Montreal Biosphere – A Look at the Environment Museum

Île Sainte-Hélène

The Montreal Biosphere was originally part of Canada’s Expo ’67. It now works to educate people, both old and young, on eco-action and its importance, and the role water plays in our lives. The museum aims to educate guests about environmental concerns threatening the area.

The American government contemplated its contribution to Expo 67. The exposition showcased different countries, and the US wanted to make a significant impact. AND it DID!

Constructed with a frame of steel pipes, the US Pavilion measured a whopping 200-feet-high with a spherical diameter of 250 feet.

They hired famous architect, Richard Buckminster Fuller, and commissioned him to design the Biosphere. Fuller’s eye and skill resulted in the creation of the Biosphere, a giant geodesic dome, which became one of the fair’s main attractions.

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The dome included an intricate retractable shading screen system for control of the Biosphere. The system also controlled the inside heat and contained a computer which shifted the shading screens in the direction of the sun.

It was an amazing creation!

At the end of the Expo, the US donated the Biosphere to Montreal, rather than dismantling it. The building spent several years as an exhibition space for birds and plants.

In 1976, a fire occurred during structural renovations. The dome and its transparent outer skin were destroyed.

Access to the site was forbidden until 1990 over concerns for its structure. Environment Canada bought the structure that year, hoping to build the Biosphere as an attraction to highlight eco-action. The museum opened in 1995.

René Ehrhardt

What’s Inside the Biosphere?

Everyone will get something out of a trip to the Biosphere, and kids will the hands-on exhibits. There are numerous films and displays designed to draw attention to the importance of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River watershed.

The museum aims to educate guests about environmental concerns threatening the area.