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A Montrealer Grew Sunflowers SO Gigantic That The City Deemed Them 'Traffic Hazards'

The borough has ordered that they be removed... and you can adopt one!

Montreal Deems Gigantic Sunflowers Traffic Hazards
Peter Mcqueen | Facebook, Jérôme Lussier

When you think of traffic hazards, gigantic sunflowers don't normally come to mind. But a group of sunflowers planted in a Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) curb extension have grown so tall that the city has ordered them to be removed for that very reason.

Located at the corner of Chemin de la Côte-Saint-Antoine and Avenue Harvard, the flowers average about 7 feet tall, with the tallest ones reaching close to 10 feet, according to Jérôme Lussier, who planted them.

Lussier told MTL Blog he has been growing flowers and vegetables in the curb extension near his house — with permission from the borough — since last summer, turning the space into a community garden.

The Flowers Get The Boot

Lussier said he was alerted to an August 3 Facebook post by Peter McQueen, city councillor for Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, stating that the flowers exceed a three-foot height limit. According to the post, the sunflowers had to be replanted within six days or the city would cut them down.

"I'm all for planting, beautifying [...] residents doing their own thing," McQueen told MTL Blog. "But they are right where a car coming up Harvard [would be] looking to see if a car is coming down Côte-Saint-Antoine, blocking their view of that car. And that is no question a dangerous situation."

Residents React To The News

Lussier told MTL Blog he understands why he needs to take down the sunflowers — especially since the seeds came from a kit and he didn't know which variety they were or how high they'd grow. But other neighbourhood residents criticized the city's decision on an NDG Facebook group.

"Beware the killer sunflowers!" wrote Tanya Maria. "My point is that a compromise could've been found instead of just ripping them up."

"People need to see beauty now, colour and feel good again especially after the long haul of Covid," wrote Missy M. "Let it grow it's a special magical site that brings people joy, sunflowers have amazing energy."

Missy, who referred to the situation as "Sunflowermagedden," also questioned why the borough wasn't more concerned with bigger issues, such as renovictions and malfunctioning street lights, instead of focusing on the sunflowers.

Meanwhile, other commenters agreed with the city's decision.

"No way you'd be able to see me crossing the street in my wheelchair with these in the way. Safety first," wrote Alison Levine.

Montrealers Can Adopt A Sunflower

People have already begun reaching out to Lussier, he said, expressing interest in adopting the plants in an attempt to replant them.

Lussier said he plans to remove the plants Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.

If you're interested in taking some home, he asks you to show up to the corner of Côte-Saint-Antoine and Avenue with appropriate containers.

"I can totally understand why people have become attached to them. I have become attached to them in a way. You know, they're flowers with big personalities. And they are an unusual sight," Lussier said.

For now, there are a number of other plants still thriving in the community garden, including cucumber and basil. Lussier said he may plant sunflowers in the same spot next year — but "a smaller variety."

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