Call for Proposals – 24th International Garden Festival: Roots

2022 International Garden Festival. Photo: Martin Bond.


Submission Deadline: November 29, 2022, 17:00 EST

The International Garden Festival has launched a call for proposals to select designers to create the new temporary gardens for the Festival’s 24th edition, which will open on June 23, 2023, on the site of Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens. Building on the success of the past summer (where 60,000 visitors safely toured twenty-five garden installations on the theme of Adaptation), the Festival is seeking projects that explore the valorization, transmission and reactualization of traditional knowledge and savoir-faire. Racines / Roots is the theme to which we are inviting designers to respond with their proposals to imagine a present and a future that is ecologically, economically and culturally responsible by drawing on the teachings of past generations.

With the advent of the digital age, globalization and the rapid speed of technological advancement that are changing our relationship with time, the physical world and each other, Racines / Roots rejects the unrooted vision implanted by the industrial revolution to embrace an approach that seeks to be nourished from a common heritage. The theme counters the forces of homogenization that is part of globalization, incorporating the notion of globality coined by the Martinique poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant (1928-2011). It invites a return to what is essential by integrating the use of native plants, local materials – whether reused or with limited environmental impact –, as well as traditional methods of construction combined with a contemporary vision that embraces both regional communities and ecosystems. Racines / Roots intends to challenge the status quo and create innovative human scale environments. It seeks to transcend generations and disciplines.

The jury for the 2023 Festival will choose five projects from this call for proposals. Designers are invited to design a garden that can take place in one or other of the axes of the Festival. The artistic and technical committee of the Festival will identify, in collaboration with the designers, the site that will best showcase their project. Designers will be asked to imagine their garden for exhibition for at least two summers and to propose strategies for the repurposing or recycling of the garden or its materials after the end of its exhibition.

Hassja by Emil Backstrom. Photo: Martin Bond.

International Garden Festival:
Forum for Innovation and Laboratory for Experimentation
The International Garden Festival is recognized as one of the most important events of its kind in North America and one of the leading annual garden festivals in the world. Since 2000, over 1 million visitors have discovered the more than 250 contemporary gardens created by designers from 15 countries. The Festival is a unique forum for innovation and experimentation and an exceptional showcase and launching pad for participating designers from a host of disciplines. It provides an annual rendez-vous for admirers of contemporary gardens and design as well as offering a unique space for those involved in the renewal of this art form. This artistic and tourism event also gives visitors a chance to discover inspiring spaces bringing together the visual arts, architecture, design, landscape and the environment.

The Festival encourages participating designers to explore all facets of the garden, from the physical setting (site and context) to creating a range of sensory, emotional and intellectual experiences for the visitor. The Festival sees the garden as a space for creative interaction, while not negating its botanical and horticultural dimensions. The Festival imagines the garden as a multi-sensorial space and encourages designers to consider the visitor’s experience in the design of the garden, provoking interaction, participation, exchange and reflection.

The Festival is an opportunity to compare and contrast approaches and engage in a critical examination of the theory and practice of the art of gardens, offering a host of points of view on this contemporary art form to a broad and diversified audience. The goal of the event is to stimulate new creation by presenting temporary projects that question the very idea of the garden in light of its history and its place in today’s society while also allowing visitors to enjoy new sensory experiences.

Eligibility of Candidates
This call for proposals is open to all landscape architects, architects, visual artists and multidisciplinary teams from Canada and abroad. The Festival encourages participants to form multidisciplinary teams. Participants can be from a single city or country or cross international boundaries.

Open Space by Legaga. Photo: JC Lemay.

Honoraria and Budget
The budget for the creation and construction of each garden is $25,000 CAD. This budget is divided in the following fashion:

  • $5,000 for the designers’ honorarium, which is paid to the designers in two installments;
  • Up to $15,000 for the purchase of materials necessary for the realization of the project (including engineering or other fees if required). This budget is managed jointly by the Festival and the designer;
  • A team of Festival staff build each garden. The budget for labour is $5,000. This sum is managed by the Festival.

The Festival assumes for each garden, upon presentation of supporting invoices, the travel expenses up to:

  • $ 1,000 CAD for Quebec designers;
  • $ 2,000 CAD for designers from other Canadian provinces and territories;
  • $ 3,000 CAD for designers coming from abroad.

Designers are encouraged to solicit donations or grants for materials or other expenses (travel, printed material, etc.) for the realization of their garden from arts councils, sponsors or private partners. The Festival offers a range of visibility for donors and sponsors depending on the magnitude of the contribution in cash or product.

Further Information and Presentation
For more information on the Festival site, available resources, our selection process and required application materials, please read our Submission Guidelines.

Our Photo Library, as well as last year’s winning project proposals, are made available to all applicants.

Applications can be submitted electronically in English or French via our platform.
To submit a proposal, you must first register.

For questions, please contact:
Ève De Garie-Lamanque, Artistic Director, International Garden Festival at