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Did you know? - Montreal's Green Alleys

Thursday April 27th, 2023, 11:12 AM

Welcome to a new ''Did you know'', about the green alleys present in Montreal. With the sun trying to set in, it's the perfect time to highlight their existence and enjoy them again during your lunch break.

What is a green alley?

A green alley is an alley that has been renaturalized by the residents.

The green alley project is first and foremost a movement of volunteer residents who wish to reclaim the space of their alley and thus improve their quality of life in an urban environment.

A little history ?

As early as 1968, the concept of green alleys was born. Five architecture students attempted to develop Demers Street in the Mile End district, but the project was aborted due to the refusal of the street's citizens. Their project was the subject of a National Film Board of Canada documentary film, "Flowers are for Rosemont". However, over the past 40 years, residents have developed Demers Street and today it is one of the most beautiful streets in Montreal.

The first green alley in the Montreal network was officially created in 1997 in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal with the development of the alley formed by the quadrilateral of Napoleon, Roy, Du Parc-Lafontaine and Mentana streets. In 2011, the borough developed more than fifty green alleys and remains the model for other boroughs. Each year, more than ten alleys are developed in Montreal.

In August 2011, the largest green alley in Montreal was inaugurated. Named "L'Échappée Belle" and bounded by Wurtele, Florian, De Rouen and Ontario streets, it is 363 metres long and features 57 native trees, 163 shrubs and 159 perennial plants. It took two phases rather than one and the help of all forty residents5.

In 2017, the "blue-green" alley model was introduced. It proposes to integrate the stormwater management dimension into the green alley concept. The project was then developed on two pilot sites in the boroughs of Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Sud-Ouest, both located on the territory of the City of Montreal, by the Alliance Ruelles Bleues Vertes.

What are the benefits of green alleys?

The advantages of a green alley for residents are numerous, hence the exponential increase in projects in recent years.

  • Improve air quality.
  • Combat heat islands with vegetation that acts as a natural air conditioner.
  • Soften the architectural straightness of a city and beautify the urban landscape.
  • Strengthen the social fabric by creating links between neighboring residents.
  • Reduce incivilities by making places more frequented.
  • Stop the illegal dumping of garbage in the alley.
  • Reduce runoff by intercepting rainfall.
  • Increase plant biodiversity.
  • Reduce ambient noise levels.
  • Reduce traffic congestion.
  • Local alternative to urban parks.
  • Give children a place to play.

Where to find them?

You can find the list of alleys and an interactive map right here: https://www.ruellesvertesdemon...

Moreover, the Poitevin alley will become a green alley this summer. It is the one that is located just behind the Halte, ideal to go for a little stroll during lunch break and enjoy the sunshine!

And you, which one is your favorite green alley?

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