Melanie Coates on top of the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

“The term CCD (colony collapse disorder) was first coined in the later part of 2006 when there was a huge rise in the number of honey bees that began disappearing from their hives in North America and Europe,” says photographer Geoff Fitzgerald.

“The main reason is still unknown; however there are many proposed causes like malnutrition, pathogens, mites, fungus and pesticides. Many scientists believe this phenomenon is caused by a combination of these factors; it is still hard to say.”

Living in downtown Toronto, Fitzgerald never thought beekeeping in the city was possible. That was until he heard about the hives on the roof of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Fitzgerald is chronicling the efforts of the Royal York, along with those by the Canadian Opera Company at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and University of Toronto campuses.

Fitzgerald hopes to expand the series to include Fairmont hotels in Vancouver, Quebec and Calgary.

 He also wants to photograph hives at Vancouver’s city hall and the convention centre.

“I wanted to shoot these photographs as environmental portraits, not just close-ups of bees but to really show the urban environment, rooftop location and its surroundings.”  

• More about Geoff Fitzgerald’s work at Geofffitzgerald.ca 

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