If you recall your last trip to an outlet shopping mall, one of the last things you probably expected to run into there was an urban apiary. But if there’s one thing the folks at Ivanhoé Cambridge like to do, it’s keeping their property visitors and tenants engaged by doing precisely that – the unexpected.

That’s why, in 2019, they partnered with Alvéole to set up two bustling beehives along with an amazing pollinator garden on one of their popular Vancouver properties, the Tsawwassen Mills shopping center. This year, their team went one step further in their efforts to promote sustainability and community by leveraging their buzzing partners to raise money for the Earthwise Society, a local non-profit that cultivates sustainable communities through environmental education and stewardship. We checked in with Tsawwassen Mills management to find out more.


A win for everyone

Our urban beekeeper Jessie Collison is no stranger to introducing people to the fascinating world of bees, but this year, two of her Tsawwassen Mills workshops were catering to a brand-new audience: the Earthwise Society team. After all, Tsawwassen Mills had decided to donate all of their hive products to the non-profit to help them raise funds to purchase bee-friendly plants for their own garden; it was only right that they should meet the hard-working honey bees behind the delicious bounty.

“It’s a win-win for all concerned, especially the community!”

-Julia Dow, General Manager at Tsawwassen Mills

In fact, we could even call it a win-win-win. The community benefited from more Earthwise Society activities, the Tsawwassen Mills team boosted tenant and community engagement, and the bees found a safe spot to pollinate. And that’s to say nothing of the jars of delicious honey they produce. With their two hives alone, the Tsawwassen Mills team expects to produce more than 200 jars of honey, 100 candles, 100 bars of soap and 100 lip balms for Earthwise to sell.


Making bees part of their digital story

Using their social media savvy, the Tsawwassen Mills marketing team also made sure to spread the word about their 50,000 adopted bees online. The busy pollinators have their own highlights reel on the mall’s vibrant Instagram account, and updates about the Earthwise Society collaboration were shared on the non-profit’s website, allowing the community to keep learning about the crucial role bees play in our global food systems from the comfort of their own homes.

We’ll be keeping our eyes open for any new updates about this exciting collaboration and its role in sparking important conversations.