Tomorrow & Saturday: Don’t forget Concordia Greenhouse’s Epic Seedling Sale

Concordia Greenhouse plants
Photo from The Concordia Greenhouse’s website

It’s that time of the year, folks.

If you didn’t start your plants from seed or you could use a few more seedlings to round out your garden plantings, this sale is not to be missed.

Concordia’s City Farm School interns have been busy. This year there will be more than 140 varieties of organic heirloom veggie, herb and flower seedlings available, offering incredible choices for gardeners. The greenhouse is a non-profit entity, is largely student-funded and plays a big role in Montreal’s urban agriculture landscape.

The sale is not just about veggies, herbs and flowers. You’ll also find:

  • houseplants
  • seeds for direct sowing
  • small bags of soil and compost
  • mushroom and sprout growing kits for indoors
  • fruit and permaculture plants via Jonah Neumark of Neumark Design. See details here.

Prices for vegetable, herb and flower seedlings range from $1 to $5, while houseplants sell for between $2-$30.

Some survival tips:

  1. Get there as early as possible. It’s no fun to come by later in the day only to learn everything is sold out or the plants you want are gone.
  2. Bring a box or boxes (ideally) or a sturdy bag or bin to hold plants. You may also want to bring some extra plant containers (the ones seedlings are often sold in, for instance) in case you end up with a plant that doesn’t have a sturdy container to begin with and you don’t want to end up with the plant escaping its pot, wilting and leaving dirt everywhere.
  3. It’s cash only. Bring extra moolah, you will probably walk out with more plants than you expected to buy.
  4. Bring some water to drink. It can be very hot in the greenhouse, especially when there’s a crowd.
  5. Don’t forget to bring a sense of humour. Some plants are labeled right but some will be missing their labels, people can be aggressive about claiming plants and it can be crowded.

When: Friday, May 15, 2015 and Saturday May 16, 2015,  10 a,m. to 7 p.m. (as long as supplies last).

Where: Concordia Greenhouse, Hall Building, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. , 13th floor (take the elevator as far as you can go, to the 12th floor, then look out for signs leading to the staircase that takes you to the greenhouse).



Saving La Gaillarde

white dress adorned with donors's names in black writing on pink pieces of paper or fabric
La Gaillarde’s Robe des donateurs (Donor Dress), from La Gaillarde’s Facebook page

Update May 10, 2015: La Gaillarde is having a party to celebrate its 15th anniversary. Expect cocktails, cupcakes, door prizes, music and models showcasing the latest spring fashion lines. Everything in the store is 15 per cent off, they’ll be displaying a photo album of La Gaillarde memories and wrapping up their crowdfunding campaign by displaying a dress laden with the names of donors.

When: May 15, 2015, 6-8:30 p.m.

Where: 4019 Notre Dame St. W. (Place St. Henri metro)

RSVP: (514) 989-5134 or

Montreal is losing many of its independent brick-and-mortar stores. It seems only the strongest and those with the best business moxie survive. So it’s no surprise to hear that La Gaillarde, a non-profit boutique based in St. Henri that sells all sorts of fashionable upcycled (recycled, but better) clothing and jewellery by eco-designers and affordable vintage and secondhand modern-day clothes for women, men and little ones, is struggling.

Though La Gaillarde has many volunteers, it depended on a grant from the Quebec government for its core survival and that grant was cut no thanks to the Couillard’s government austerity measures.

La Gaillarde is counting on a crowdfunding campaign to save its organization and the jobs of its four employees. As organizers point out, for 15 years La Gaillarde has supported Quebec designers (it features the works of more than 40 Quebec designers, many of whom are at the forefront of ethical fashion brands here) and by recycling clothing into new creations and by selling vintage and secondhand clothing, it keeps clothing out of landfills.

It has serious green cred. Every aspect of the business follows ecological principles. And it creates jobs because by buying from local designers we help them (I believe most, if not all, are women) make a living.

It puzzles me though that La Gaillarde is not better known. A few years back its designers made a splash at the Festival Mode & Design Montréal (you may remember a dress made solely made from men’s ties) but it’s never quite arrived.

I’ve watched it change over the years. A prior version was located near the Lionel Groulx metro and sold clothes but didn’t seem to be about fashion (apparently they used to help female convicts reintegrate into society). For a while it was very grassroots, with sewing classes and tips on how to recycle your wardrobe into something exciting and new. But they stopped making sewing machines available to customers and became sort of high end, to me, anyway. Instead of workshops for the general public, the focus seemed to be more on fashion shows. That’s when I stopped dropping in as much.

They are definitely a great place if you care about the environment, have a sense of style and you want to support local designers. If you live in Montreal they are just a few steps away from the Place St. Henri metro, at 4019 Notre Dame St. W.

I hope people will donate and support them. Montreal is losing too many of its cool businesses. Hipster businesses and big box stores don’t tug on my heartstrings. We also need businesses that make a real difference to our society and communities.