News / Toronto

Six 'bee hotels' fit for a queen open for the summer in Toronto

Two kilometres of West Queen West has been turned into a 'pollinator's paradise', with 70 planters added a part of Toronto's new 'Bee City' initiative.

The hotels are designed to recreate natural bee habitats.

Eduardo Lima/Metro / Metro Order this photo

The hotels are designed to recreate natural bee habitats.

A new West Queen West hotel is generating some buzz with exclusive listings for busy bees looking for a place to rest their wings.

The neighbourhood's Business Improvement Association has constructed six "bee hotels" along a stretch of Queen Street from Bathurst Street to Gladstone Avenue to help the insects find a place to nest during the summer.

"They do look like a bird house," said BIA executive director Rob Sysak, adding they're perched about eight feet off the ground on poles made from reclaimed wood.

"You can see people walking and all of a sudden take a double take."

The hotels will serve "solitary bees" that don't have hives in the city, Sysak said.

The BIA is trying to contribute to Toronto's new designation as a "Bee City," Sysak said, adding 70 planters to turn two kilometres of West Queen West into a "pollinator's paradise."

Andrew Roy, head gardener at Restorative Landscapes, the company hired to design and install the bee hotels, hopes people will be inspired to make things more hospitable in their own backyards.

"It's what you can do in your own garden, creating habitat, whether by building your own bee hotel or by gardening messy," he said.

"When we manicure everything, then there's no habitat."

Toronto officially became Canada's first bee city in early 2016, with council approval and a successful application to non-profit Bee City Canada. The title signifies a commitment to protect urban pollinators, which have been in sharp decline across Canada.

Local businesses have stepped up to help, including Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill where management recently installed hives on the roof.

"Hopefully we can be one of the first bee BIAs," said Sysak with a laugh.

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