Category A1 International Horticultural Exhibition
17/05/1980 - 01/09/1980
Relationship between man’s socio-cultural activities and his physical environment
Floralies Internationales de Montréal
Floralies Expo 1980 Montreal was the first Horticultural Expo to be held in North America, receiving recognition from the General Assembly of the BIE on 14 February 1979. Initiated by Quebec’s Ministry of Agriculture, the event raised awareness of environmental problems and highlighted the importance for humans to live in a natural and healthy setting.
Gathering 23 international participants, the Expo welcomed almost 2 million visitors during its four-month opening. The Expo site was split between two venues; the 6,000m2 indoor exhibition site located within the Olympic Velodrome, and the 40 ha outdoor exhibition site on Notre Dame Island, an artificial island in the St. Lawrence River created for World Expo 1967. The Floralies was the fourth major international event to be hosted on the island, following Expo 1967, the 1976 Olympic Games and the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix.
The indoor exhibition formed the initial part of the Expo, running from 17 to 29 May and attracting 290,000 visitors. The exhibition, known as the “valley of flowers”, included a variety of orchids, bonsai, cut flowers and floral art. Seventeen countries, alongside national and international organisations, participated in the event, which celebrated the beauty and diversity of cultivated plants.
The main, outdoor exhibition, was open to the public from 31 May to 1 September. The exhibition was divided into various sections presenting different aspects of horticulture, linked by a series of canals, seven bridges, rock gardens and public squares. In addition to the newly created gardens, seven pavilions from World Expo 1967 were renovated and used as exhibition spaces and lecture halls during the Floralies.
The international section displayed the horticultural specialities of countries from around the world, including Mexico, Portugal, the United States and Israel. An institutional section offered visitors an insight into scientific and cultural themes, aiming to promote awareness for ecology and respect for the environment.
The Canadian section featured a fully reconstructed peat-bog that was transported, piece-by-piece from the far north of the country, and featured thousands of sub-Arctic flowers and Taiga plants. The Quebec section, created by the Montreal Botanical Garden, featured several thousand horticultural species from the province, including a maple grove and a pine wood.
Following the Expo, the outdoor area was maintained as the Floralies Gardens, forming part of the large public park now named Parc Jean Drapeau, in honour of the Mayor of the city for both Expo 1967 and Floralies 1980. To this day, the Floralies Gardens feature thousands of perennial plants, shrubs, trees and public artworks dating from the city’s Horticultural Expo.