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The Montreal Biosphere

The next time you are in the Montreal area, make sure to visit the Montreal Biosphere. It is a fun and interactive museum that focuses on the environment. It is located at Parc Jean-Drapeau on IIe Sainte-Helene. The site was the original spot for part of the 1967 World Trade Fair Exposition.

The Montreal Biosphere located on the former pavilion site is a vast building, which juts up into the sky. It has been used in many futuristic movies such as Star Trek, Quintet, and Battlestar Galactica. . The original designer was Buckminister Fuller. The building, called a geodesic dome, goes into the air 200 feet. It is built of steel and a product called acrylic cells. You can actually see into the building from the outside. It is situated in a gardenlike atmosphere with much foliage and fauna. It indeed does look like a space ship.

You can see the geodesic dome from miles away. It is rather unique looking. There are window/wall shades on the inside of the structure, which serve to regulate the amount of light to let in and to control the building’s temperature. People can enter the museum in order to learn more about the environment though the hundreds of interactive programs and activities. Sustainability is one focus of the Montreal Biosphere.

Within the building the interior is also unique. It was designed and created by Golden Metak. It had a 37-meter long escalator and a minimono-rail. It is 250 feet in diameter in size. You can see the buildings, which stand within the outer acrylic dome. At one time, it had four different platforms that then lead to the seven different building levels. It was an amazing building.

A 1976 fire shut down the building for many years. It simply stood empty and damaged for a long time. The fire burned much of the outside acrylic layer. In 1990, it was purchased by Environment Canada and then it was reopened as a museum in 1995. One of the first projects in the new building was a water ecosystem that was designed for studying the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence River regions. Today the Montreal Biosphere has a worldwide reputation as being one of the best environmental centers in the world.

It is interesting to see how a former World Fair Expo site, that was once burned badly, had become a leader in the research and advocacy of the earth’s environment.