Wild for Bees

An Educational Initiative for Native and Urban Pollinators. The design of the 5 bee hotels aims at creating location-specific artistic gestures that inspire DIY efforts using urban waste. Just like native wild bees – as opposed to honey bees – we created pieces that could be built by the general public, while adding aesthetic value to key locations across the GTA.


For the inaugural year of a national campaign in support of pollinator health, design and construct five wild bee hotels.

Rapidly facing population decline, the bee hotels strengthen the urban ecology by providing nesting spaces for solitary bees. For the Wild for Bees campaign, the five structures were sited across the Greater Toronto Area and built entirely from recycled urban material. The design intent created a site-specific aesthetic for the educational initiative centered on pollinator health. We wanted to show that bee habitats can be beautiful and easy to build in your own backyard!

As part of the SUSTAINABLE.TO team, I managed the design, build, and installation of the five bee hotels. Most structures were built in collaboration with youth from at-risk neighbourhoods, and travelled to local farmer's markets and events, such as 100in1Day, as part of the GTA-wide educational campaign. In some cases, the construction was integrated into a community workshop to invite the public into the campaign.

S.TO was named the 2014 Pollinator Advocate for Canada, and a subsequent project, DIY Backyard Bee Hotels, was named the winner of the David Suzuki Foundation's Homegrown National Park Design Challenge.

"Condos for bees are creating a buzz" (Globe and Mail, June 2014)
"DIY bee hotels and an alleyway forest for Toronto" (Canadian Architect, July 2014)

  • Category: Design-Build Campaign
  • Client: Fairmont Hotel and Resorts, Pollinator Partnership Canada, and Burt's Bees
  • Date: June 2014
  • Team: Paul Dowsett, Andrew Stiffman, Joel Anderson (SUSTAINABLE.TO)