Jardin de Lyon, Montreal


This garden resulted from a cultural exchange between Lyon and Montreal, initiated by the Jacques Cartier centre for Franco-Quebecois cooperation.

In 2000, Lyon and Montreal exchanged plots of land on which artists and landscape designers could carry out projects. In Montreal, Ilex and the artist Jean-François Gavoty were commissioned to create a garden of 2,000m2 that would celebrate fusions of genres and languages.

Nature and culture

Jean-François Gavoty created an imaginary bestiary based on a coded language used by homeless people. Ilex developed an image of the countryside around Montreal. The two approaches came together in a tranquil if mysterious way, inspired both by landscapes and urban mythologies. This is an open-air cabinet of curiosities, a display case for butterflies in which the sculptures provide a vertical counterpoint to the base lines of the ground plan.

An unusual terrain

On this sloping surface, Ilex set out a minimalist view: upper and lower terraces in granite, with a stretch of ground between them, above which Jean-François Gavoty’s « signs » produce a forest. The plantations recall Quebec’s wide open spaces, with native wild plants such as bearberries, ferns and perennials. Under the snow, the garden sleeps, and only the imaginary forest stands out, in its evergreen foliage of sculptures.

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Montreal, 2000
Client : City of Montreal
Design : Ilex paysage urbanisme, Jean-François Gavoty
Area : 2000m²
Budget : 530,000€