A peek inside the Montreal Biôdome renovations

Director Yves Paris says the renovated Biodôme will offer visitors an “experience of discovery.”

City says project is on budget and still on schedule to reopen in 2019

The new Biodôme will offer more natural light and an elevated walkway over its five environments. (Radio-Canada)

Step inside the Biodôme today and it is scarcely recognizable. In the midst of a major renovation and with all the animals in temporary homes, the new Biodôme will be more open-concept, with elevated walkways allowing visitors to walk above the different environments.

Rami Bebawi, the architect in charge of the renovation, says they wanted to open up the Biodôme, giving visitors new points of view and letting more natural light inside.

"It's enormously complex," said Bebawi, adding that several weeks into the renovation, they are still finding architectural quirks of the building.

Biodome director Yves Paris says the new Biodome will offer visitors an "experience of discovery." (Radio-Canada)

The renovation, which started last spring, is currently on time and on budget, said Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, the city's executive committee member responsible for the project.

"It is still planned to [reopen] at the end of September 2019, there have not been delays," said Lalonde.

Director Yves Paris says the renovation will offer visitors an "experience of discovery."

"Access to the tropical rainforest from above will be an exceptional experience."

Visitors will also be able to use a mobile app to allow them to learn more about what they're seeing.

KANVA, the architecture firm heading up the Biodôme renovation, created this illustration to show what the museum will look like when the work is done. (KANVA)

Paris said they are also thinking about creating set hours for groups so the museum isn't overloaded with visitors.

The Biodôme opened in 1992, inside the building that served as the velodrome during the 1976 Olympics. 

It includes five unique environments, each with flora and fauna indigenous to a tropical rainforest, Laurentian maple forest, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Labrador coast and sub-Antarctic islands.

The renovations are supposed to be done by June, but with the time it will take to reintegrate the animals, the city estimates the Biodôme will only reopen in September. (Radio-Canada)

With files from Radio-Canada's Normand Grondin