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Urban beekeeping at Royalmount, an engaging and eco-responsible project




The goal of Alévole and Royalmount’s partnership is to support the project’s sustainability efforts by creating and revitalizing natural spaces in urban areas while contributing to the protection of our precious pollinators. By recognizing the positive link between nature and the well-being of communities, this unifying project makes a clear and concrete contribution to urban greening while providing a sustained and healthy habitat for bees.


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Royalmount and Alvéole : creating a greener and more inspiring city, together

The creators of the project are breathing new life into a neighborhood that’s dedicated to the preservation of nature by transforming a neglected piece of land into a harmonious environment where flowers and bees can thrive. Highlights of this awareness-raising initiative include the connection between city dwellers and bees, not to mention the production of hyper-local honey, making Royalmount a place that reflects the environmental values of so many Montrealers. 

Turning urban environments is havens where bees can nest

Since the use of pesticides is regulated, limited and even prohibited in Montreal, the city is an ideal home for winged insects. According to Julie Lorrain, the beekeeper responsible for the four colonies at Royalmount that are home to 50,000 bees: “In the countryside, around fields where there are many pesticides, bees are in contact with these toxic agents that are found everywhere in the soil, water and plants. This creates a monoculture, which weakens ecosystems by eliminating biodiversity. This becomes a problem for bees, who need a varied diet. The floral diversity found in the city is wider, which makes it so interesting.”

Shining a light on lesser-known environmental issues

On a broader level, this collaboration is a unique opportunity to bring an important environmental issue to people’s attention. “[It allows people to] become aware of the global impact of monoculture and the disappearance of natural habitats, which disrupt the balance of living things. We’re given a privileged contact that allows us to recover nature and connect to it, allowing us to question our cultural methods and understand the crucial role of green spaces in an urban environment,” says Lorrain.

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When the revitalization of a former industrial site becomes a home for bees

While pursuing a sustainable and eco-responsible approach to development, the Royalmount project seeks to revitalize a former industrial site. Attentive to the needs and desires of its community, Royalmount has established this partnership with Alvéole in order to give nature back all the space it deserves. 

Establishing their home on a neglected site means that the bees can flourish off a wide variety of flowers and an abundance of trees that provide shade all around their home. Since the start of the season, the hives have yielded a healthy production, confirming that the environment is suitable for them to not only live, but thrive. 

At the heart of a future district focused on sustainable development

Beekeeping fits naturally into the other sustainable development components of the Royalmount project, a 100% pedestrian neighbourhood where green roofs, greenhouses, woodlands, vertical gardens and urban farms will unite to green the landscape. Thanks to the use of geothermal energy and the rainwater harvesting, a real energy loop will also be created. In total, more than 500,000 plants will grow onsite, including a wide variety of trees, shrubs, plants and perennials. This is a great opportunity to invite pollinating insects to the heart of this living environment. 

A haven of peace for bees

With its collaboration with Alvéole, Royalmount sets up a great partnership to carry out its eco-responsible development project. Green and forward-looking, urban beekeeping fits perfectly within the vision of the future eco-innovative neighbourhood. Étienne Lapierre, co-founder of Alvéole and urban beekeeper, refers to the project as the creation of an “oasis for bees”.

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Shared values centered on biodiversity and proximity

With a vision to foster green spaces and biodiversity in urban areas, Royalmount joins forces with Alvéole to further its mission to promote green spaces and biodiversity in urban areas, as well as educate and raise awareness around the role of bees and the importance of their habitat and their contribution to food quality. 

“We all know the honey bee, but all the other bees are also necessary for the pollination of flowers and fields in order to grow delicious fruits and vegetables,” notes Lorrain. “Having access to an ideal site within the city allows us, among other things, to make people aware of these other, lesser-known bees, starting with “star” honey-producing bees and leading into other species such as the mason, which is particularly cute!”

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At the Royalmount site, Alvéole's beekeepers are passionately engaged in deconstructing the myths about bees to allow them to better understand these creatures and truly appreciate their presence. It is an initiative that is made possible by the sustainable development infrastructures Royalmount has in place.

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Récoltes-miel-Alvéole_2020168.jpg#asset:7359Julie Lorrain, urban beekeeper in Montreal, on the left, and on the right, Seychelle Collard, head of beekeeping operations in Montreal.