Designed by architect Buckminster Fuller to serve as the US pavilion for the 1967 World’s Fair, the Montreal Biosphere is one of the city’s most instantly recognizable landmarks. Inside, it houses a range of exhibitions focusing on eco-technologies, sustainable development, and climate change. It's a must-see for all visitors to Montreal.
The Montreal Biosphere is a popular city landmark, with its striking lattice-shelled sphere visible from many parts of Montreal. See the structure up close while exploring Jean-Drapeau Park (Parc Jean-Drapeau) on foot or by bike or by following snowshoe and cross-country trails through the park in winter.
Some Montreal sightseeing passes include access to the biosphere’s exhibitions, which focus on environmental issues. Permanent exhibits inside the museum include “+1°C What Difference Does it Make?,” which looks at the effects of global warming, and “Renewable Energy: Time to Decide,” which explores alternative energy sources.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Montreal Biosphere is a must for architecture enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in environmental sustainability.
- Drinking fountains and picnic areas can be found in the surrounding Jean-Drapeau Park.
- The biosphere is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Montreal Biosphere in Jean-Drapeau Park spans two islands—St. Helen's Island and Notre Dame Island—in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. To get there, ride the Yellow Line Metro to Jean-Drapeau station. From there, it’s just a 2-minute walk to the biosphere.
When to Get There
The biosphere is open year-round, though opening days vary according to season, and the museum typically closes for a few weeks during the Christmas and New Year’s period. The best time to visit is summer as warm weather allows visitors to enjoy all that Jean-Drapeau Park has to offer.
The History of the Biosphere
Originally designed for Expo 67, the biosphere was first covered by a clear acrylic coating but this was destroyed during a major fire in 1976. The biosphere remained closed from that time until the opening of the museum in 1995. For sci-fi fans, the structure may be familiar, having appeared in Battlestar Galactica and Robert Altman’s 1979 film, Quintet.