I first met beekeeper Wilfried Van Haeren in my office at the Fairmont Royal York.  He was staying at the hotel during an IT convention and, after learning of the project via the news, he “googled” me to visit the hotel’s  rooftop hives.  After several attempts we negotiated a time to slip up to the roof. Scheduling bee yard work between office tasks was challenging enough, but to have a constant stream of requests to tour the roof was often next to impossible.  At Fairmont you never say no, and I couldn’t offer an alternative so I agreed to the site visit.  Upon meeting Wilfried I knew that we would have much in to talk about.  He was knowledgeable, engaging and truly interested in the apiary project. Wilfred had been mentored over a course of four years by Beekeeper Don Murray.   In the spring of 2012, Don retired at the age of 80 and Wilfried ventured out on his own by  establishing his own apiary of four hives .

At the time I could not have anticipated that I would, in the same year, be visiting his hives in Woodstock Ontario and then enjoying the sweet bounty of his bees. In the summer of 2012 I had left my office job and had much more time for beekeeping. Within a few days I was invited out to Wilfred’s apiary and home where met his lovely wife, Monique.  Prior to my departure I imagined the apiary from his description: woodland, near a trickling creek and an abundance of trillium, alfalfa, forest blossoms and goldenrod to forage upon.  It was all true, but made even more magical by the sunny day we spent in the apiary chatting, sipping tea and snacking on the freshly baked cake bread that Monique had made the night before.  The bees buzzed about our heads until my departure with a car load of freshly bottled honey from Wilfried’s Apiary.

Photos August 2016