtown,” said Éric Duchemin, director of science and training at the Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB).

Fertile ground, cultivated year-round by three producers

The urban agriculture companies Biome, Fleurs en Ville and Emporium Safran Québec will take turns cultivating the rooftop garden, using a production calendar geared to their respective specialties. In the fall, Fleurs en Ville (Paola Saavedra) will plant its tulip bulbs, which will bloom in the springtime. Then, Biome (Stephan Senghor) will take over to grow vegetables, aromatics, herbs, fruits and edible flowers. Lastly, at the end of the summer Emporium Safran Québec (Micheline Sylvestre) will take over the site and harvest its saffron (crocus pistils) in October.

The companies were chosen following a call for proposals issued by the business networking and incubation program MontréalCulteurs, an initiative of AU/LAB. The market garden products can be found in a dozen sales outlets throughout the city.


Starting in the spring of 2023, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership is involved in a series of activities aimed at greening the entire district. In order to mitigate the impacts of climatic warming and improve the quality of visitors’ experience in the Quartier des Spectacles, the district’s urban amenities and cultural offerings have been designed, in collaboration with urban ecology experts, to integrate greening into all activities.

In keeping with the Partnership’s 2022-26 strategic plan, the triennial greening plan is being implemented through initiatives aimed at increasing vegetation cover in public spaces, supporting university research and producing cultural programming. These actions have multiple goals: reducing heat islands, increasing available shade, improving air quality and developing expertise in urban greening, all accompanied by awareness-raising activities for the public.

For the last decade, the Partnership has made urban agriculture a central theme of Les Jardins Gamelin and has included workshops and talks in its programming. The initiatives became more prominent starting in 2020, when greening started playing an increasingly important role in the Partnership’s activities.

To learn more about the greening plan, see the press kit


The Quartier des Spectacles is 20 years old! The Quartier des Spectacles is Montréal’s cultural heart, boasting North America’s most concentrated and diverse group of cultural venues as well as numerous festivals and events. The Quartier also hosts innovative urban installations involving cutting-edge lighting design and immersive environments. The Quartier des Spectacles has become an international showcase for digital public art.

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, founded in 2003, is a non-profit organization with more than 85 members active in the district. It is responsible for animating the Quartier des Spectacles by programming cultural activities, managing and animating public spaces, providing distinctive illumination and promoting the Quartier as a must-visit cultural destination. The Partnership benefits from the support of the Ville de Montréal. 

More information:


The Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB) is a laboratory for research, training, innovation and action in urban agriculture. AU/LAB is a non-profit organization that encourages the emergence of urban agriculture initiatives with the aim of developing a sustainable food system and a circular economy. Since its inception in 2009, its multidisciplinary team has documented, supported and activated innovation in urban agriculture by working with municipalities, organizations and companies and by creating knowledge-transfer programs.

More information:

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Mélanie Mingotaud
Communications Mingotwo  
514 582-5272   


Quartier des Spectacles Partnership
Marie Lamoureux
514 812‑2193