Community Environmental Initiatives

Bee City Hamilton

Hamilton is the 39th city in Canada to be designated as a Bee City. We commit to continue to create new pollinator habitat, provide education and community outreach opportunities, and look for innovative ways to celebrate pollinators in our city.  

What is a Bee City?

A Bee City is part of a North American movement to support pollinator protection. Bee City communities support collaboration and establish and maintain healthy pollinator habitat within the municipality or First Nation’s boundaries.

Bee City Projects in Hamilton

York Blvd Parkette: A Pollinator Paradise
When you walk down York Boulevard you will encounter a parkette blooming with well-maintained gardens scattered among several mature trees. Swallowtail butterflies, Monarchs, wild bees, birds, and myriad insects bustle energetically around the strictly native-species plants. 

There is a lovely ten-panel wide mural that serves as a backdrop to this delightful scene. It was created by local school children from Hess Elementary School, under the design and guidance of community art educator, Gerten Bosom, and depicts pollinators in bright, bold colours-- a sight that is especially welcoming to the eye during the drab winter months when the gardens lie dormant.

This city-owned parkette was previously identified in 2017 by staff with the Hamilton Pollinator Paradise Project (PPP) as an ideal site to plant pollinator-attracting gardens.

An initiative of the Hamilton Naturalists' Club and Environment Hamilton, the PPP has been building a network of native species habitat across the city since 2014, with the help of the community, the goal being to enhance local biodiversity and provide beneficial food and shelter for rapidly declining pollinator populations.

A win-win for everyone, ongoing maintenance is shared between the two parties, with city staff regularly mowing the grass between gardens, and PPP staff and volunteers watering and weeding the patches.

Local residents have shared that the gardens serve as a teaching site (given the plaque that describes the plants growing in the gardens), and a number of them have been inspired further and planted their own pollinator patches at home. 

PPP hopes to continue working with the City to create even more gardens and help build corridors of native species throughout every ward.


The Glanbrook landfill is home to multiple pollinators and wildlife. The wildlife team on site actively partners with City staff, the local conservation authority and a community committee to manage buffer areas, pollinator gardens and nesting structures for wildlife. The team initiated a multi-year program of planting numerous native tree species, including native larch, spruce, beech and maple varieties, to re-forest a section of the property. There have also been three pollinator gardens established on site, featuring native plant species like Wild False Indigo, Golden Alexanders, Black Eyed Susan and Cup Plant.

Basking logs and a floating platform were installed in on-site drainage ponds and the wildlife team installed nesting structures for Wood Ducks, Mallards, Bluebirds and Purple Martins. 

To enhance foraging habitat for the Bluebirds and Purple Martins, mowing is reduced in the vicinity of those structures. Bat boxes were also put up in appropriate locations on site. The nesting and roosting structures are regularly monitored, and employees and committee members are encouraged to report wildlife sightings, which are logged to document the growth of biodiversity on-site.

The Resource Recovery Centre is also home to many pollinator species including but not limited to the Honey Bee, Bumble Bee, Humming Bird, Brown Bat, Red Admiral, Painted Lady (American Lady), Silvery Checkerspot, the Common Wood Nymph, the Least Skipper and Monarch Butterfly. In 2016 the Pollinator Garden Project was established, and this location was awarded the silver level WHC Conservation Certification.

 

A new anti-graffiti program was initiated in 2019. To celebrate local pollinators a select number of City of Hamilton drinking water fountains will showcase some of our local pollinators. First installation is at the Rail Trail on Studholme Drive.

Picture of a drinking fountain wrapped with images of pollinators and flowers

Photo of a drinking water fountain that has been wrapped with images of pollinators and flowers
Photo of a drinking water fountain that has been wrapped with images of pollinators and flowers

What is a pollinator?

A pollinator is anything that helps carry pollen. The movement of pollen must occur for the plant to become fertilized and produce fruits, seeds, and young plants. Some plants are self-pollinating, while others may be fertilized by pollen carried by wind or water.

Pollinators are vital to creating and maintaining habitats and ecosystems that many animals rely on for food or shelter.

What is a pollinator garden?

A pollinator garden is designed and planted with pollinators in mind offering a wide variety of flowers and plants, these gardens promote the visiting of pollinators.

Planting Pollinator Friendly Gardens

Choose plants native to Southern Ontario so they will thrive without the addition of fertilizers and pesticides

Choose nectar and pollen-rich flowers with a range of shapes, sizes and colours to attract a variety of pollinators
Have several different plants in bloom from early spring through late fall to maximize the effectiveness of your pollinator habitat
Plant in drifts of at least three or more of one kind and keep same plants close together

Take the Pollinator Pledge

https://beecitycanada.org/pollinator-pledge/

Monarch Awards Hamilton

The Monarch Awards is a standard of excellence in gardening for nature, recognizing gardens that are ecosystems buzzing with life! If you care for the soil, use native plants, capture rainwater, and follow sustainable practices, you deserve recognition! Apply for a Monarch Award by June 21 at http://monarchawardshamilton.org/"

Partners in Pollination

The pollinator team includes representatives from organizations around Hamilton who work together to enhance space for pollinators.


 

Additional Resources