New urban beehives buzzing at Ottawa’s former Union Station

News release

Government of Canada helps bring back bees while greening Senate of Canada Building

June 19, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Public Services and Procurement Canada

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, announced the installation of 13 beehives on the grounds of the Senate of Canada Building.

This project is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to protect and safeguard the environment for generations to come. The beehives are found in the nation’s capital and pay homage to the importance of pollinators across the country. Each of the 13 beehives features the flag of a different province or territory. The flags on the hives help the bees find their way to their home hive.

The beehives are one of the many ways that Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) integrated environmental features while it restored and modernized the Senate of Canada Building. Greening initiatives included diverting construction waste from landfills, installing water-conserving plumbing and energy-efficient lighting, improving insulation as well as upgrading to energy-efficient building systems.

This exciting project is made possible by a partnership with the Fairmont Château Laurier. Fairmont has a long standing program of installing beehives at its properties. The hives are located at the Senate of Canada Building and are being maintained by the Fairmont Château Laurier. Canadians and tourists alike will be able to enjoy this local honey at the hotel’s restaurants.

Additional multimedia

Helping bees, helping the environment (Transcript)


“The beehives are an example of how we are taking the environment into account while restoring and modernizing the heritage buildings on and around Parliament Hill. I am proud of the work that we are doing to restore these spaces for generations to come and make them safer, more accessible and greener.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

“Protecting nature and fighting climate change is the challenge of our generation. There are currently one million species facing extinction around the world. This exciting urban beehive initiative builds on our efforts to increase the bee population and green our nation’s capital. We recognize the important role that bees play in our local ecosystem and are finding innovative ways to ensure they thrive and are protected.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“This project allows us to build on our commitment to providing bees with a home to pollinate area gardens and parks. By harvesting the honey, our chef can offer local menu items to visiting guests and patrons. The rich history between the two buildings has allowed for a wonderful cross-pollination project.”

Rick Corcoran
General Manager, Fairmont Château Laurier

Quick facts

  • 100,000 bees moved in to the hives on May 29, 2019. The population could grow to more than 650,000, which will help pollinate plants in Ottawa’s parks and gardens.

  • The announcement coincides with Pollinator Week, an international celebration of the important role that bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles play in our ecosystem.

  • The Senate of Canada Building and the Château Laurier were originally built between 1909 and 1912 as the Grand Trunk Railway station and hotel. The beehive installation creates an additional link between both historic buildings.

  • The restoration of the Senate of Canada Building created about 1,400 good middle-class jobs for construction workers, skilled tradespeople, engineers, architects and other suppliers.

  • PSPC prepared a suitable space to house the beehives at the exterior of the building and covered the costs of building the hives.

  • Unlike wasps and hornets, honey bees are not aggressive. Urban beehives are safe when managed by skilled beekeepers. These beehives are well back from the public, behind a fence and vegetation.

Associated links


Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations
Public Services and Procurement Canada

Deneen Perrin
Director of Public Relations
Fairmont Château Laurier

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