Toronto celebrates Pollinator Week June 18-24

City of Toronto celebrates National Pollinator Week with a community art project.

Mayor Tory has proclaimed June 18 to 24 as Pollinator Week in the City of Toronto. To celebrate, residents are invited to join local artist Eric Gold to participate in the creation of a painting of Toronto’s official bee, the metallic green sweat bee.

The community art project will take place under the Live Green Toronto tent in the Family Fun Zone at the Redpath Waterfront Festival on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday June 24

www.beesmatter.ca

from noon to 4 p.m. Admission to the festival is free.

“Pollinators are part of a healthy, sustainable Toronto,” said Mayor John Tory. “The City is committed to raising awareness of the importance of pollinators and working with the community to support them.”

“This community art project is a fun way to celebrate our efforts to support pollinators in Toronto,” said Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32 Beaches-East York), Chair of the City’s Parks and Environment Committee. “I encourage Toronto residents to learn about Toronto’s official bee and participate in this project.”

Artist Eric Gold will divide a large photo of Toronto’s official bee into 100 small segments. Participants will receive a segment and a blank piece of paper and be asked to paint what they see. The process allows for individual expression, and each piece will be a unique work of art that contributes to the whole.

With the goal of raising awareness of Toronto’s diverse native bee community, Toronto City Council selected the metallic green sweat bee, whose latin name is Agapostemon virescens, as Toronto’s official bee earlier this year. The green sweat bee was selected because it is common, easy to recognize and, unlike other types of bees, welcomes other bees and shares communal nests in the ground.

Toronto is home to more than 360 species of bees and more than 100 species of butterflies and other pollinators. Some species are in decline due to habitat loss and other stressors. Earlier this year, City Council adopted a Pollinator Protection Strategy. The Strategy identifies a set of guiding principles, six priorities and 30 actions that the City and community can take to protect pollinators, such as the metallic green sweat bee.
More information about Toronto’s Official Bee and the City’s Pollinator Protection Strategy is available at bit.ly/2x6RhG4. More information about Eric Gold’s community art is available at https://www.ericgoldart.com/community-art-project.

— Valerie Cassells

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