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Blossoming marriages funding budding gardens in Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough

Click to play video: 'Blossoming marriages in Montreal fund budding gardens for butterflies'
Blossoming marriages in Montreal fund budding gardens for butterflies
WATCH: Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough recently inaugurated its first-ever pollinator garden. The borough's budding creation is a small gesture to protect and preserve nature. As Global's Olivia O'Malley reports, the flowers aren't the only things blossoming in the neighbourhood since it's now inspiring people to tie the knot. – Sep 2, 2022

Ever since Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough inaugurated it’s first-ever pollinator garden in August, the space in Parc Beaudet has been buzzing with bees and attention.

Newlyweds Audrey Dufresne and Corey Kendall visit the 50-square-metre plant bed regularly.

“It’s very pretty,” Dufresne said while admiring the colourful varieties of flowers.

The garden reminds the couple in their early 30s of their wedding just three weeks ago.

“We thought that maybe this garden, in a way, is a symbol of love, love for human beings, for the animal, and maybe just in general nature on our planet that we have to protect,” Dufresne told Global News.

It’s not only a symbol of love, but also a product of love.

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The cost of their wedding helped fund the garden. A project started by their officiant and borough mayor Alan DeSousa.

“Doing marriages is definitely one of the, I’ve discovered, one of the more pleasant parts of being a mayor,” said DeSousa.

DeSousa first officiated a friend’s wedding in 2020. Since then he has done the same for at least 20 marriages at city hall, for a cost of $335 per ceremony.

“The easy way to do it was to just give it away or even to take it as remuneration for the marriages performed. But I wanted to do something that would be more community oriented, more connected with nature,” he said.

The space features a meadow of annual and perennial flowers, to attract and protect pollinators and endangered butterflies.

Read more: Quebec communities help endangered monarchs with butterfly-friendly plants

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“We have like a common milkweed, which is the host plan for the monarch butterfly. so that was very important for us to have this plant here in the garden,” said Clemence Ballet, the urban agriculture project manager at Vert Cité.

The urban agriculture group worked with the borough on the first-of-its-kind project.

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“We all have a responsibility to make sure that this beautiful butterfly can has a habitat and which can survive and propagate,” said DeSousa.

DeSousa will be a busy bee this fall with at least eight weddings planned. Perhaps there will be more ceremonies in the works, given the garden’s special significance to newlyweds.

Kendall told Global News that his wife said “if she see’s a butterfly, it would remind her of our wedding and everything that we experienced that day.”

The borough mayor hopes to open more gardens in the future, but joked that he doesn’t want to be too booked and busy.

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