Massive garden exhibit opening for the first time in Quebec aims to ‘build bridges’

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A huge garden exhibition featuring more than 200 large plant sculptures opened as planned in Quebec City, despite a few roadblocks that made it difficult to set up.

Located in Bois-de-Coulonge Park on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Mosaïcultures Québec 2022 uses more than 200 species of plants and flowers to promote local history and highlight the fragility and beauty of the environment.

The exhibit highlights the Huron-Wendat Nation, referring to its history and culture.

The country’s Grand Chief, Remy Vincent, hailed the settlement, saying it was an important step in the reconciliation process.

“It is through events like this that showcase our culture, our traditions and our indigenous knowledge that we will be able to build bridges between peoples and consolidate our friendship,” he said.

The exhibition also aims to raise awareness of the beauty and fragility of our ecosystem. (Mireille Roberge/Radio-Canada)

The mayor of Quebec, Bruno Marchand, described the exhibition as “a call to contemplation, an invitation to slow down the frantic pace of our lives, to take the time to observe the growing life, this life so precious”, during his visit to the inauguration last week.

Successful opening despite the difficulties

The exhibition is the largest ever produced by Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal. The organization has decided to do everything possible to celebrate its first installation in Quebec, by designing several new sculptures for the occasion.

Undertaking such an undertaking was no small feat, said the exhibition’s general manager and vice-president, Lise Cormier.

“Normally, to organize an event like this, it takes three years,” Cormier said. “We did it in a year and a half.

A woman stands in front of a garden.
Lise Cormier is general manager and vice-president of Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal, the organization responsible for the exhibition. (Guylaine Bussière/Radio-Canada)

Not only did the organizers have to deal with the rainy cold of June, but they also had to deal with a labor shortage which slowed down the installation.

Yves Vaillancourt, the exhibit’s chief horticulturist, said it normally takes around 100 people to mount the sculptures. He said there were about 30 workers short.

Vaillancourt ended up putting out calls for volunteers, even though they didn’t have much gardening experience.

Inflation also created headaches as the sculptures require steel rods to build, which proved costly. Raymond Brouillard, the exhibit’s chief sculptor, said his team had to order about a ton.

“Prices have risen rapidly, you can feel it,” he said.

Workers install a trellis on a metal arch.
Sculptors and horticulturists worked for months to put in place the large plant sculptures that adorn the site. (Vincent Pichard/Radio Canada)

There are still a few details to iron out over the next few weeks, but Cormier said the exhibit is essentially ready for visitors.

Some 730,000 visitors are expected at the site, which closes in October.

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