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​Bee City Barrie

A Bee City is a designation that connects people, places, and pollinators. Our commitment is to protect and create pollinator habitats, provide community education, and celebrate our pollinators. Becoming a Bee City means there will be more focus on pollinator conservation within current parks and future urban planning.​

What are Pollinators? 

A pollinator is anything that transports pollen grains from one flower to another. This includes bees, birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, and beetles. Other animals, even people, can also act as indirect pollinators if they brush up against pollen and transport it to another flower. When a pollen grain moves from the anther (male part) of a flower to the stigma (female part), pollination happens. This is the first step in a process that produces seeds, fruits, and the next generation of plants. This can happen through self-pollination, wind, and water pollination, or through the work of animals or insects. (Source:​)

Canadian pollinators include more than 800 native bee species and other bugs that can be found in both rural and urbanized areas, with cities playing a key role in their survival.

Why are Pollinators Important? 

Pollinators create healthy ecosystems by pollinating about 80 per cent of plants including flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables, which provide products for people such as food, medicine, clothing, and lumber.

Research from around the world supports evidence that pollinator populations are declining. Climate change, pesticide use, habitat loss, and disease are all contributing factors.

Pollinator Initiatives

The City of Barrie has been active in creating pollinator spaces:

  • Supporting various habitat installations such as the bee hotel at Sunnidale Park, bat boxes near Harvie Road, at Tall Trees Park and at Bear Creek Eco Park
  • Installation of pollinator gardens across Barrie: Sunnidale Park, North Centennial entrance beds, Northshore Trail, Allandale Station Park, Hyde Park, and at the Sports Complex
  • Increasing the number of community gardens and seed boxes in our parks
  • Continued work to increase naturalized areas within our parks

Past Initiatives

Victoria Woods Park Parking Lot Bioretention Cell

In 2020, The City added a low-impact development (LID), a bioretention cell, to the Victoria Woods Park parking lot (114 Lillian Crescent). The LID looks like a typical garden feature that contains native grasses and flowers that provide a habitat for bees and butterflies. It also captures rainwater runoff from the parking lot and filters the water to remove sediment and phosphorus that is harmful to our streams and lakes. The City worked with the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority (LSRCA), using a grant to fund the project. For information on bioretention cells, visit the LSRCA's website .

Monarch Butterfly Program

This program that ran between 2015 and 2017, aimed to enhance Monarch butterfly habitat in Barrie, raise awareness about this issue, and inspire national efforts to increase habitat for Monarch butterflies across Canada. It included a dedicated webpage and promotion summarizing facts and benefits regarding monarch butterflies, milkweed seeding for city projects, and at schools.

Pesticide Reduction Policy

The City has removed the use of cosmetic pesticides from our operations.

Make Your Yard More Pollinator-Friendly

  • Plant multiple pollen and nectar-producing native plants that bloom in different seasons to attract a diversity of bees and other pollinators.
  • Provide nesting places by leaving bare patches of ground for native bees to build nests in soil, or leave hollow stems to attract cavity-nesting bees.
  • Offer fresh water to pollinators in a shallow dish or birdbath.
  • Garden without pesticides.

photo by Julie Dunaiskis Monarch butterfly Monarch butterfly Common Milkweed  

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all bees sting?

Many of them do not sting. In general, bees are not out to sting people – they do so only if threatened or aggravated in some way. Among the bees species that can sting, such as bumblebees and honeybees, males are unable to do so.

How can you identify if it's a bee, fly or wasp?
  • 4 wings
  • Antennae long & elbowed
  • Usually hairy
  • Female has special pollen collecting hairs (scopa) or pollen basket (corbicula) Rounder body than wasp
  • 2 wings
  • Short, think antennae
  • Ski-goggle eyes
  • Thick waist/chunky body
  • No pollen collecting hairs
How do I prevent getting stung by a bee?​
Be aware of your surroundings. If you are around a lot of flowers, sweet foods and drinks or perfume, there is a good chance that a bee could be nearby. Keep your garbage cans and lids clean, and empty your garbage regularly.

If there is a bee near you, stay still or make slow movements to walk away. Once they realize that you are not a flower, they will fly away. Do not swat and throw things at bees, that will just aggravate them. Don’t walk barefoot as many bees can be on the ground, and they will sting you by trying to protect themselves.​
​​What do I do if I find a bee’s nest?

Do not disturb the nest. If you are close to the nest, move away slowly. Observe any activity from a safe distance. You may only see one or two bees, but there could be more inside. Take note of the location of the nest and the level of activity. If the nest is located on city property, contact Service Barrie​. ​

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