Can I really get lost in The Labyrinth?
When you arrive, you are given a map of the maze to help you find your way. The staff and actors are always on hand to help if needed. The main alleys make it easy to find your way back to the outside quickly, at all times.
Don’t worry – if you get lost in The Labyrinth, it will only be because you want to!
How is The Labyrinth made?
Contrary to what many visitors think, The Labyrinth Arctic Gardens is not a field of corn in which plants are cut down to form paths. For more visually pleasing results and to obtain more complex shapes, a special technique is used. The maze design first begins to take shape in the mind of architect Yves Pinon. In May, as soon as the sun starts to warm the soil, land surveyors work with the whole team to trace the pattern onto the ground using limewash. Then, farmer Claude Lanciault plants the grains of corn along the lines. The majority of the corn is planted mechanically and then about 10,000 grains are added by hand. After that, all that remains is to wait for the corn to grow. When the plants start to come up, the finishing touches are put to the design by hand, stalk by stalk, to correct any imperfections. So it’s a painstaking process. But the results are spectacular!
How big is the maze and how many plants are needed?
Some 900,000 grains of corn are planted to form the giant pattern designed by our architect. The end result is a maze of 90,000 square metres – that’s nearly one million square feet. In farming terms, this corresponds to 9 hectares – or 22 acres – of land. To get a better idea, that’s about the size of 17 football fields. Truly a gigantic maze!
Who are the artists that bring The Labyrinth to life?
The original scenario for the 2010 Labyrinth was written by Hélène Lefranc, after the book by Lewis Carroll. The sets were created by Jackie Morin, while Geneviève Beauchamp coordinated costume design. The Labyrinth is also an original interactive performance, directed by Pascal Contamine. Throughout the summer, 24 actors take turns to play the 8 colourful characters concealed in the depths of the maze.
Tips and advice to make your visit more enjoyable
- On sunny days, don’t forget hats, caps and sunscreen for protection. There are relatively few shaded areas on the site.
- The paths of The Labyrinth are covered with wood chips. For your comfort, we recommend that you wear closed-toed shoes rather than sandals.
- Plant mazes are very fragile. Please keep to the paths and do not try to shortcut through the corn; keep looking – the right path is never very far away! Out of consideration for other visitors, please do not pull off the corn ears. This variety of corn is not for human consumption.
- Please respect the actors you meet in the maze and do not bother them during the scenes. Be courteous with them – it is the least they deserve. By taking part in the animation you’ll enjoy yourself even more!
- Each scene is played again after 8 minutes. Please respect the actors’ breaks. If they are not there when you arrive at a set, wait patiently – they’ll be back after their short rest.
- It is strictly forbidden to touch the sets.
- The park remains open if it has rained, but we recommend you wear sturdy footwear. In case of heavy rain, we invite you to call 514-248-9975 to check opening times.
- Please do not litter the site: keep your trash with you until you reach a trash can. The site is entirely natural and must remain clean and pleasant at all times.
- Please note that the tap water on the site is not potable.
- We regret that animals are not admitted to the site.
- Please do not smoke at The Labyrinth.
- If you don’t understand French, just ask the comedians to switch to English.
What happens to the corn when The Labyrinth closes?
At the end of the season, the corn is harvested as it would be on any other farm. It is then used to feed livestock in the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu area. Over 70% of the field’s surface will be cultivated as usual. Only the planting method differs. Harvesting takes place at the beginning of October. The harvest provides several dozens of tons of winter feed for the livestock.
Is The Labyrinth Arctic Gardens environmentally friendly?
The Labyrinth site is first and foremost a corn field. We want to preserve this natural environment. This means that all the installations in the park are temporary (marquees, tents, portable trailers) and are removed at the end of the season. We also take great care to preserve the soil, especially through our choice of fertilizers, so as to protect the environment and ensure that the land retains all its agricultural qualities. We sow certified non-GMO corn.