Biosphere Montreal

The most popular pavilion at the Expo 67 World Fair, today the Biosphere serves as North America's only museum dedicated to the environment

Aerial View of the Biosphere
Aerial View of the Biosphere cc licensed photo by abdallahh

The Biosphere is fascinating as both a renowned Montreal landmark and as a unique museum that will please visitors of all ages. There are a variety of permanent exhibits located both inside and outside this gigantic steel tube dome that will educate on the latest issues surrounding our environment and its many eco-systems.

One of Montreal's most prominent and iconic landmarks, the Biosphere located on Île Sainte-Hélène, was originally designed by the forward thinking architect Richard Buckminster Fuller as the United States Pavilion for the 1967 World's Fair. Constructed of tubular steel this giant geometric dome stands as tall as a 20 storey building. Fuller wanted the structure to be bolted together but the American officials wanted it to be welded. This helped ensure that the structure remained as the legacy that it is today. The frame was covered with tinted transparent acrylic panels.

The Biosphere became the most successful pavilion at the fair with a total of 5.3 million visitors passing through it during the six month Expo. After the fair, the United States government donated the Biosphere to the City of Montreal. It served a variety of functions which included that of a conservatory housing a variety of plants and birds.

In 1976 the Biosphere was engulfed in flames when a welders torch accidentally set fire to the acrylic panels resulting in the complete loss of its covering. After that it sat dormant for about 15 years at which time Environment Canada made an agreement with the City of Montreal to turn it into the environmental Museum it is today. After a major restoration of the steel frame and the design and construction of new interior structures the museum opened to the public in 1995

The Biosphere Today

Since its inauguration in 1995 the Biosphere has built up a wide range of permanent exhibitions as well as hosting a variety of temporary exhibitions which all focus on aspects of our environment and eco-systems. Many exhibits are hands on and children and adults will find the museum both fun and educational.

You should try to include a visit to the Biosphere on your itinerary when you visit Montreal because the admission charges are nominal and you will not be disappointed with its many the exhibits. You can also enjoy some great 360 degree views of the city from inside the dome.

Nearby attractions: Stewart Museum at the Fort and Ile Sainte-Helene and Parc Jean-Drapeau

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes

Currently Closed

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Address: 160 Chemin du Tour de l'isle, Montréal, QC H3C 4G8, Canada

Phone: (514) 283-5000

Official Website: Biosphere Montreal

Directions

Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 4 - YellowStation Jean-Drapeau2 Minutes

How to get to Biosphere Montreal by Metro

By Metro: Take Metro Line 4 to Station Jean-Drapeau and follow the signs for the Biosphere

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Reviews

Rated 4.3 out of 5Biosphere Environmental Museum Star Rating

2 Star Rating The grounds are so cool but the museum is so bad. Please for the love of god make the exhibits more interesting. When a little girl leaves a dry 45 minute talk about climate change saying to her mother “that was so boring”, you’re not doing your job as scientists to communicate in a way that gets the public on board with averting environmental crisis. If you must visit, head straight to the top for the views, then the room on the ground floor with the umbrellas. Everything else is a skip.

Yang Chu - 17 days ago

5 Star Rating Such a fun place. The architect of the place is amazing. No matter how old you are, you are going to learn something new. A great place for kids and adults! Highly recommend.

Josh Chen - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating This museum was extremely impressive. They manage to explain the dire state of climate change and the difficult choices of society faces, while keeping a hopeful and largely optimistic tone when discussing our future. The exhibits themselves are gorgeous and all appear brand new. The architecture is mind blowing, especially from the inside. It does a fantastic job of bringing Buckminster Fuller's metaphor of "spaceship earth" to life, putting visitors inside a visible, yet hard to fully conceive, physically bounded structure.

Jesse Brydle - 1 month ago

3 Star Rating We went in the summer of 2018. Great place to visit especially if you have a particular interest in Expo 67 nostalgia (like me). The interior renovations are really nice and structurally very interesting. I would give this place at a minimum 3.5 star and recommend visiting. It may be a bit more of a challenge if you are bringing teens who may find it less interesting.

Jordan G - 1 month ago

4 Star Rating Cool building with a variety of different environmental exhibits. My favorites were the one on climate change and the one with explanations of the different methods of generating power. I also enjoyed the exhibit on the environment of Montreal. Only 4 stars because I was a little surprised by how quickly I was able to walk through the museum. Although it wasn't the highlight of my day (botanical gardens are #1), seeing the architecture up close was worth the trip.

Nate Chertack - 4 months ago

Video


Video highlights of the Montreal Biosphere

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