Innovation That Matters

More urban beekeeping, this time atop a Toronto hotel

Travel & Tourism

No sooner did we post our story about Fortnum & Mason’s rooftop beekeeping effort in London than one of our readers alerted us to a similar one under way across the ocean. This time, it’s atop a Toronto hotel, and the resulting honey is being used to supply the hotel’s restaurant kitchen. Last summer the Fairmont Royal York hotel installed a three-hive apiary 14 stories up above the streets of Toronto. Affectionately named the Honey Moon Suite, The Royal Sweet and The V.I.Bee Suite, the three hives are home to as many queens and their accompanying entourage of more than 10,000 other bees, each of whom forages for nectar in the hotel’s decade-old rooftop herb garden and on nearby Toronto Island. The apiary was established in partnership with the Toronto Beekeepers Cooperative and FoodShare, and is a natural extension of the hotel’s herb garden, Executive Chef David Garcelon says. It’s also part of the hotel’s commitment to sustainable hotel management through its Green Partnership program. Garcelon explains: “You can’t find a supplier much closer than your own roof. Our colonies deliver irresistible honey for our guests, while promoting our ecological commitment to bee culture.” The three hives had produced a total of 378 pounds of honey by last fall and won 2nd place in the Liquid Honey Amber category at the 86th annual Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in November. Response from hotel patrons, meanwhile—who can learn about the source of the hotel’s honey via the restaurant menu and also via its monthly audio podcasts—has been so positive that the hotel plans to install three more hives this summer. Similar efforts are also under way at The Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, and The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver. All of which, of course, is further proof that consumers love things that are (still) made here, wherever that may be. One part hyperlocal production, one part storytelling skill, and you’ve got a winning recipe for sweet success! 😉 Spotted by: Dana



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