Where’s the Green Space?

The Concordia GreenHouse Photo Erin Sparks

If you want to get some green downtown, your best bet is to leave. That’s right, get out of Centre Ville. Climb the mountain, take the shuttle to the green pastures of Loyola, or—fuck it—go visit McGill.

Or, if going to McGill would hurt your pride and Loyola seems too far away, here are some slices of nature in an otherwise concrete jungle:

The Greenhouse
The Concordia Greenhouse is located on the rooftop of the Hall Building (follow the arrows when taking the stairs from the 12th floor), and is an all-organic space for education, skill development, research, sustainable horticulture, and above all a peaceful, welcoming environment.

Grey Nuns
Unknown to those of us who never lived there, access to the Grey Nuns Garden is limited to current residents. The building was bought by the Grey Nuns (Soeurs grises) when they moved uptown from Old Montreal. Back in the day, all the land from Guy St. and Ste. Catherine St. to St. Mathieu and René-Lévesque Blvd. belonged to the sisters. In 2004, Concordia bought the building and in 2007 students moved in for the first time. It was the sisters, however, who cultivated the orchards and care for the green space where you can now take a nap or read a book in between classes (provided you live in residence).

Architecture Park
Not far from the downtown campus in front of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (1920 Baile St.), there is a long stretch of majestic, carefully groomed grass. Although the overall appearance of the locale might resemble a mansion, it is a really cool museum definitely worth checking out.

Tiny VA Courtyard
The Fine Arts building, although underfunded, has a little green patch with one tree and one picnic table! This spot is great for a picnic lunch after browsing the VAV Gallery.

Norman Bethune Square
Tim Horton’s front yard. It’s only green-ish, but it’s a known spot for protests and pigeons in the downtown area.

Mount Royal
If you can’t find the green you need on campus, you might as well go exploring. A hike to the mountain is a great way to see almost the entire city. Take the 80 Parc bus from Place des Arts and put your legs to work. Or just walk straight up de la Montagne. The mountain is full of people exercising, beardos playing guitars and/or drums, and creepy dudes trying to sell you pot—but don’t be intimidated! Go up the mountain! Heck, go all the way to the cross!

Between the architecture of old and the brand new buildings, the mighty native statue and incessant construction, there’s a sunny green patch for everyone on the Loyola campus.

The Quad
The quad is right along the side of the Administration building, and is where most Loyola events take place. BBQ’s, concerts, club fairs and more take advantage of this quintessential “Loyola” space.

RealiTEA garden
Behind the Hingston Hall Residence at Loyola lies the RealiTEA garden, a partnership of many projects, including P3 Permaculture and the People’s Potato Vegetable Garden. RealiTEA is a tea garden focusing on educating community members through workshops and activities, on, well, growing herbs.

People’s Potato Garden
A neighbor to RealiTEA, the People’s Potato Vegetable Garden grows herbs and produce to help maintain the People’s Potato, Concordia’s vegan soup kitchen that serves daily lunches downtown.

This article originally appeared in Volume 32, Issue 02, published September 6, 2011.