The New and Revamped Insectarium in Montréal

Since the middle of last month, tourists and Montrealers have been able to visit the new and renovated Insectarium in the heart of Montreal. Over the years, the Insectarium has been a big touristic spot for visitors and locals just wanting to do something in Montreal. However, just before the Covid Pandemic, it was closed down to do some renovations to the museum. 


Located in the beautiful Botanical Gardens, the Insectarium’s infrastructure prides itself on letting the aesthetics of the insects shine to its best possible ability. The renovations were made to allow visitors to have the best possible experience and decided to go with a “metamorphosis” vibe to show the changes in an insect’s environment.  “My dearest wish is that the metamorphosis of the Insectarium will also bring about a metamorphosis in the public’s relationship with insects,” said Maxim Larrivée, director of the Insectarium.

Essentially, the idea of the renovation came from inspiration of the various habitats that insects live in, such as nests, vegetation, water, air, soil and the different chambers. Larrivée and the rest of the insectarium’s management team wanted to get people to see how insects live in hopes of us understanding how important that they are in our ecosystem through the metamorphosis project.

The room of little insect domes. Photo Credit: Melanie Dusseault
The room of little insect domes. Photo Credit: Melanie Dusseault

As a result the Insectarium’s Metamorphosis project received an award of excellence from the Canadian Architect Magazine in 2018 before the revamp was even completed. However the idea of designing the museum around an insect’s habitat really stood out as a great project for the insects and visitors. 

Now that the project is finally completed, we get to see how the habitats really work. Essentially, we see some of the insects roaming around freely and allowing visitors to interact with insects more closely. This approach is the first of its kind in North America where insects are freely roaming with the tourists visiting. Through this more intimate experience it allows us as humans to rethink our relationships with these creatures as it allows us to see things from their environment in a way. 

As you enter the Alcoves section which is inspired by the insects’ habitat, you actually get to see the world as an insect. All your senses will be on alert, with feeling vibrations in the floor that make you perceive the sounds of other insects. There are projected ultraviolet effects that mimic the way an insect sees the world. The configuration of the area also encourages you to move like an insect. There are spaces where you need to slip through cracks as well as dangle on virtual rods.

After completing the Alcoves area,  you will enter a space where you will get to be “tête à tête” as they say at the museum with the insects in a more intimate atmosphere where they can be observed in a leisure way in various little domes. Following that, you will end up emerging from the underground area, into a place that is like a giant greenhouse with natural light surrounding it, the area is called the Great Vivarium.

Throughout your visit you will see hundreds of different species, including some butterflies that have never been seen before. For the longest time at the Insectarium, it was only butterflies that could roam free, that no longer is the case as the metamorphosis project brought to light the ability of allowing  some other insects and creatures to roam free. The butterflies and other insects are now free to roam year round as before it wasn’t possible in the winter. However, with the museum’s upgrades it allows for proper temperatures for all insects depending on the environment they are expected to live in the world. 

This new Insectarium experience is very different from what you would normally have as just a viewing of the insects or creatures. What the museum has decided is very unique and worth taking a look at. While life as an insect is great, there are also a lot of other great things to see and discover. There is fun for the whole family at the Insectarium.


In order to get tickets for the Insectarium click here to experience life as an insect.