August 9, 2014 4:32 pm
Updated: June 3, 2015 4:31 pm

A beekeeper’s paradise in NDG


Watch above: Matt Trowell has been taking care of Jardin Rencontres in NDG for almost ten years now and he’s hoping to create a bee sanctuary there by adding his own hive. Rachel Lau tells you what the buzz is all about.

MONTREAL – Matt Trowell has been taking care of Jardin Rencontres in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) for almost ten years.

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Now, he wants to start something a little different.

“They have a sanctuary here and there are countless people creating a kind of arc or sanctuary or refuge here in the city for the bees,” he said.

Bees thrive in what keepers call an urban jungle.

In fact, there are already hives in about 250 locations across the island. Trowell hopes to add his own.

“There’s a huge trend in urban agriculture in Montreal,” explained Alexandre McLean, the co-founder of Alveole urban agriculture.

“[The trend] uses unused spaces such as rooftops or balconies that we don’t really use on a daily basis to start growing our own vegetables and become a little more independent with our food source.”

READ MORE: Garden centre flowers test positive for pesticide harmful to bees: study

According to Trowell, there are no actual bylaws stopping him from keeping bees, but he does have to keep in touch with his borough every step of the way.

“I’m doing the best I can,” he said.

“I’ve consulted as many people as I can find and we’ve all done our research and an overwhelming majority of the gardeners are in favour of this project.”

NDG City Councillor Peter McQueen points out he’s in favour of any project that enhances Montreal sustainability.

“Both the borough and our party, Projet Montreal at city hall, we support urban agriculture strongly including the beehives, which is of course key to urban agriculture,” said McQueen.

He wants to do what he can to help Trowell’s beekeeping dream come true.

“The more vegetation we have, the more greenery we have, the more planted matter we have in Montreal the better off we’ll be,” said Trowell.

WATCH: Jamie Orchard live from NDG

Most of the gardeners on the plot say they’re looking forward to sharing their space – 39 of the 40 gardeners have already approved the project.

“We think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Elliot Singerman.

“I think it’s great,” agreed Jeannette Singerman. “Very excited about it.”

The project is also an effort to demystify some of the misconceptions about urban beekeeping.

“We’re keeping bees on rooftops and we don’t wear any protection when we open the hives because they’re very, very docile,” said McLean.

“They won’t attack you, they won’t sting you if you don’t harm them.”

There’s still a lot to do before this hive will come to life, but Trowell says he’s ready to take on the challenge.

“It’s be not afraid, be sweet, be free,” he said.

“That’s how I feel. It’s a joy. For me it’s a joy.”

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