Savour Food Savour Life – @calgaryfoodtour is Calgary’s newest beekeeper with a lot of help from @YYCbees

Calgary Food Tours keeps bees - we're in it for the honey and for our community
Calgary Food Tours keeps bees – we’re in it for the honey and for our community

One of my ways of being is to savour my food and savour my life. I can’t do one without the other. I try to balance my love of both.

I love honey and bees symbolize for me the universal connection between food and life. The fact that bees are not doing well and that beekeepers everywhere are losing them in great numbers is a harbinger for me. I don’t like what the loss of bees heralds. I don’t like the disruption in nature’s delicate balance that it means.

I’m a believer in the art of contributing to life in small ways with the faith that my actions, however small, will make a big difference if enough of us would only do those small things. When it comes to savouring food and contributing to a healthy food system for my home in Alberta, Canada I decided that getting involved with beekeeping might be a small way that I can make a difference where the fate of bees is concerned. This blog is about me, my company Calgary Food Tours Inc. and the bees we are nurturing for our community, our food, and our life.

You can read all about my involvement with Calgary’s Bees for Communities here.

Each month I will receive a report card on my two bee hives and I will post them on this blog under the category of CFTinc’s Bees4Communities. What follows are some photos of my bees and their first report card.

June Calgary Food Tours Inc. Progress Summary

Eliese Watson of Bees for communities loading my bees in Saskatchewan for the trip to Calgary
Eliese Watson of Bees for Communites loading my bees in Saskatchewan for the trip to Calgary

With the recent arrival of Calgary Food Tours’ honeybee colonies, the beekeeping season has official begun! A.B.C sourced CFT’s hives from Tony Lalond’s apiary east of Saskatoon. Unfortunately, Saskatchewan experienced a particularly long and cold winter, resulting in a slow start to spring. Typically, nucs (starter honeybee colonies) can be installed by late May, however, these bees were not strong enough to be moved until the second week of June. Geoff Wilson, Saskatchewan’s Provincial Apiculturist inspected the hives before they were transported into Alberta and declared them to be disease and mite-free.

My Shouldice Community Garden bee hive will be used for education of backyard beekeeping apprentices all this summer
My Shouldice Community Garden bee hive will be used for education of backyard beekeeping apprentices all this summer

The first hive, Calgary Food Tours Inc. #1 – ‘Hive’ School – Home of the Nectar-ines, was moved to its home at River Run in Shouldice Park on June 9th. The location has vast river and park access, which should provide ample foraging opportunities for the bees. The location of the apiary, close to Bowness, also means that this hive will be part of the Home2Hive Bicycle tours this summer! These tours will introduce people to the enchanting world of beekeeping through guided observation and inspection.

Night time arrival of my bees at Downtown Food Restaurant's rooftop garden
Night time arrival of my bees at Downtown Food Restaurant’s rooftop garden

The second hive, Calgary Food Tours Inc. #2 – A Tasty Bees-ness, was installed as part of the rooftop garden at the restaurant Downtown Food. Beekeeping in an urban jungle is not a new thing; there have been rooftop hives in cities such as New York and Paris for years. However, there are still special considerations in urban cores, such as wind tunnel effects and access to vegetation, which require hives to be closely monitored to ensure that the bees are not struggling unnecessarily. This hive should not have any issues though, as it is in a relatively sheltered location and is less than a kilometer from both the Bow and Elbow river valleys, not to mention many park spaces. It is also part of the important YYC Urban Agriculture Project which features over 500 square feet of garden complete with the rooftop apiary CFTinc’s bees are a part of, a solar-powered drip irrigation system and over 30 different herbs, vegetables and fruits. This is described in more detail here.

We are thrilled to have Calgary Food Tours Inc. as part the Bees4Communities project. Their participation has allowed us to increase awareness of honeybees and local food and to explore the challenges and many benefits of keeping honeybees in the very heart of the city.

Meet a few of my bees! I'm so proud of them. If my queens perform they could have 60,000 little honey makers in each colony
Meet a few of my bees!
I’m so proud of them. If my queens perform they could have 60,000 little honey makers in each colony

Thanks to Eliese Watson, beekeeper extraordinaire and coordinator Stacey Cedergren for my first report. I’m looking forward to taking part in some of the fun educational projects they have planned this summer and I am really looking forward to seeing how much honey I might be gifted with by my hard-working queen and her bees. I’ll savour every drop of liquid golden life.


  1. Rita Morelli

    Those that are involved with this program are so very lucky to be able to have a integral part of nature and a very needed and necessary production, honey, from what I have loved since I was a youngster, the honey bee, any type of bees. I wish I lived in a location so that I too could participate in such a wonderful program. I do, however, worry about the safety of the bees regarding the rooftop garden environment. All I can say is bless their little hearts for all the work they do, the incredible health product,……honey that they work so hard to make. I recently signed a petition with Avaaz a huge credible org. the stopped the Govt. in Africa from using Pesticides that would virtually killed off all of the bee population, thanks to all that signed the extremely effective petition that Avaaz fought for. If there is anything that I could do to help in this endeavor please let me know.God Bless y’all in helping to keep the bee population up and hope to increase it.

    1. Karen Anderson

      Thanks for reading my blog Rita and for your insights and knowledge about the status of bees. We may have lost our Bowness hive due to this incredible flood disaster Calgary is experiencing. Eliese Watson, my hive manager, did her best to save them but we’ll see if the ground she moved them to was indeed high enough. Looks like the rooftop location is not so bad afterall.
      Yours in bees,

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