This garden is an excellent example of re-purposing an existing outdoor space to create a garden that is both educational and environmentally responsible. In response to the growing interest in the essential role that honey bees and other pollinators play in a healthy natural environment and food system, the TBG redeveloped the former library garden to support more intensive bee activity. As part of our education program, the original garden was replanted with a combination of native and non-native shrubs, perennials, annuals and flowering bulbs to provide all-season colour, pollen and nectar. In the spring of 2011, two hives of honeybees were added to this garden. In the intervening time, the honey bee colonies have grown and expanded to five working hives.
Although visitors to the TBG do not have direct access to the Pollinator Garden and bee yard, they can observe the daily activity of the busy bees from large glass doors in the Weston Family Library or from the observation windows in the Moriyama Link. The bees are cared for by TBG staff, students of Urban Beekeeping classes and a provincial bee inspector. These honey bees join a variety of other native bees and pollinators to work the Pollinator Garden that surrounds the hives as well as the TBG gardens, Edwards Gardens and the nearby ravine system. TBG beekeepers check the hives every 10 days from April to October to ensure they are doing well.
- The Pollinator Garden showcases a carefully selected combination of native and non-native shrubs, perennials, annuals and flowering bulbs to provide all-season colour and source of pollen and nectar in both sun and shade conditions. Click here for a full listing of plants in this garden and a list of other bee-friendly plants for your garden.
- The physical hives were built and are maintained by students in the Urban Beekeeping classes.
- In 2014, TBG began offering Toronto’s first Certificate in Urban Beekeeping to students who had taken the complete series and successfully pass an in-class and in-hive Proficiency test.
- After the first season, a combined harvest of 65 lbs of honey was harvested from both of the hives. Last season over 200 lbs of honey was harvested from five hives. A limited supply of honey is sold through the TBG shop.
- Any beeswax harvested from the hives is collected and used to make the TBG Bee Soaps, available for sale in the TBG shop.
- This project was incubated through a generous donation by The Home Depot Canada and the support of the Toronto Beekeepers Co-operative.
- Want to learn more about our bees? Check out TBG’s Bee FAQ.