Palais des congrès de Montréal wins prestigious international innovation award for its Urban Agriculture Lab

The Palais des congrès de Montréal was presented with the prestigious 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. The Lab was among the 16 convention centre entries 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,” declared Raymond Larivée, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

The AIPC Innovation Award recognizes excellence in convention centre management by showcasing initiatives that represent innovation, namely through the development of a new, more creative or more effective approach to any aspect of convention centre management, operations or marketing. The Palais des congrès was the Overall Innovation Award Winner as selected by the committee, while the Cairns Convention Center was the Innovation Award Delegates’ Choice – it won for a promotional item made from steel recovered from their old roof.

Raymond Larivée (right), President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal, at the July 4 AIPC Annual Awards Dinner, in Sydney, Australia.

“We have an immense rooftop surface right in the heart of the city, and we knew that by working with environmental experts, we could make a positive contribution by repurposing this vast space. 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, which we believe will inspire other property owners to do the same,” mentioned Chrystine Loriaux, the Palais des congrès Director of Marketing and Communications.

According to Eric Duchemin, AU/LAB’s Scientific Director: “Partnering with the Palais des congrès on the Laboratory initiative will make it possible to broaden our knowledge of the challenges and constraints associated with rooftop farming, but it will also serve 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, which focuses on urban farming research and expertise, and the transfer of urban farming best practices.

In 2016, the Palais des congrès de Montréal became the main showcase in Québec for experimenting with and advocating for urban farming technologies and techniques, when it opened its Urban Agriculture Lab jointly with AU/LAB, an organization associated with the faculty of science and institute of environmental studies at Université du Québec à Montréal. The Urban Agriculture 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 various components of the Palais Urban Agriculture Lab are primarily tasked with:

  • 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.

About the AIPC
The International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC) represents convention and exhibition centre professionals and managers worldwide. In addition to recognizing convention centre management excellence, the AIPC also provides resources and programs that foster striving for the highest industry standards through research, networking and education.

About the Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine
The Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB) is a centre for urban agriculture research, training, innovation and activities designed to serve the community and act as a rallying hub for organizations and individuals devoted to urban farming. A non-profit, AU/LAB is also a national and international discussion and action forum for issues related to urbanism and food. With its extensive expertise, AU/LAB fosters emerging ideas, initiatives and businesses focused on the production, processing, distribution and marketing of urban agriculture. AU/LAB is actively involved in the development of urban food systems, viable urbanism and circular economies in cities.