How urban beehives at Westboro Connection contributes to biodiversity and sustainability
What is World Bee Day?
World Bee Day is a special occasion for residents, staff, and beekeepers at Westboro Connection. The mixed-use property is home to three urban beehives, installed on the rooftop of the Westboro and Hintonburg Connection buildings. UN designates May 20 as World Bee Day to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators. The day also acknowledges the bees’ contribution to sustainable development and highlights the increasing threat to their existence.
Beekeeping – it's all the buzz
Our beekeeping partner Alveole, The Urban Beekeeping Company, helps us to keep the buzz alive by actively monitoring and managing the hive’s health. The installation of the urban beehives at Westboro Connection reflects the values of our residents. The hives connect our residents with nature, support biodiversity and allow us to give back to the community. Supporting biodiversity is an integral component of the sustainability program at our properties.
Our bees support biodiversity, breakfast, and community
Last year, our rooftop beehives produced about 450 jars of honey – nearly 150 from each hive – all sold to residents with the proceeds donated to Pollinator Partnership, a registered charity committed to the cause of protecting and promoting pollinators and their ecosystems. The enthusiastic participation of the residents in the Honey Sale event demonstrated their support for the cause and excitement on having live beehives on the roof of their buildings.
The urban beehives are not only a great way for Westboro Connection residents to enjoy this local treat, but they are also an effective educational tool and promotes positive attitudes toward conserving biodiversity and respecting the ecosystem. The team at Westboro Connection believes that it is a special way to bring together residents and highlight the issues related to the environment, industrial agriculture, pollination and greening while producing premium local, artisanal honey.
Who keeps the bees buzzing?
In our conversation with Jean-Simon Daigle, a beekeeper from Alveole, he shared the numerous benefits of keeping urban beehives. “Bees pollinate from a five-kilometre radius meaning they will support food and flower growth in the vicinity, plus they will help maintain natural habitats and have a favorable impact on the surrounding ecosystem.”
Pollinators are responsible for keeping more than 130 fruits and vegetables producing so that we have a steady stream of fresh produce on our tables. Almonds, apples, blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, and avocados are a few examples of the crops that are completely dependent on pollinating insects. Yet they face enormous threats from pesticides used in industrial agriculture as well as the impact of climate change. Our community can ensure their survival by protecting and preserving pollinator habitats.
Alveole and Westboro Connection work together to create a safe environment for the bees. And we help residents make a difference by providing free-bee workshops focused on bee education and by wrapping up the season with the much-anticipated honey harvest.
World Bee Day is a significant day for Westboro Connection residents and our management team. It is one way that we strengthen sustainability initiatives, show our commitment to biodiversity, and give back to our community.
Here are a few ways to contribute to the celebration:
- Plant a diverse set of plants that flower at different times of the year;
- Buy raw honey from local farmers and markets;
- Buy products from farmers using sustainable agricultural practices;
- Avoid using pesticides, fungicides or herbicides in your garden or planter;
- Sponsor a hive;
- Make a bee water fountain by leaving a water bowl outside;
- Raise awareness about the importance of bees.