On May 29, 2019, the Senate of Canada installed 13 honeybee beehives on top of the building.

The 13 hives represent the 13 Canadian provinces and initially contained around 100,000 bees 🐝.

13 beehives representing the 13 Canadian provinces at the Senate of Canada
13 Beehives representing the 13 Canadian provinces at the Senate of Canada

The joint project with Fairmont ChΓ’teau Laurier Hotel was a sustainability initiative to highlight the importance of bees and the dangers we face, should bee populations die out.

"We thought that maybe it's a way to raise awareness on the importance of bees in an urban environment β€” and to educate people about the importance of a healthy bee population."
Thierry Montpetit, senior director of the National Capital Region at Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Additionally, Fairmont ChΓ’teau Laurier uses the honey collected from the Senate of Canada hives for dishes served at the hotel.

It has been a year since the installation of the hives and we're pleased to report, the bees are thriving. The initial 100,000 have grown to approximately 750,000 strong! 🧑🐝

Beehive with Yukon territory flag at the Senate of Canada
Yukon's representative beehive at Senate of Canada

Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver Beehive Initiative

This initiative is not a new idea for Fairmont Hotels. The company has beehives installed on the roofs of its hotels across Canada.

One of the major success stories of Fairmont's beehive initiative is the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver.

View this post on Instagram

We currently live in a world that is changing rapidly – by the day and by the hour. As we navigate through these times of change and uncertainty, we do so with the safety of both our loyal and valued guests and employees as our highest priority. We must support our local authorities as they work to halt the spread of COVID-19. And so, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close the doors of our hotel. Effective Tuesday, March 24 at 12:00pm PT, this also includes ARC restaurant and bar. This certainly isn’t goodbye, it is farewell for now. We’ll be in touch with updates through our website and social channels, to ensure that our dedicated community is informed, connected and supported through these trying times. We’ll be back as soon as we can, and look forward to welcoming each of you in the near future!

A post shared by Fairmont Waterfront (@fairmontwaterfront) on

In 1996, the Fairmont Waterfront was one of the first hotels in Canada to introduce a "green roof." πŸ‘ Complete with a vegetable garden to produce food for guests.

In 2008, the hotel introduced honeybees to help with pollination and as an additional food source.

The hotel harvests around 200 pounds of honey from its 250,000 bees and sources an additional 400 pounds from Hives for Humanity.

Fairmont Waterfront uses the honey as a condiment for guests but also in their signature burnt honey ice cream 🀀, desserts, salad dressings, and more.

In addition, Fairmont Waterfront has partnered with Bridge Brewing and Wayward Distillery to create honey-based drinks.

Bridge Brewing is a Vancouver-based zero-waste (99% waste-free to be more precise) brewery. The brewery makes a honey Kâlsch for Fairmont Waterfront, aptly named Rooftop Buzz Beer 🍺.

Wayward Distillery, known for its honey-infused spirits, created the Waterfront West Coast Wild Gin 🍸, a spiced honey liqueur, and strawberry basil liqueur for Fairmont Waterfront.

Conclusion

Stories like these show just how vital growing native plants in urban areas can be for the survival of bees. And, when we humans get a little creative, we're able to grow and harvest food in city centers πŸ¨πŸ‘¨β€πŸŒΎ.

The best thing we can do in our homes is to create an environment for bees 🐝 and other pollinators πŸ¦‹ to flourish.

Even if you live in an apartment building, try to find a place for a few native plants to help local birds and pollinators. Encourage your neighbors to do the same or even try to find out about creating a rooftop garden.

Your efforts might not produce food or honey for yourself. But, if everyone made a small effort like planting flowers, the collective impact could be huge. Not just for pollinators, but for our environment as a whole.

Don't wait for someone else to save the world. Start by taking action yourself. Lead by example, and others will follow 😁.