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The New Montreal Insectarium Has Roaming Butterflies & An Underground Labyrinth (PHOTOS)

Get a first look at the rebuilt museum.

Senior Editor
"Grand Vivarium" of the Montreal Insectarium. Right: Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.

"Grand Vivarium" of the Montreal Insectarium. Right: Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.

After years of construction, the Montreal Insectarium is set to reopen in a spacious new building on April 13, 2022. The Espace pour la vie museum features a butterfly garden where visitors can walk among the fluttering bugs and, below, a sprawling labyrinth that resembles the tunnel networks of burrowing insects.

Designed by Berlin-based architectural firm Kuehn Malvezzi, the 13,154-square-metre space stages what Espace pour la vie in a press release calls a "precisely choreographed route" that "dissolves the divides between the human and the natural with barrier-free displays and immersive sensory experiences."

"Grand Vivarium" of the Montreal Insectarium."Grand Vivarium" of the Montreal Insectarium.James Brittain | Courtesy of Espace pour la vie

In the Grand Vivarium, visitors walk among free-roaming butterflies and caterpillars and observe other live bugs — leaf-cutter ants, giant beetles, scorpions and giant centipedes — that are (thankfully) confined to glass displays along the route.

"Grand Vivarium" of the Montreal Insectarium."Grand Vivarium" of the Montreal Insectarium.James Brittain | Courtesy of Espace pour la vie

A winding path plunges visitors into the Labyrinth. The descent "is designed to destabilize our perception" and heighten the feeling of submersion in an alien world.

Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.James Brittain | Courtesy of Espace pour la vie

The Labyrinth features six rooms, each meant to give visitors an immersive impression of insect life. "Tight squeeze" (below) "turns humans into cockroaches who must negotiate" the narrow passageways of subterranean dens.

Alcoves in the Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.Alcoves in the Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.James Brittain | Courtesy of Espace pour la vie

"One eye, many facets" gives visitors insect vision.

Display in an alcove in the Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.Display in an alcove in the Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.James Brittain | Courtesy of Espace pour la vie

In "From blade to blade," visitors have to jump between poles in imitation of a gnat hopping between leaves.

Activity in an alcove in the Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.Activity in an alcove in the Labyrinth of the Montreal Insectarium.James Brittain | Courtesy of Espace pour la vie

"My dearest wish is that the metamorphosis of the Insectarium will also bring about a metamorphosis in the public's relationship with insects," Maxim Larrivée, director of the Insectarium, said in a press release.

"Still too often ignored and underestimated, insects are essential to the balance of our ecosystems. A profound change in the place and importance of insects in our societies is necessary."

New Montreal Insectarium

Exterior view of the butterfly garden of the Montreal Insectarium.

Exterior view of the butterfly garden of the Montreal Insectarium.

James Brittain | Courtesy of Espace pour la vie

Price:

  • $17 for Quebec residents over 18
  • $22 for non-resident adults
  • $13 for Quebec students with a valid ID

Where: 4581, rue Sherbrooke E., Montreal, QC

When: Opens April 13, 2022

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