The “worst schoolyard in Montreal” has had a makeover and is unrecognizable

With its wave bench, its freshly planted trees and its multicolored markings, the “worst schoolyard in Montreal” no longer has anything to do with the asphalt desert that it was in 2019.

“I am sure that it could now have its place in the list of the best courses,” declared director Benoît Grenier on Wednesday, during the inauguration of the renovated courtyard of the Nations primary school, in the Côte-Nord district. of snow.

In 2019, this court obtained the lowest score of all the courts visited by The newspaper on the island of Montreal.

The courtyard, photographed in 2019.

Archive photo Roxane Trudel, special collaboration

Apart from an expanse of asphalt and a few rusty basketball hoops, there wasn’t much inviting there at the time.

“There were three trees, one dead and another with thorns,” remembers Marie-Bernard Pasquier, of the landscape architecture firm Foliaison, which carried out the project.


Today, there are 31 newly planted trees there, in addition to several areas of mulch or cushioning surfaces, in case young people fall while playing in the play modules or doing gymnastics.

The courtyard, photographed from the same point of view, on Wednesday.

Pierre-Paul Poulin / Le Journal de Montréal / Agence QMI

“The wave bench is very popular,” notes Benoît Grenier about the fuchsia play module on which even the adults burst out laughing when the photo was taken.

Nations Primary School

The famous wave bench

Pierre-Paul Poulin / Le Journal de Montréal / Agence QMI

The little ones have their own portion of the courtyard, with a module allowing them to go on the “course” and tables at their height to eat their snack.

Nations Primary School

This area is reserved for young people in kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade.

Pierre-Paul Poulin / Le Journal de Montréal / Agence QMI

Almost everywhere, there are areas with blackboards that can serve as an outdoor classroom or even a socialization area for young people who prefer chatting to basketball.

Nations Primary School

With its blackboards and benches, this star-shaped area can be used as an outdoor classroom.

Pierre-Paul Poulin / Le Journal de Montréal / Agence QMI

The project started in 2020, indicates Vanessa Cardin-Dubé, engineer and coordinator in the Material Resources Department of the Montreal School Services Center.

This project, which cost $6.2 million, is not just aesthetic. The sloping land was leveled to create flat spaces, while allowing rainwater to flow into retention basins invisible to the eye.

Even the trash

“You have to think about lots of things that seem trivial,” says Ms. Pasquier, who recalls that not so long ago, what we mainly remembered about the facade of the establishment was the rows of trash cans that hid it.

Now, all this waste is stored… in a pretty green shed.

Nations Primary School

No more waste lying around the facade.

Photo Dominique Scali

The success of this renovation can be seen in particular in the variety of games that young people play. Before, “there were only boys who played soccer. Now we have girls,” remarks Mr. Grenier.

This beautification is a plus not only for the young people at the school, but for the entire neighborhood: even on weekends and in the summer, families go into the courtyard to let their children play, which was not the case before, adds Ms. Cardin-Dubé.



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