Thirty years ago, on road 8 in the beautiful village of Ham-Nord , the ecovillage « La Cité Écologique » was born. Thanks to Michel Deunov Cornellier, a great pioneer and visionary in the education field, the dream he cherished when he was young became a reality. In 1983, this trained teacher organized a summer camp for children totally based on the respect of nature. The experiment was crowned with such a success that children asked for more! In fact, they literally wanted to live this teaching all year long. They asked Michel Deunov Cornellier to build a school for them in the heart of the countryside. With the parents’ involvement as the main basis, he agreed to lay down the foundation stone of a project that would become, 30 years later, Quebec Province’s largest ecovillage.
During the year 1984, Ham-Nord villagers were surprised to see this strange gathering of families and young adults, with boots on their feet and tools at the waist, rising homes and buildings on road 8. Skilled workers and professionals exchanged their expertise in a shared vision of mutual help, solidarity and sustainable development. A great synergy started blooming! This foremost educational project was innovative. The school now still works closely with the regional Board of Education and is recognized by the Ministry of Education. In this stimulating and balanced ecosystem, parents had to participate actively in the new school.
The establishment of businesses on the site of the ecovillage proved to be the best solution, creating jobs and providing a great learning platform for young people. The fields covered by the companies were diversified, such as organic farming, health services, ready-to-eat meals, bakery, forest management, etc. With the enthusiasm of the second generation, other businesses started emerging through the years: Kheops International, Respecterre, La Ferme Bio-Maraîchère, Forest Distribution, Fabrication Smart Energy, EnergyTerre, My Second Chance…
In 2003, the group expanded. A few families and some young people settled in United States in New Hampshire and Kheops International became a major flourishing company. By then, the Universal School of Life was still continuing to educate children in nature and was enriched by the contact with a new culture. This school is also approved by the NH Department of Education.
In the late 2000s, the Ecovillage opened its doors to the international alternative world and got involved in the GEN (Global Ecovillage Network). Exchanges with other communities began. In June 2011, the Annual General Meeting of Ecovillages in Canada took place with great success in the ecovillage La Cité Écologique.
Since 2009, an interactive and well established internship program has been available internationally. In 2014, La Cité Écologique has proudly celebrated its 30th anniversary. And in 2015, the first Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) course was offered, straightening the platform for sustainable educational activities in the ecovillage and its new learning center : CAP Eco-Community.