Our Story

It's about communities working together to protect pollinators and preserve the beauty of nature.
Photo courtesy Stephanie Lam

Bee City Canada’s story begins in 2015, when our founder, Shelly Candel, first learned about the outstanding work of Bee City USA while visiting Oregon.

Inspired by their success and the idea that cities can become champions for pollinators, she returned home determined to find a way to engage Canadian cities, towns and other communities in this important cause.

The idea of a Bee City caught on right away with Toronto City Council voting unanimously to become the first Bee City in Canada in March 2016.

Other notable milestones:

  • 2016 – The Bee City Schools program is introduced. Canadore College and Tredway Woodsworth Public School are recognized as the first Canadian Bee Schools.
  • 2017 – Bee City Canada becomes a federally registered charitable organization.
  • 2017 – The Bee City Partner program launches, recognizing socially responsible businesses, non-profit groups and other organizations that are working to protect pollinators. West Queen West becomes the first designated Bee Partner.
  • 2019 Bee City Canada reaches 100 City, Campus, School and Business partners!
  • 2020 Bee City Canada becomes a signature program of Pollinator Partnership Canada.
  • 2021 Bee Schools Virtual Learning launches, offering a look into the wonderful world of bees to students in JK to grade 6.

By the end of 2021, over 150 cities, schools, campuses and businesses have joined us, underscoring that Bee City’s message has resonated with Canadians and that communities across the country are ready to take action to protect our pollinators and preserve the beauty of nature.

(left to right) Toronto City Councillor Michelle Holland and Shelly Candel, founder of Bee City Canada.
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