By Tara MacIntosh
The miracle of pollination and honey production represents Mother Nature at her finest. The rhythm of honey bees in their natural environment is genuinely fascinating, and observing this natural flow reminds us we are all intricately connected.
Beekeeper Dave Stotesbury and mead maker Vincent Sowa founded Backed By Bees based on a yearning to connect with nature and find balance in their lives. While Dave attended the University of Guelph, he came across a honey bee centre that captured his attention. He began volunteering at the centre, learning how these busy insects are integral to the stability of the natural world. Dave and Vincent later met while taking courses on bees and beekeeping. With their growing passion for bees and their pull to live a healthier, more wholesome life, they decided to open Backed By Bees to nurture a connection with nature and allow the public to integrate into the experience.
Located on Appleby Line in Burlington, the Backed By Bees building has been in production for two years and is now open to the public. Visitors can interact with two million bees onsite from 30 bee colonies, and witness the extraordinary pollination process in the pollinator garden. This specialized garden allows a peek into what bees do and how beekeepers handle and manage these insects, working tirelessly to improve their surroundings.
Visitors can watch how millions of bees work together to produce raw honey and pollinate much of our food supply. This interactive experience shows how delicate the process is and sparks a new appreciation for the energy and contribution of each individual bee. Currently, over one hundred daily visitors interact with the bees.
The Backed By Bees location was constructed from shipping containers in a C shape, which allows the wings to house different business areas, such as retail space and mead production. All products sold in the retail shop are created from honey produced onsite, made with love in support of the core initiative of connecting people with nature. Mead, the oldest and most sustainable alcohol on the planet, is also produced onsite and draws both mead fans and the curious among us. Many customers are considered explorers, wanting to try this alcoholic product made from raw honey. The alcohol content varies depending on the type of mead purchased. A dry carbonated mead is closer to a traditional beer, with 4% alcohol content. There is also a traditional still mead that is more like wine, with 12%-14% alcohol content. With both dry and sweet options available, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Backed By Bees is spreading its love of bees and honey production into the community with interactive rooftop displays for corporate partners. Through these popular interactive displays, local businesses can host a rooftop hive to educate their staff and customers. Currently, three partners local to the area have hives open to visitors, including Burlington Centre Mall, Shoppers World Brampton, and Oakville Trafalgar Place. Backed by Bees supports the physical labour of beekeeping, while the partnering business brings this unique experience to their employees, tenants, and customers, setting them apart from their competition. It is a great way to expand the knowledge and interest in what bees do and how valuable they are to the natural world. The more people take an interest in bees, the better for the environment and the planet’s overall health.
There are several ways to support the bees as an individual. Backed By Bees promotes getting involved through their programs Sponsor and Decorate a Hive, The Hive Club, and Decorate the Yard. These are ways to engage with Mother Nature, without getting stung! Beekeeper Dave takes care of the sponsored bees for you, making sure they are happy, healthy, and thriving.
With the loving care of Dave and Vincent, Backed by Bees takes the mystery out of the beekeeping industry. Experience how the world of the bee and the beekeeper work in harmony and, of course, enjoy a mead beverage. Backed By Bees invites you to drop by and find your seat at nature’s table.