18th edition of the International Gardens Festival opens at Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens


Grand-Métis (Québec), Canada, June 22, 2017. The 18th edition of the International Garden Festival opens on Friday, June 23 with an invitation to explore the fun installations created by designers from around the world.  For its 18th edition, the International Garden Festival decided to put fun front and centre. Fun for the designers – but mostly to offer fun for visitors. Whether you are a child or an adult with a sense of play, the “Playsages” offered by this year’s Festival are bright, lively, colourful – and invite visitors to play. “Playsages” is a play on words (play + paysages), “paysage” is the word for landscape in French. But we also wanted designers to respond to our growing distance and alienation from the natural world. We spend less time outdoors….and when outdoors, we often observe the landscape with an electronic tool in our hands or mask the sounds of the natural world with ear buds.

The international call for proposals invited designers to create "Playsages" to illustrate how outdoor play is just as interesting, if not more fun, than on-screen amusement. The 6 projects selected from among the 162 proposals received from designers from 30 countries responded to the invitation to re-think play and take part in the global discussion over nature-deficit disorder.

The fun has already started. The Festival unveiled the Grand-Métis Station and welcomed the designers of the 2017 edition. The Grand-Métis Station is a retired Montreal Métro wagon that has been transformed into a colourful entranceway and celebration of the 375th anniversary of Montreal.

The new installations on exhibit for the 2017 edition are:

L’Escale by Collectif Escargo [Pierre-Yves Diehl, designer, Karyna St-Pierre, landscape architect & Julie Parenteau, art teacher], Montréal (Québec) Canada. Small plots of land on wheels, wagons for children, are made available to be chosen, adopted and brought along for our visit of the Festival site.
The Woodstock by Atelier YokYok [Steven Fuhrman, Samson Lacoste & Luc Pinsard, architects, Laure K, teacher & Pauline Lazareff, architect engineer], Paris (France). An unusual playground grows in the shade of trees and forms a play space where the children become giants, perched at the top of the wooden causeway.
La Chrysalide by landscape architects Gabriel Lacombe & Virginie Roy-Mazoyer, Vancouver (British Columbia) & Montreal (Quebec) Canada. An invitation to take a break in time, between childhood and adulthood, to climb into the tree, make a nest and lay there to dream.
Paysage euphonique by MANI [Claudia Campeau, architect & Maud Benech, designer m. arch.], Montreal (Quebec) Canada. A set of giant play facilities creates a tension in our rapport with the landscape and forces us to see and hear nature differently.
Soundcloud by Johanna Ballhaus, landscape architect & Helen Wyss, architect, Montreal (Quebec) Canada & Fribourg (Switzerland). Bells attached to the ends of metal rods create the illusion of mist and clouds where a dialogue with nature begins and where stories can be told.
HAIKU by architects Francisco A. Garcia Pérez & Alessandra Vignotto, Granada (Spain). A lonely swing in the forest, a flooded path, a motionless stone. Everything is in place to appreciate the cycle of the forest life.

The new installations form part of the Festival’s 18th edition that includes returning work by some of the best and most talented landscape architects, architects and artists from Canada and around the world. Their installations float, tilt and hang. They slide and move around. You can see yourself in a reflection or hear your own voice amplified. You can climb a tower, slosh about in a pond, amble up the smooth sides of a giant boulder and rise to the challenge of negotiating a forest of tree trunks. Experience the joy of moving mature trees along a hidden rail in I like to move it, don a pair of colourful rubber boots to muck it up among the floating aquatic plants in Se mouiller (la belle échappée) or relax beneath the colourful bands blowing in Vertical Line Garden. Visitors can play in the white ribbons in Le bon arbre au bon endroit, a forest of Hydro-Québec poles that also serve as a reminder about planting the right tree in the right place.

The jury for the 2017 edition was composed of: Amélie Germain, landscape architect with the Ville de Québec (co-designer of Nettoyage à sec for the 2005 and 2006 edition of the Festival); Erick Rivard, architect and urban designer, Groupe A / Annexe U from Quebec City (co-designer of Se mouiller – la belle échappée for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 edition of the Festival); Vadim Siegel, architect, ABCP architecture from Quebec City; François Leblanc, technical director of the Festival; and Alexander Reford, director of the International Garden Festival and Les Jardins de Métis.

About the International Garden Festival
The International Garden Festival is the leading contemporary garden festival in North America. Since its inception in 2000, more than 160 gardens have been exhibited at Grand-Métis and as extra-mural projects in Canada and around the world.

Presented at Les Jardins de Métis, at the gateway to the Gaspé Peninsula, the Festival is held on a site adjacent to the historic gardens created by Elsie Reford between 1926 and 1958, thereby establishing a bridge between history and modernity, and a dialogue between conservation, tradition and innovation. Each year the Festival exhibits about twenty conceptual gardens created by more than seventy architects, landscape architects and designers from various disciplines in a pristine environment on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

About the Reford Gardens / Jardins de Métis
A National Historic Site and Québec heritage site, the Reford Gardens / Jardins de Métis are an obligatory stop for all those visiting eastern Québec. Cultural attraction and tourist destination for 55 years, the Reford Gardens is one of the most popular attractions in the Gaspésie region, providing visitors with experiences for every sense. Located on the banks of the St. Lawrence and Mitis rivers, they are considered one of the great gardens of North America. Hydro-Québec has been the lead sponsor of the Reford Gardens since 1999.

The Reford Gardens will be open every day up to October 8, 2017. Children 13 and under are admitted free of charge. Consult for more information.


Sources :
Pénélope Fortin Volume 2
T: 415-769-8252

Alexander Reford, director
Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens / International Garden Festival
T: 418 775‐2222 x 222 


Avec la participation de :
Conseil des Arts du Canada
Patrimoine canadien
Développement économique Canada


Avec la participation de :
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec