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!
Inspired by a bee hive hanging from a tree, this structure travelled around the city to community events and conferences, before ending up in its permanent outdoor home at Toronto Botanical Garden.
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. The construction was integrated into a community workshop, to invite the public into contributing to the initiative at a local level. As a result of the project, 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. The project continued in 2015 to a nation-wide expansion with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
"Condos for bees are creating a buzz...Awareness is what this is all about. And following awareness, hopefully, is action."
S.TO partnered with Dixon Hall's Mill Centre, one of two social enterprise services to support employment training for at-risk youth, to construct the five bee hotels.
At Black Creek Pioneer Village, the red bee hotels, inspired by the iconic Monopoly house tokens, sit contrasting amongst the tall grass.
A hill-like structure sits in a vast field in Guelph, at the newly developed Pollinator Park.
On the rooftop of the Fairmont Royal York hotel, the skyline is reflected into the largest bee hotel constructed.