Call for Proposals: 25th International Garden Festival

S’Y RETROUVER by Jinny Yu, Ki Jun Kim and Frédéric Pitre. Photo: JC Lemay

Call for Proposals: 25th International Garden Festival
2024 Theme: The Ecology of Possibility

Submission Deadline: November 20, 2023, 5:00 pm EST

The International Garden Festival has launched a call for proposals to select designers to create the new temporary gardens for the Festival’s 25th edition, which will open on June 21, 2024, on the site of Les Jardins de Métis | Reford Gardens.

Celebrations are in order: in 2024, the International Garden Festival turns 25! While it is certainly something to celebrate, hitting this milestone is also an invitation to reflect on our journey thus far and to look to the future. So, what was the premise for the Festival, the first edition of which was held at the turn of the millennium? What issues and themes have been addressed since then? How have our concerns and ideologies evolved? And what kind of future do we envision for the gardens?

Established in the year 2000, the International Garden Festival has always been heavily committed to the exploration and renewal of the art of the garden. The inaugural edition showcased eight original creations that placed the nature-culture dialectic at the forefront.

Although the Festival still considers the hows and the whys of the contemporary garden, the concepts addressed, and the perspectives employed have changed. Over the past 25 years, our theoretical outlook on various issues has shifted, our critical vocabulary has diversified, and now more than ever, we feel the urgency to act in the face of accelerating climate change. The basic dichotomy of nature versus culture now seems antiquated; contemporary anthropology having demonstrated that humankind’s understanding of the natural universe falls within a relational dynamic. Following this rationale, the concepts of nature and culture cannot be compared, as the former is invariably perceived through the latter.

It seems to us that the garden today (be it private or public) has a social responsibility. Sustainable, it preserves and supports biodiversity. Plants are rigorously selected after considering the specific needs and behaviours of each species and how they interact. The characteristics of the site to be developed and their evolution over the seasons are also carefully studied.

In light of these ideologies and present circumstances, is the future of the garden a united one? Is it based on a relational, cross-disciplinary approach?

We’d like to wager that the future of the garden will be forged from genuine dialogue with the living.

Racines de mer by Cassandra Ducharme-Martin and Gabriel Demeule. 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 event is a unique forum for innovation and experimentation and an exceptional showcase and launching pad for participating designers from a host of disciplines.

The Festival sees the garden as a space for creative interaction, while not negating its botanical and horticultural dimensions. It 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 and visual artists from Canada and abroad. The Festival encourages participants to form multidisciplinary teams. Applicants are limited to one proposal, either as individuals or as a team. Participants can be from a single city or country or cross international boundaries.

Maillage by Friche Atelier. Photo: Martin Bond

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

Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens
200, Route 132
Grand-Métis, Québec G0J 1Z0