Honeybees at the COC


The Canadian Opera Company is delighted to be part of the ever-growing support of honeybees, Currently we host seven hives onthe roof of our opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Follow the honeybees' progress on Parlando, with visits and posts from beekeeper Fred Davis!

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All A-Buzz

The honeybees have landed! It's a big day for us here at the Canadian Opera Company and the media were present as we welcomed several thousand new residents on the roof of our opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Here's some background:

Over the past few years you may have heard about the alarming decline in bee populations in North America. There are many theories as to why, but possibly Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is at the heart of it. Approximately one third of all food products come from plants which require pollination by honeybees, from apples to almonds, onions to zucchini. Without bees these crops are in trouble!

When beekeeper Fred Davis approached the COC about placing hives on the roof of our opera house, we were most intrigued! Fred explained what a perfect spot it was for urban bees, being so close to the flowering plants at City Hall, Osgoode Hall and the University Avenue median. Even the Toronto Islands fall within the 5km radius of the bees flight paths.  With the Toronto Beekeepers Co-operative Fred has worked with bee hives at the Brickworks and the Royal York Hotel (which has six hives on its roof). Two of Fred's own hives live at Casa Loma.

Our honeybees will help diversify the types of species of pollinators and plants that currently live in the area, and we feel it's another way to be a - literally - vital part of our community.

For now there are just two bee hives on the roof of the Four Seasons Centre and they were installed on April 25. The hives are not accessible, but they are visible from the glass door on the north side of the Isadore and Rosalie Sharpe City Room on Ring 4 which looks out to the roof top.

We hope everyone is as excited about this new adventure as we are. Bees are vital to the planet and we’d like to help them. In future posts we'll show the arrival of the honeybees and share some amazing facts about these remarkable little creatures.

Please come back and visit as we'll be keeping this blog updated with fascinating bee facts and - most importantly - updates on our bees!


Posted by Gianna Wichelow / in Welcome / comments (9) / permalink

Alidë (5/19/2010 7:57:27 PM)
Love this idea. I live in the country, but we have noticed how few bees there are these days. Let me say, though, it isn't just in North America that bees are in short supply. Continental Europe is experiencing the same shortage as we are, and there are parts of China where now fruit trees are patiently pollinated by hand - there is enough cheap labor to do so - because of the dying out of honey bees in these areas. So, welcome bees at the COC. Maybe some day we'll get to buy their fruits of labor at the gift shop.
Michael Kleinman (5/19/2010 8:27:43 PM)
What a terrific idea - kudos to the COC and Mr. Davis... Fred Davis for Mayor!
Martin Decelles (5/19/2010 10:11:43 PM)
What a great Idea!!! Bravo all and I hope Montreal will be able to follow in your steps soon. I just had to push this buzzing news to Montrealers on my Twitter http://twitter.com/berriuqam A+ Toronto
Tim (5/19/2010 10:47:26 PM)
This is so exciting! Let`s see, this year was the COC premiere of the Nightingale. Now we need an opera about "the birds and the bees." lol
Gianna Wichelow (5/21/2010 3:04:19 PM)
Thank you all for your interest, and some excellent suggestions!
Lynn Doherty (6/2/2010 2:38:43 PM)
Dear Fred, Would it be possible to visit the rooftop?
Gianna Wichelow (6/2/2010 6:29:22 PM)
Hi Lynn: We've had some requests from the public to see the bees. The Four Seasons Centre itself is only accessible to the public during performances and building tours. Even then, you can only see the bees from a glass door on Ring 4, as the roof is inaccessible for safety reasons. So, next time you're at the opera house, check out the bees through the door, and you'll see them lazily flying around their hives.
Beelover (6/13/2012 8:42:48 PM)
I can taste that delicious honey!!! How many other opera houses have beehives on their rooftops or ground?
Gianna Wichelow (6/28/2012 12:56:55 PM)
Thanks, Beelover! Apparently only the Paris Opera has bees on their roof, 25 the last time I checked, which is very impressive.


Honey Nutritional Information

Read the nutritional guidelines for the FSC Honeybees Honey!