The Edmonton EXPO Centre is already home to the Stingers, and now it is officially home to the bees. As a newly licensed City of Edmonton urban beekeeping facility, the Edmonton EXPO Centre has welcomed two hives of honeybees to its roof.
Each hive holds a colony of approximately 20,000 bees, and the colonies are expected to grow in numbers as they settle into their new home on the venue’s rooftop. The beehives will enhance the current sustainability initiatives of the Edmonton EXPO Centre by contributing to a resilient local food and agriculture system. Not only will the bees provide honey for the Edmonton EXPO Centre’s culinary initiatives, but the addition of hives also provides a home for bees in a time where the bee population needs support. The presence of bees at the venue additionally allows opportunities for education to the 1.5 million guests who visit each year.
“One of our goals at the Edmonton EXPO Centre is to be environmentally conscious and sustainable,” says Jiju Paul, Executive Chef for the Edmonton EXPO Centre. “Having our own beehives can help us learn and educate others about the importance of bees while improving the environment around us. Our Edmonton EXPO Centre culinary team is also excited about the opportunities to use bee products such as raw honey and beeswax in our kitchen.”
The hives will be located on the rooftop of the Edmonton EXPO Centre ballrooms to eliminate the risk of interaction with guests at the venue, and they will be managed by beekeeper Dustin Bajer. Bajer has over 10 years of experience in handling bees and is a beekeeping instructor who is responsible for the care and maintenance of the beehives at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. He also teaches City of Edmonton approved beekeeping courses at the John Janzen Nature Centre in Edmonton’s River Valley.