Grondbreaking ceremony for Centre for Sustainable Development

Montréal, March 15, 2010 – Today, donor partners and nine member organizations celebrated the official ground breaking ceremony for the Centre for Sustainable Development. This building will be one of the most ecological in Canada and a hub for proponents of sustainable development. It will be built in downtown Montreal’s Quartier des spectacles and will open in September of 2011.

“The Centre for Sustainable Development project demonstrates community interest in the daunting challenge that climate change poses, as well as its willingness to significantly contribute to the search for solutions in a sustainable development perspective. The Quebec government is a proud contributor to this project", said Line Beauchamp, Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.

“The Centre for Sustainable Development will be a major environmental and technological showcase in the Quartier des spectacles, another initiative that promotes sustainable development. This beacon project demonstrates Montréal’s innovation and leadership in green building. With $1.5 M in financial support, the Tremblay administration is reaffirming its unwavering commitment to the environment so that present and future generations of Montrealers can live in a greener and more responsible community" said Alan De Sousa, Vice President of the Executive Committee of the City of Montréal, Responsible for the General Administration, Finance, Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.

Visionary partners: $4 M from the private sector

"Hydro-Quebec has been supporting the Centre for Sustainable Development since the spring of 2006. Hydro-Quebec has provided the land and has been an important member of the fund-raising committee, which is fully in line with the corporation’s orientations," explained Thierry Vandal, Hydro-Quebec President and CEO.

“RONA is committed to a sustainable future and our company is taking steps in this direction, pointed out Robert Dutton, RONA’s President and CEO. Naturally, we got involved and made a meaningful contribution to the Centre for Sustainable Development, which shows that there are concrete, practical and economical solutions that respect future generations."

The Centre for Sustainable Development, a $27 M project, is counting on the participation of other donor partners, such as Bell, Cascades, SAQ, EJLB Foundation, Transcontinental, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The project is also receiving loans from Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins, Investissement Québec and Fiducie du Chantier de l’économie sociale.

Building a better society

"We have been collaborating with social and environmental organizations for many years. We take great pride in contributing to this great project to create a more inclusive, more sustainable, more resilient and more innovative society," explained Tim Brodhead, President of the McConnell Foundation.

A permanent home for sustainable development

"It took eight years to bring together, mobilize and engage stakeholders to make this project a reality. More than a building, the Centre for Sustainable Development’s mission is to make the citizen-based sustainable development movement a central issue within society by giving it a permanent home. Here, citizens will be able to ask questions and get answers. Together, we can shape sustainable development," explained Sidney Ribaux, Co-founder and Executive Director of Équiterre and Chairman of the Centre for Sustainable Development.

Members of Mes Aïeux, the popular award winning folk group which recently performed at the Vancouver Olympics, believe that “the Centre for Sustainable Development will become an important meeting place and a reference site – our house of hope. This green building, which will bring together environmental and social stakeholders, will promote a better understanding of the need for sustainable development in Montreal, Quebec and around the world." The group also encourages people to write a message in the Tree of Hope and to make a donation by visiting the website.

Innovative architecture

An innovative project, the Centre for Sustainable Development aims to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest certification that exists. The result of an integrated design process, the building will have an urban geothermal system, a high-performance thermal envelope, triple-pane windows, a 800m2 green roof and a 40m2 green bio-wall. Pomerleau, the contractor responsible for construction, will have to divert at least 75% of construction waste and debris from landfill sites.

"The Centre for Sustainable Development represents the fulfillment of our dream to build model examples of architecture that emphasize comfort and quality of life while creating a better future by protecting the environment," concluded Anik Shooner, architect and associate at Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux (MSDL) Architects.

About the Centre for Sustainable Development

Nine organizations in the environmental and social sectors – Équiterre, Centre de la petite enfance Le Petit réseau, Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement, Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, ENvironnement JEUnesse, Option consommateurs, Le Regroupement des Éco-quartiers, Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec and Amnestie Internationale section canadienne francophone – formed an alliance to create the Centre for Sustainable Development, a non-profit organization with a mission to build and operate an ecological demonstration building in downtown Montreal, with features that will inspire action on the part of the general public and decision makers in real estate and construction.

David Suzuki Foundation will rent office space, and Commensal will operate a vegetarian restaurant on the ground floor.

To obtain more information on the project, to make a donation or to leave a message of hope in the virtual tree, please visit:

For more information:

Éveline Trudel-Fugère
514-605-2000 /