Our Thorah Island Volunteers

In addition to the bee yards in and around Guelph, the HBRC also has hives on Thorah and Georgina Island on Lake Simcoe. The island environment is a perfect place for isolated breeding which is essential to our Buckfast breeding program. The HBRC would not be able to keep and maintain these hives without the invaluable help of our island volunteers.  

Jack Lawrence, a resident near the island, has been volunteering with the HBRC for 30 years. His work with the Ministry of Natural Resources took him to Lake Simcoe, and his knowledge of the shoals, rocks, and water conditions helped the beekeepers cross the lake and get to the island safely. Through his work with the HBRC, he developed an interest in beekeeping and co-owns 10 hives with his son. “Paul and the team are very helpful and great teachers,” he commented. “For getting started with bees, there isn’t a better place to be.” 

Laurie Simard began volunteering in 2012. Her-great grandfather farmed and raised his family on Thorah island in the early 1800s. Now, she visits her family’s island home as a cottage-goer.  

 She owns 6 hives and keeps them at a golf course where her daughter, Leasha, is the Superintendent. Leasha has planted flowers along the greens to benefit the bees and other pollinators.  

“I really enjoy working together with fellow volunteers for a common purpose,” she said. “Much like the bees do.” 

Bill Mitchell is also an important volunteer on the islands. He helps maintain our island hives, transport honey supers to and from the island, and ensures the bees are doing well in our absence.