The Palais des congrés de Montréal received the AIPC Innovation Award on July 4, 2017 at the AIPC International Association of Convention Centres Annual Conference in Sydney, Australia. The Palais was recognized for its Urban Agriculture Lab and its innovations in sustainable development. It beat out 15 other convention centres shortlisted for the award.
“We are proud of the sustainability leadership role we play within the industry through our tangible actions. By opening the Urban Agriculture Lab in tandem with partners like the Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB) and Ligne Verte, the Palais is fostering experimentation with new rooftop urban farming technologies and practices, and in the process, is also reducing heat islands in the city’s downtown core,” said Raymond Larivée, president and CEO of the Palais des congrés de Montréal.
The AIPC Innovation Award celebrates initiatives that represent innovation, particularly through the development of a new, more creative and/or more effective approach to any aspect of convention centre management, operations or marketing.
The Palais was the Overall Innovation Award Winner as selected by the committee, while the Cairns Convention Centre was the Innovation Award Delegates’ Choice. It won for a promotional item made from steel recovered from its old roof.
Chrystine Loriaux, director of marketing and communications for the Palais des congrés, explained that they knew that by working with environmental experts, the Palais’ immense rooftop could be repurposed and a positive contribution to the environment in the heart of the city. “Scientists, engineers, crop farmers, bee farmers, managers and a host of other specialists worked together with the Palais’ building management team to make this project happen. We believe it will inspire other property owners to do the same,” she said.
According to Eric Duchemin, AU/LAB’s scientific director, partnering with the convention centre on the Laboratory initiative not only broadens their knowledge of the challenges and constraints associated with rooftop farming, but also serves [their ability] to build rooftop farms in Montréal and abroad. The project is part of CRETAU, a network created in collaboration with the Québec Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that focuses on urban farming research and expertise, and the transfer of urban farming best practices.
Urban Agriculture Lab
When the Palais opened its Urban Agriculture Lab with AU/LAB in 2016, it became the main showcase in the province for experimenting with and advocating urban farming technologies and techniques. The Lab includes:
- Culti-VERT, a technological showcase for green roofs and container gardening;
- three pollinating beehives; and
- VERTical, an urban agriculture project driven by new vertical farming technology that is based on free-standing structures equipped with experimental wall tarps.
The Urban Agriculture Lab’s contributions to the city include:
- Helping reduce urban heat islands and improving air quality in the Montréal downtown area;
- Encouraging the real estate industry and property owners to adopt concrete steps toward greening their rooftops;
- Promoting Montréal’s reputation as a world-class city firmly committed to fostering urban sustainability; and
- Enabling convention participants and the Maison du Père homeless shelter to benefit from the crops grown, with the help of Capital Catering, the Palais’ exclusive caterer.