Press release | For immediate release

Montreal, September 7, 2023 – The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, in collaboration with the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), is launching a project aimed at raising awareness of the benefits provided by urban trees by studying the 93 potted trees that the Partnership has placed throughout the Quartier.

Since the summer of 2020, the Partnership’s greening team has been enhancing the Quartier’s green amenities and collection of potted trees. Several different tree species are being used to beautify public spaces and improve visitors’ experience while providing valuable services such as heat island mitigation and air quality improvement. The project is part of the Quartier des Spectacles’ greening plan.

The new awareness-raising project is intended to improve the resilience of the Quartier as the climate changes and to build expertise on trees in planters. It is being run in collaboration with the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and the Centre d’écologie urbaine de Montréal (CEUM), with the financial support of the Fonds d’initiative et de rayonnement de la métropole (FIRM) and Tourisme Montréal. The initiative is connected to two research projects underway at UQAM, investigating the impact of the potted trees on the ecosystem and on human health and wellbeing respectively.


Sap-flow sensors have been installed on 21 of the 93 potted trees in the Quartier des Spectacles. By scanning QR codes located at the base of the 21 trees, the public can see real-time data revealing each tree’s overall condition, as well as its contributions to cooling the air and to eliminating gaseous pollutants. Visitors will also learn about the various tree species selected by the Quartier’s greening team.

Passers-by will see trees such as the Japanese tree lilac or the European rowan and learn whether the tree is thriving, dormant or in a protective mode. The data visualization tool also indicates the number of degrees of cooling provided and the number of milligrams of ozone filtered by the tree’s leaves. Finally, members of the public are invited to participate in labelling the trees by suggesting nicknames for them.

“We tend to think of the Quartier des Spectacles as a place for hosting cultural events, but it is also a living space. The Partnership wants to offer the public an opportunity to learn more about the essential functions performed by trees and to become more aware of their crucial role in our urban ecosystem,” said Émilie Chabot, director of strategic development and programming for the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.


The aim of the two UQAM research projects is to develop a scientific basis for improving the Quartier’s downtown greening and user-friendliness initiatives. In collaboration with UQAM’s Pôle sur la ville résiliente, the studies are led by biological sciences professor Alain Paquette and psychology professor Janie Houle.

The first study, under the aegis of the Chair on the Urban Forest, focuses on the potted trees’ contribution to heat-island mitigation throughout the Quartier. Urban trees live in difficult conditions, making them vulnerable to weather events and climate change. The postdoctoral researcher running the project, Kaisa Rissanen, is working with her team to analyze the data collected. The goal is to better understand how trees respond to high-stress conditions.

“We know very little about tree growth in urban environments, and that motivates much of our work at the Chair on the Urban Forest. In the coming years, urban trees will be increasingly important for our health and wellbeing,” said Alain Paquette, holder of the Chair on the Urban Forest and professor in the biological sciences department at UQAM.

The second study, at the Research Chair in the Reduction of Social Inequalities in Health, examines the beneficial effects of the Quartier’s greening initiatives on population-level mental health and general wellbeing. While many studies have demonstrated the positive impacts of urban trees on human health, the question has never been studied in the specific setting of large public spaces. Rose Gangl-Chartrand, a master’s student in environmental studies, and Benjamin Reynolds, a doctoral candidate in community psychology, are conducting interviews and recording observations designed to measure the effects of the Quartier’s greening activities on visitors’ and residents’ use of space and wellbeing.

“We are particularly interested in the impacts on persons living in poverty, because they suffer the most from heat islands. Since we expect more frequent and intense heat waves in the coming years, creating green spaces can be a crucial structural strategy for helping socio-economically disadvantaged populations,” said Janie Houle, holder of the Chair in the Reduction of Social Inequalities in Health and professor in the psychology department at UQAM.


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, with over 90 potted trees and a team of seven gardeners.

To find out more about the greening plan, consult 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:


Thanks to the success of its professors and students, UQAM has earned the status of one of Canada’s leading research universities, particularly in social science, natural science, social health and artistic creation. The Pôle sur la ville résiliente (a research centre focused on urban resiliency) and its open-innovation hub MixCité respond actively to expertise and research needs expressed by cities and stakeholders on urban-development issues in a transitional global context. This initiative confirms UQAM’s strategic positioning and the exceptional quality of its contributions to urban and environmental studies.

More information:

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Click here for more photos of potted trees and greening projects in the Quartier des spectacles. Please include full captions and credits.


Mélanie Mingotaud
Communications Mingotwo  
514 582-5272   


Quartier des Spectacles Partnership
Marie Lamoureux
Conseillère principale – Communications stratégiques, partenaires et média
514 923-6772

Evelyne Dubourg
Conseillère en communication
Division des relations avec la presse et événements spéciaux
514 987-3000, poste 20157